Many pet-loving brides and grooms can’t picture their wedding without their pet in attendance. But, the logistics of including them (whether it’s ensuring they’re comfortable at the venue or organizing their transportation) can become a bit of a headache.
That’s where Ilana Karcinski and Kelly Nova, founders of FairyTail Pet Care®, come in and relieve any tension or worry around including your pet on your special day.
The animal-loving duo has been best friends since they were 13 — as college roommates, they even adopted two dog brothers. Post-college, Ilana and Kelly went on to work at a hotel together, where they couldn’t ignore how often couples getting married wanted their pets to be part of the celebrations.
“We realized there was a very niche market out there for wedding pet care and that people were already interested,” Kelly says. “Without even putting the business idea out there, we decided to jump at the chance. And that's really how FairyTail was born.”
In 2015, FairyTail Pet Care was established in Tampa, Florida, with the aim of including dogs and cats in weddings. However, their idea wasn’t met with immediate success. “As the first wedding pet care company in the nation, it was something that people didn’t understand,” Ilana explains.
It wasn’t until wedding guests saw the company in action and shared their experiences that the business started to pick up. They’ve since opened four new locations in Pittsburgh, Las Vegas, West Palm Beach and Orlando.
And FairyTail Pet Care’s services extend far beyond just bringing your pet to your wedding. The work begins before your wedding day with an introduction. Kelly and Ilana (or one of their employees) visit the couple's home or wedding venue to get to know the pet and chat through the big-day logistics.
On the wedding day, Kelly and Ilana coordinate transportation for the pet and arrive at the venue early to ensure that everyone's comfortable in the environment. They help the dog pose for photographs and ensure there’s no drama during the walk down the aisle.
“The groom's typically standing at the end of the aisle waiting for his bride to walk down, and everyone's looking at him, and he might be tearing up,” Kelly says. “And then the dog walks down the aisle, and it's the best tension-breaker ever.”
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For those who need help before or after the celebration, Kelly and Ilana also offer pet-sitting services, transportation to the rehearsal or even help dogs pose for engagement shoots (maternity and holiday sessions, too!). But one of their favorite add-ons is what they call “Dog of Honor videography.”
“It's essentially a wedding video, but from your pet's perspective. We take the footage ourselves, but it's all from your dog's point of view, and we're also getting a lot of the wedding details,” Kelly shares. “Then we edit it for our couples and put together a 3-to 4-minute video with music.”
The pair use their photography skills to help out local shelters, too. Once a month, they visit Fetch’s shelter partner, Humane Society of Tampa Bay (HSTB), to take new, professional photos of the adoptable animals, which often leads to more animals finding forever homes.
“With dogs being our true passion, we wanted to make sure that we were giving back and have a mission that mattered to us on top of this great business idea,” Ilana explains. “So we donate a portion of our proceeds to local shelters.”
In partnership with HSTB, they even created the Yappily Ever After service, where couples can turn their wedding into an adoptable event.
Usually, all of the animals find their forever homes through these events, and since they started offering this in 2018, over 70 dogs have been adopted.
“Getting out there and being in a new environment, it's so good for them, whether they get adopted or not, to get that socialization,” Ilana explains. “And if there are older dogs that could do well in that environment, they'll bring them, too.”
Whether Kelly and Ilana are accompanying peoples’ pets or adoptable animals to weddings, they joke that they bring the “paw-sitivity.”
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Photo by SKRS Photography