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Therapy llamas dress up as bride and groom, and you can rent them for weddings

The Mtn Peaks therapy llamas and alpacas of Ridgefield, Washington provide care to those in need of comfort or assistance, but they're also available to rent for wedding parties - dressed as bride and groom. (Kirsten Nicolaisen/KATU)

You’ve got the venue, the bouquet, the dress, the caterer, and made sure your liberal and conservative relatives are separated by at least three tables.

What else could you possibly need?

How about a llama in a bowtie?

Lori Gregory and her daughter Shannon Joy, who run Mtn. Peaks Therapy Llamas and Alpacas, are offering their animals as wedding guests.

“We’ve done everything from being in Portland’s fanciest hotels to backyard weddings and everything in-between,” Joy said.

Gregory and Joy began allowing folks to rent Mt. Peaks’ animals for activities to help fund the non-profit’s therapy work with children’s hospitals and rehab facilities.

Gregory told KATU she barely charges anything for those therapy trips (enough to cover gas, if anything), and that began to weigh on the non-profit’s finances.

“We’re struggling financially with our non-profit,” Joy said. “And I knew that the best way that we were going to be able to raise funds so I could continue doing this full-time with my mom would be to help encourage our weddings.”

So about a month and a half ago, Joy created an Instagram account promoting the idea of hiring llamas to come to your wedding. The response, she said, has been massive.

“The response has been absurd. It’s blown my mind,” Shannon said.

Shannon said Mtn. Peaks’ wedding engagements are now booked several months in advance.

“It’s a way for guests to kind of have a unique form of entertainment other than just sitting at the bar getting drinks,” Shannon said. “It’s a great icebreaker.”

Shannon said couples can hand-pick which llamas and alpacas they want to come to their wedding. The animals, she added, are trained, diapered, and come dressed to the nines.

But the welfare of the animals comes first. Shannon said they generally won’t bring the animals more than an hour away from their Ridgefield home, and won’t bring the animals out at all if the weather is too hot for them.

For more information on Mtn. Peaks, click here.

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