White doves have been used in ceremonies throughout the world for centuries, and the release of doves at the conclusion of a wedding signifies the peace and beauty of both the ceremony and the relationship of the newly married couple. The traditional release of doves is a unique and symbolic way to highlight the celebration as their practice of mating for life represents the fidelity and commitment that all newlyweds feel on their special day.
The bride and groom may each hold a dove and release them together symbolizing the beginning of their new life together. Not comfortable with the idea of handling a dove yourself? They do have display cages with auto release baskets operated by remote control! Not comfortable with releasing doves into the wild? They have decorated display cages to place in the church or reception hall.
Each provider of the doves has their own requirements and criteria and should be checked while searching for the perfect company. Most will not release during high wind or inclement weather. Most handlers require that the doves are within a safe range to return home before dark. Sunset and evening weddings are not appropriate for a dove release because a window of at least two hours is required for the safety of the birds during their flight home.
Actually, the use of the word dove is a little misleading. In a wedding dove release there are generally no doves involved at all. Their inadequate flying skills and lack of homing instinct don’t make them good candidates. Instead, the white homing pigeon, which is commonly called a dove, is usually a handlers’ choice.
As most churches no longer allow rice or balloons, the site of pure white doves disappearing into the clouds is a wonderful replacement for ‘that something special”.
Dove Releases for southeastern PA, and parts of DE, NJ and MD
A Michigan resource: