Planning a destination wedding was bittersweet for New York City resident Hillary Bowles. Though the bride would be surrounded by loved ones when she married her longtime love, Logan Bowles, in South Carolina in early July, she would be missing one very special member of her inner circle: her beloved pup Leo.
“We wanted to have Leo at our wedding more than anything,” the Ohio native, 24, tells The Knot. “But with everyone traveling from out of state it was nearly impossible. We opted to leave him back in Ohio with other dogs and family members that he was familiar with.”
Before Bowles departed for the wedding, she handed Leo over to her father, Wayne, who was tasked with dropping the dog off at a nearby doggy resort. The father of the bride, however, devised a plan to surprise his daughter with a Leo look-alike… that could travel.
The bride was shocked when she received a pic of a life-size cardboard cutout of her pet. “Leo is breaking out,” her dad wrote in a cheeky text. According to Bowles, it’s just like her doting dad to devise such a sweet surprise. “He is the goofiest, most creative person I know,” she says. “My dad would do just about anything to make sure I’m happy, so him doing this wasn’t too far out of the ordinary. We are very close.”
The bride’s father documented his entire trip from Ohio to South Carolina with photos of the cardboard version of Leo on display in every snap. “My favorite is one with Leo’s cutout and real dogs,” the newlywed says with a laugh. “I can just imagine my dad asking people to take photos of their dogs with cutout Leo.”
When Leo’s double arrived to the destination, Bowles and her soon-to-be husband posed with the cardboard pooch.
Update: Leo has made it to Charleston pic.twitter.com/7mUwfjVGlt
— Hillary Bowles (@hillarybontempo) July 1, 2017
The cardboard cutie was the talk of the weekend. “Having Leo’s double at the wedding definitely helped; it was such a sweet gesture and kept the guests laughing the whole weekend,” Bowles says.
The bride and groom, who honeymooned in Saint Lucia, couldn’t wait to get home to the pup. Bowles concludes: “It was the most amazing time, but it was so nice to come home to our Leo and start this new chapter of life.”