The symbolic release of snow-white Doves is becoming more and more popular in Ireland with couples wanting to represent their love for each other on their Wedding Day and the start of a magical journey together.
Over the last number of years, Ballyhaunis native Joe Freeley has been providing this service to couples all over Ireland with his beautiful white Doves which have been passionately trained to return home safely from any location in Ireland. We caught up with Joe for a quick chat to find out more about this fantastic service that is sure to amaze and impress your guests on your Wedding Day.
Tell us a little Joe about how & why you decided to start a Dove Release service?
Well, it all began a few years ago when life brought an unexpected turn of events. I used to be in the Tour business and I had a fall which meant that I had to retire from full-time work at the time. I've always been a very active person and was left wondering what could I do to pass the time. Garden birds were always an interest to me so one day I had a lightbulb moment when I thought that it might be interesting to start training birds. At first, I thought maybe Parrots, but then I stumbled across some YouTube videos where people in America were training Doves and I quickly became hooked on the idea. A friend of mine in Dublin helped to get going and I started with six white Doves. It was a steep learning curve and I learned a lot from him over the years. They are fascinating creatures and there's always something new to learn from them.
Can you remember your first Dove release at a wedding?
Yes, well Dove releases at weddings were something that transpired more so than actually setting out to start a business. I used to post photos & videos of the Doves on Facebook and soon enough I was getting messages from family & friends asking if I would do a Dove release at weddings etc and it all blossomed from there. It was mostly word of mouth, to begin with, but quickly grew from what was just a hobby into a small business that is still keeping me going to this day.
How many Doves have you now and does it take much to train them?
The most I've ever had was fifty but at the moment I have thirty-five which is quite a lot. The day-to-day caring for the Doves isn't too difficult but it takes up to five months to train them to return home. It all starts when a Dove is about six weeks old and they will come out of the loft and go up on the roof with their parents. A week later I'll take the Dove maybe half a mile away from the house and it will get its bearings with the house in sight and return home. Each time I take the Dove out I'll release it from a different direction, either North, South, East, or West, and then repeat the process from a further distance, 5 miles, 10 miles, and so on. This is how they learn to navigate.
What sort of a reaction do you get when releasing Doves at a wedding?
Well, it's a magical reaction. I'll arrive at the location of the Dove release and set up a display with six Doves for people to see. Everyone comes over to either have a look or hold one of the Doves. I dress two of the Doves in a miniature Wedding Dress and Tuxedo and let the newlyweds hold them and pose for photographs. Once that's done I'll remove the outfits and let the couples release the birds to the sounds of cheering from their wedding guests that are gathered around. Doves are a symbol of love, peace, and new beginnings and are ideal for Weddings. The beautiful sight and the feeling of peacefulness at witnessing a Snow White Dove Release is a very unique experience with which I strive in making your special occasion a unique and lasting memory for you, your family, and your friends, to remember for many years to come.
How can people get in touch with you to book a Dove release for their wedding?
I'd be delighted to chat with any couple thinking about having a Dove release at their wedding. I can cover weddings all over Ireland and can be contacted on 087 3319944 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also find me on Facebook and my website is www.joedoverelease.com. Do get in touch and I'll be happy to answer any questions you may have.