The Scoop: Anyone with a pet will tell you they love their furry companions like they’re family members, so it’s only natural many couples want to include their pets in wedding day festivities. FairyTail Pet Care is a service that helps couples make that happen. FairyTail Pet Care was the first wedding day pet care company in the industry and pioneered personalized, wedding-specific pet care. With FairyTail Pet Care, couples can celebrate with their pets while being sure their companions are in the best hands for the parts of the day they can’t be together.
While I was in college, two of my roommates and closest friends decided to have a backyard wedding. They had eloped during COVID-19 lockdowns and wanted to throw a little party for family and friends to celebrate their recent nuptials.
There’s nothing more exciting to me than a wedding, so I was thrilled to be involved in planning. We were operating with a stiff early-20s budget but mustered up a beautiful setup in the backyard, complete with a white tent we got on clearance and catering from Panda Express.
As we were finishing setting up, we all simultaneously realized we hadn’t considered what the three dogs who lived in the house would do during the wedding. We had made sure to buy each of them a tuxedo collar but had completely neglected to make plans for the parts of the day we couldn’t be with them. Luckily, friends and family stepped up to take shifts with the dogs throughout the night, and the small wedding was full of love and fun.
Couples with pets see their furry companions as a part of the family and often want to include them in wedding celebrations. This is easier said than done, as weddings comprise many moving parts, and it can be difficult to include a pet while ensuring they’re happy and well cared for. FairyTail Pet Care is here to help couples and their non-human family members celebrate wedding days together.
FairyTail Pet Care is the premiere service in the wedding day pet care industry and was established in 2014 by co-founders and childhood best friends Ilana Karcinski and Kelly Nova. Ilana talked to us about the beginnings of FairyTail Pet Care, how the service can help couples and their pets on wedding days, and what FairyTail does to help animals in their community.
“Couples usually don’t think about pet care until pretty late in the game,” Ilana said. “All of a sudden, they plan this beautiful wedding, and then they need to figure out who is going to watch their dog because everyone they trust is going to be at the wedding.”
Trailblazing the Wedding Day Pet Care Industry
Ilana and Kelly are longtime friends and dog lovers. The duo have been best buds since they were 13 and fostered dogs together while they were roommates in college. Along with their canine founders, Grizzie, Rowdie, and Cooper, Ilana and Kelly founded FairyTail to fill a big need in the wedding industry. Before FairyTail, there were no other companies offering tailored wedding day pet care services.
Wedding pet care services are unique from standard pet sitting. Couples are often looking for more than a person to watch their pets during the day. They want their furry friends to be involved in the day in some way, whether that’s walking down the aisle or just snapping a few pictures. Ilana and Kelly have worked hard to perfect their services so couples can enjoy their weddings without worrying about their companions.
“Everyone is totally different. Not everybody wants their pet to walk down the aisle,” Ilana said. “So it’s really about talking through what they’re looking for and deciding the best option for their pet’s personality and needs.”
FairyTail is equipped to care for pets of any personality, whether they’re the friendliest dog you’ve ever met or a shy and easily stressed cat. They can also help a couple decide how to fit their pet into the celebration in a way that their pet also enjoys. “Maybe an anxious rescue dog isn’t a great fit for walking down the aisle, so with a dog like that, we would just do some photos,” Ilana said.
FairyTail Pet Care is licensed, bonded, insured, and certified by the Pet Sitters Associates. All FairyTail caretakers are PetTech First Aid and CPR Certified, so couples can be sure their beloved companions are in capable and experienced care.
Professional Pet Care Relieves Wedding Stress
“The biggest piece of our services is pet transportation,” Ilana said. “We’re picking up your dog from home, or the hotel or Airbnb, and bringing them to the venue, getting exercise, making sure they’re tired out before photos. We include them as much or as little as you like, and then we can take them back off-site and hang out with them until the reception ends.”
FairyTail can tailor its services to the needs of each individual client. Every FairyTail pet handler is trained and experienced, and comes prepared with information and details on the clients’ wedding. When couples hire FairyTail for their wedding, the team creates a client profile that includes everything the handler needs to know to prepare for the wedding day.
Ilana recommended that couples treat finding wedding-day pet care as they would sourcing any other wedding vendor. Planning in advance not only ensures that pet care on the big day will go smoothly but also relieves stress for everyone involved – human and non-human alike. Just like wedding days are often exhausting for people, they can be tiring and anxiety-inducing for pets.
FairyTail handlers make sure a client’s pets are happy and comfortable throughout the day. “Most couples want to include their pets for the ceremony or photographs,” Ilana said. “There’s really no reason to have pets at the reception because that’s music, eating, drinking, party time. They’re usually exhausted after the ceremony, anyway.”
“Many of our couples’ main concern when booking is that their dog is too anxious or too hyper, and they don’t know how it’s going to work,” Ilana said. “That’s why we spend so much time detailing the process with clients and ask crazy detailed questions, so we can plan the day around their pets.”
FairyTail has experience with pets of every personality and can create a game plan that suits the needs of the couple and their pets. “We can even do meet and greets with a couple and their pets before, so they’re more comfortable with the handler on the day of,” Ilana said. “We do whatever’s best for the pets.”
Every FairyTail Wedding Helps Shelter Animals
A core part of FairyTail Pet Care’s mission is a dedication to helping shelter animals find forever homes. “We love dogs and have always volunteered at our local shelters, so we knew we wanted to have that mission in our business,” Ilana told us. “Our mission is to treat your pet like they’re our own while helping rescues find their homes.”
FairyTail has a couple of programs that help animals in shelters. “There’s one program where couples pay a fee, which is almost entirely a donation to a shelter, and we bring four to five adoptable dogs or cats to the wedding,” Ilana explained. “They mingle at cocktail hour, they can walk down the aisle, it’s just such good socialization for the shelter animals, and it helps them find homes.”
The Second Shot Program is FairyTail’s collaboration with a local pet photographer that aims to get longtime shelter residents adopted. “The shelter gives us a list of dogs or cats or guinea pigs who have been there the longest, and we help them get new adoption photos that really showcase their personalities,” Ilana said.
A love for animals is at the heart of all FairyTail’s services. Whether it’s helping dogs down the aisle or finding cats a forever home, the wedding day pet care service is committed to making animals’ lives better. To Ilana, this is the most rewarding part of her job.
“It’s the best job ever,” she said. “We’ve helped include over 1400 dogs, 14 cats, and one alpaca in weddings, and through our partnership with the Humane Society of Tampa Bay, we’ve helped over 100 dogs and cats find their forever homes.”