Wedding Service

NI’s first gay dog ​​wedding raises vital funds for Moira’s rescue charity

It was a perfect day for a white wedding – even though the happy couple weren’t your average wedding party.

he sun shone on Belfast Barge in early April as Captain Bob married his partner, Gino. So far so good… but Bob is actually a Lhasa Apso owned by barge manager Susan Doherty, and Bichon Frize Gino is owned by Susan’s friend Siobhan McGuigan.

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Gino the Bichon Frize and Bob the Lhasa Apso

Liam McBurney/RAZORPIX

Gino the Bichon Frize and Bob the Lhasa Apso

The wedding was held to raise money for Moira’s rescue charity, Almost Home, with around 30 guests in attendance, many of whom brought their own dogs.

A congregation including Labradors, Dachshunds, Chihuahuas and more watched the couple take their vows and sign their marriage certificate to officially become ‘puppy husbands’.

BBC Newsline weather presenter Cecilia Daly presided over the nuptials, assisted by her own dog, black lab Pedro, and the newlyweds also wagged their tails in delight at video messages from friends wishing them well.

“I’m overwhelmed with the support we’ve had for Belfast’s first gay dog ​​wedding,” said Susan, the groom’s mother. “Probably the first in Northern Ireland. Love is love.

“The whole day has been amazing. I’m so proud of Bob, he behaved so well, although he already tried to run over some of the wedding guests, so he doesn’t take his vows seriously.

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Siobhan McGuigan with Gino and Bob with Susan Doherty


Siobhan McGuigan with Gino and Bob with Susan Doherty

Liam McBurney/RAZORPIX

Siobhan McGuigan with Gino and Bob with Susan Doherty

Bob and Gino’s love story began a year ago when Siobhan adopted Gino from The Dog’s Trust. Soon the couple was inseparable. Like many great plans, Siobhan admits the idea of ​​a dog wedding was concocted over a few glasses of wine and snowballed when they decided to raise money for the rescue charity .

“We were joking about buying matching outfits for the dogs, then we thought about wedding outfits, and that’s where the idea came from,” she explained.

“Gino and Bob have been best friends from the start, they’ve just been inseparable, even though Bob has a busy job as captain of the barge.

“This wedding took almost a year to prepare, and we had so much support and so many people who volunteered to help us.

“The morning of the wedding, I was so nervous; I was as nervous as any mother of the groom would be.

Guests arrived in their wedding best, with many dogs wearing bow ties, dresses and their best collars.


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Gino was driven down the aisle in a special pram


Gino was driven down the aisle in a special pram

Liam McBurney/RAZORPIX

The party shares a laugh during the ceremony


The party shares a laugh during the ceremony

Liam McBurney/RAZORPIX

Gino was driven down the aisle in a special pram

Bob made his way down the aisle in a sleek tuxedo, while Gino donned a beautiful wedding dress with a lace veil.

Witness Gizmo and bridesmaid Paddy, who wore an eye-catching pink tutu, were also present at the wedding party.

Gino is currently recovering from cruciate ligament surgery, so he was driven down the aisle in a pram converted into a wedding float for the occasion.

Bob looked solemn during the service, but Gino dozed off during the ceremony and the exchange of special necklaces symbolizing their love. Saying the vows on behalf of Bob, Susan said, “Gino, the first time I sniffed your ass I knew you were the dog for me. I promise you I’ll always save you the last sausage in the bowl.

When it was Gino’s turn, Siobhan spoke about how Bob helped him settle into his new life, bringing some tears to the congregation as she recounted how Gino ended up at the rescue center through no fault of his. His part.

She added: “Bob helped save me too – I’ll never forget running around the garden with him as I settled into my new home.”

The couple pledged to love each other, walk together and share treats, before being officially declared ‘hus-pup and hus-pup’ by Cecilia.

They walked back down the aisle as newlyweds to the sound of Puppy Love and a standing ovation.

Then there was a champagne reception and photos in the sun outside the houseboat. Gino was happy to doze in his pram while Bob was busy.

The party enjoyed a full wedding breakfast, with Gino and Bob taking pride of place at the top table, under an arch of balloons.

There was also a cake cutting, doggie bingo and raffle to raise extra funds for Almost Home, before the beloved couple enjoyed their first dance.

“They were like an old married couple for a long time,” laughs Susan.

“They both kinda get along now, so Bob loves nothing more than curling up on the couch with Gino for a cuddle after a long day of work on the houseboat. He takes on his duties as captain very early on. serious.

Bob was back on the houseboat this week, but the happy couple are hoping to enjoy a belated honeymoon in Ballycastle.

“They had the most amazing day but they’re both broken now,” Siobhan said. “We are so touched by how this wedding captured people’s imaginations.

“Friends who couldn’t be with us watched the ceremony via a live video link – I even asked a friend to wake up at 6.30am to watch the wedding from Alaska.

“I have a small caravan in Ballycastle so hopefully the dogs can have a relaxing honeymoon there at some point, with a few romantic walks along the beach.

“They will definitely need to relax, especially Gino. He had cruciate surgery on both of his hind legs in December and January, and it’s been a long recovery process.

“At first he couldn’t walk at all, I carried him to the bathroom, and he’s still not allowed off the leash. I think it was the idea of ​​marrying Bob that got him going. .

The event raised at least £700 for Almost Home, and donations keep coming in. To support the fundraiser, search Belfast Barge on Facebook