Adorable alpacas are guests of honour at increasing number of Irish weddings

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Many Irish couples are having alpacas at their weddings

An unusual new wedding trend could be heading to Ireland in the near future – with couples inviting adorable guests of honour.

‘Alpaca weddings’ are growing in popularity in Ireland, having already proved a huge success in both Asia and the USA.

With couples always looking for new ways to make their big day extra special, animals often are given key roles in the wedding.

Many Irish couples are having alpacas at their weddings
Often a bride and groom will leave the ceremony on a horse drawn carriage, after releasing a flock of doves.
Now many will head to their wedding receptions to be greeted by alpacas.

Ruth Newton runs Curraghduff Farm in Oughterard, Co. Galway with her husband and son, where they look after eight alpacas.

She told The Vow: “It’s big in the UK. Why not? People like something different on their special day. [So] as long as the alpacas are happy and comfortable…

“I love the alpaca craze as I’m getting the chance to meet more and more people with a love for alpacas and that must be a good thing.”

The alpacas have been used as ring bearers (often wearing bow ties) much to the surprise of the human guests.

The happy couple are also able to get a unique wedding photograph with their woolly friends. Children at the weddings can also mingle with the animals and feed them carrots.

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Several couples have contacted the Alpaca Association of Ireland (AAI) to enquire about having the animals at their weddings.

The AAI runs a farm with around 70 alpacas and has already taken bookings for later in the year.

AAI chairman Paul MacDonnell said: “We have two weddings coming up. Maybe three or four – but that’s the plan for now anyway.

“We were a bit sceptical, but we bring them to a lot of the shows and we’d know which ones are friendly and docile and well behaved. We have people coming to visit them at the farm and we do open days because we’re a bit of an attraction.

“For weddings, we’d hand-pick the ones with a nice temperament. There’s ones you wouldn’t let near a place, but there’s others so well behaved they could be at a hotel all day and not a bother.”

Paul runs Hushabye Farm Alpacas near the Slieve Bloom Mountains. He says that while his main business is providing fleece for pillows, quilts and baby clothes, he can understand the appeal of ‘alpacas for weddings’.

Although he accepts this would never be a commercial enterprise for his farm.

He said: “It’s something different to have in the family photo album in years to come – and they’re very photogenic!”

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Written by Michael Kehoe @michaelcalling