Teacher ties the knot in lavish double wedding with her two rabbits

24th Sep 18 | Real Life

Emma's bunnies Sherpa and Hal met whilst speed dating in 2010.

PA Real Life - Emma Zucker - rabbit double wedding

An art teacher has revealed how she tied the knot with a lavish double wedding – alongside her rabbits, who met speed dating.

When Emma Zucker, 29, from New York, USA, moved in with her photographer husband Ben, 29, who she met a decade ago at university, they wanted a pet and plumped for a rabbit.

Getting Sherpa, now nine, in 2010, from a rescue, they took her speed dating a few weeks later at an adoption centre, where she selected Hal, now eight, as her bunny beau.

And when Emma married Ben in August 2016, she said they opted for a joint ceremony with their romantically involved rabbits, saying: “Sherpa and Hal love each other just like we do.

“They are such a big part of our lives that we knew we wanted them to be a part of our wedding day. We decided to have a ceremony for them, too, and our guests loved it.”

Meeting in 2009 at the Fashion Institute of Technology in the trendy Chelsea district of Manhattan, New York, USA, Emma and Ben soon fell in love, setting up home together in 2010, when they started looking for a pet.

Ben and Emma (Collect/PA Real Life)

Emma explained: “Ben never had pets growing up because he had a brother that was really allergic to animals with fur.

“We were walking in Chelsea in Manhattan and some people were having a yard sale, selling their old stuff. We happened to see a rabbit hopping around on their patio and we immediately looked at her. We were thinking about a dog but that moment changed everything.

“Growing up, my neighbours had rabbits in their back yard. They were treated as farm animals and  would never have been allowed inside. They were not spayed or neutered, so they had lots of babies, or you ate them for dinner.”

Sherpa and Hal were carried down the aisle (Collect/PA Real Life)

She added: “It couldn’t have been more different to the way in which we keep our bunnies.”

After falling for the bunny in the yard, further research helped the couple to discover that rabbits could live inside and be litter trained, so they started looking at some local rescues.

“My husband is a researchaholic. He did a lot of research and ended up on the House Rabbit Society webpage. I had a very uneducated view of rabbits being a farm girl,” Emma continued.

The two couples at the end of the aisle (Laura Harris Photography – www.lauraandreaharris.com/PA Real Life)

She added: “We looked into rescue and adoption and it seemed right for us. We found Sherpa and just fell in love with her.”

Aware that rabbits need to be bonded, after settling her in, they then set out to find her a mate.

“A few months later, we brought her to the animal shelter and we had a bunny speed date with the boy rabbits,” said Emma. “The staff introduced her to all the potential neutered bachelors and she bonded with Hal right away. They fell in love so we adopted him officially.”

Hal and Sherpa (Laura Harris Photography – www.lauraandreaharris.com/PA Real Life)

After getting engaged in July 2015, Emma and Ben started planning their wedding – but knew they could not leave their other favourite couple out.

She said: “They were so much a part of our life. They are our children. They had to be at our wedding. We thought it would be really cute to have them get married at the same time.

“We both said, ‘We can’t get married without them’. Rabbits are very fearful animals and my husband was quite nervous about making sure we incorporated them responsibly, so they were never in danger. They can easily spook and run.”

Emma holding Sherpa (Laura Harris Photography – www.lauraandreaharris.com/PA Real Life)

The couple constructed a cushion covered with an old milk crate and decorated it with flowers, to ensure the rabbits could be carried down the aisle, without risking them running off.

And when the big day came on August 6, 2016, Emma walked down the aisle to meet Ben, followed by Sherpa and Hal, in front of their 140 guests, at their ceremony on a friend’s farm in upstate New York.

Emma explained: “We walked down the aisle, then my friend brought the bunnies down the aisle in a carrier and we put them on a pedestal. The man who was marrying us said vows for them first. They officially got married first. Then my friend carried them away and we got married. It was really perfect.”

A board showing Sherpa and Hal’s story at the wedding reception (Collect/PA Real Life)

After the ceremony, the two sets of newlyweds spent some time together and had pictures taken, before the rabbits were taken to rest inside, while Emma, Ben and their guests partied the night away.

“During the reception, the rabbits were inside the house where we got married because I didn’t want them to be around drunk people. It was loud. There was a DJ and lots of noise, so not suitable for them,” she said.

Even with their pets indoors, they were hardly out of sight and out of mind, as Emma and Ben had everything from bunny shaped cake toppers to rabbit-shaped cookies.

The bunny cake toppers (Collect/PA Real Life)

“Lots of our guests thought it was the most charming part of our wedding,” Emma laughed. “People felt it was very unique, but also that it was very us because we are crazy rabbit people.”

Now the couples are happily settled into married life and have even added another bunny to their family.

Ben and Emma share their adventures on Instragram, with Emma posting as @emmarabbit and Ben as @saltysearabbit.

Sherpa, Hal and Boomkin (Collect/PA Real Life)

Emma explained: “We adopted Boomkin, now six, last year and he is bonded to the other two so now they live happily as a trio.

“They are such fantastic pets and we are so glad we have them in our lives.”

© Press Association 2018

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