Earlier this month, Kristen and Duncan Dupree tied the knot in the city of Spanish Fort, and joyful photos from the bride’s “first look” have since gone wildly viral on social media. Surprisingly, however, the staged photo-op didn’t capture Kristen and her groom – but instead, the bride and the couple’s large black American Kennel Club Labrador retriever, Zeke.
"Duncan decided pretty early on that he wanted to see me for the first time walking down the aisle with my father, rather than a ‘first look.’ In passing, we joked about me doing one with Zeke,” Kristen, a registered nurse, told Today.
Recalling that she felt some “pre-ceremony jitters” before the Nov. 8 nuptials, the bride decided that she “really wanted” to see her pup, age 2, before heading to the altar.
"My matron of honor went to get him for me and it truly was a special moment for me. In the middle of a busy day of hair, makeup, setting up and pictures, it was nice to just love on my dog,” she said.
The minute of pure puppy love was impeccably captured by Perri Farlow of Farlow Photography as Zeke “waited” to see Kristen, happily nuzzled her face and even tried to playfully eat her bouquet.
The newlywed later explained that her bridesmaids, mother and mother-in-law were the only ones who witnessed the intimate moment, and knew how sentimental the occasion was for her.
"They all had huge smiles on their faces. We are all dog people and they knew how happy I was to see my boy!" Kristen said.
The new Mrs. Dupree, 24, explained that she and Duncan, 25, got Zeke together during her last semester at the University of Alabama as a companion for Kristen while her now-husband was away working as a landscape foreman.
In the years since, the bride admitted that the lab has made their little family complete.
“Anyone that knows us knows how much we love Zeke. He comes everywhere with us. Family beach trips, hunting camp weekends, boat days, we bring him everywhere,” she gushed. “He is one of the sweetest dogs you’ll ever meet, and he makes every adventure better!"
"He is our best friend and there was no question about it."
"He is our best friend and there was no question about it," Kristen said of Zeke’s presence on the couple’s wedding day.
"Zeke even stayed in the groom’s suite and slept while the reception was going on. Duncan's groomsmen kept bringing him rolls and green beans to munch on. He even made an appearance on the dance floor at the end of the night."
Meanwhile, the precious shots of the bride and her dog have since gone incredibly viral on Facebook. Farlow Photography’s Nov. 21 post highlighting the one-of-a-kind first look moment has since received 18,000 likes, 27,000 comments and more than 46,000 shares to date.
Though Kristen has since voiced surprise with the overnight hype, she said the love between her and Zeke is just as genuine as it looks.
“Thanks for the love everyone. Zeke is truly my best friend and this moment was so special for me,” she later wrote on Facebook. “Thanks Perri for capturing it so perfectly.”
Sounds like this sweet pup is woman’s best friend, indeed.