A miniature schnauzer called Kurt put his best paw forward to make history in Salford ,

The one-year-old pup who belongs to couple Ben Barnes and Leona Armstrong became the first dog to lead a couple down the aisle at Salford Register Office at the Civic Centre, Swinton thanks to a change in policy.

The plan to allow dogs to attend weddings was to be launched in 2020 but the pandemic put it on ‘paws’. With restrictions now lifted canine companions can now walk their humans up the aisle and share in their special day.

John Searle, Place Director at Salford City Council said: “Dogs are very much part of people’s families and we want to make them welcome too. Our plan was to start this in 2020 but Covid restrictions made it impossible so I’m delighted we can now go ahead.”

Ben, 35, a freelance cameraman who films for Love Island and BT Sports and Leona, 30, a wellbeing lead who works with neurodivergent young people at a specialist arts college, have been together for eight years after meeting through friends. The couple, who live in Middleton, had always planned to marry in 2022 so their plans were not affected by the pandemic.

“We were over the moon that we could have Kurt with us as this is just a small, simple ceremony for us and our parents before a big wedding celebration in May,” said Ben.

“We can’t take Kurt to the big wedding as it would be too much for him and a nightmare keeping an eye on him all day so this was perfect. He had a bath and his fur blow dried for the occasion and dressed up in his best collar and bow tie.”

Ben and Leona were married on Thursday 21 April.


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