The bride always wanted “baby animals” around when she got engaged.
PUPPIES!! too much? Nah, never when our fur babies are concerned — even more so when dogs are incorporated into wedding festivities. And this puppy proposal in South Jersey is just about the sweetest engagement we’ve ever seen; the best part is the dogs were from Philly Rescue Angels, which seeks to find forever homes for abandoned or abused pups. Photographer Donte Fisher of Fisher Visuals snapped all the cuteness here.
couple: Alexis (aka Lexi) Scaffidi, 30, and Anthony (aka Ant) Dominick, 35, of Glassboro
How they met: It happened 10 years ago: Lexi, now the VP of marketing and events at tech startup LifeBrand and co-founder of event design biz BiteSized Designs, was serving at the Phily Diner & Sports Bar in Runnemede. Ant, a Philadelphia union carpenter, walked in — something about her athleisure look struck her. While she was too shy to approach him, one of the bartenders was friends with Ant and later introduced the two. Their first date took place at Bonefish Grill.
The puppy-proposal plan: Lexi had always said she wanted baby animals around when Ant popped the question. He took it to heart and enlisted the help of Lexi’s sister, Alyse (who co-founded BiteSized Designs), and her mom, Cindi, to help him pull it off. Alyse knew of Philly Rescue Angels, a nonprofit that rehabilitates and rehomes abused dogs, through a friend who had recently fostered a few puppies. She reached out to the organization, and Melody, Circo, Sam, Sadie and Hershey were selected. Family and friends picked them up from foster homes throughout Philly for the occasion. (Lexi’s and her sister’s two Yorkies were also on hand.)
The decor: Ant planned to ask for Lexi’s hand at their home, so they group had to figure out a way to get her out of the house to decorate. One of Ant’s family member’s birthdays provided a decoy. While she was gone (and after the Arlo home security cameras were unplugged), Alyse and Cindi staged the boho bridal scene. A giant teddy bear from Zallie’s Fresh Kitchen, flowers by Glass Floral Design, a cake from Sweet Eats Bakery and cookies from Sweet D’s Custom Cookies were brought over from their hiding place in a garage across the street.
The big moment: When she walked in the door, the first person Lexi saw was the photographer. Then she spotted Ant and all those puppies. He dropped to one knee and kept it short and sweet — there were a few furry distractions — and placed her ring, a cushion-cut solitary diamond from Golden Nugget Jewelers, on her finger. “I’ll admit, even though the ring is stunning, I just wanted to kiss and hug the puppies as soon as possible,” says Lexi.
Lexi’s reaction: “I was completely shocked and purely happy!” Indeed: She had just returned from a work trip in Las Vegas and thought it was going to be a catch-up Sunday. “Instead, my family planned this incredible surprise. It was really special to me.”
Ant’s reaction: “I was excited after the fact, but super-nervous leading up to it,” he says. “Lexi is hard to surprise, so I just kept thinking, “We need to get this done before she figures it out!”
The post-proposal festivities: Perhaps most importantly, some of the featured dogs have already been adopted — though you can find many more who need forever homes on Philly Rescue Angels’ Instagram. As for Lexi and Ant? Another surprise was in store: an intimate dinner with close family and friends at Seasons 52 in Cherry Hill.
The wedding plans: While the couple doesn’t have any plans yet, they are considering a nonconventional destination wedding that is personalized to what they care about and enjoy. “I told my family that the only way to top a proposal with puppies is to have a whole farm of rescue animals for the wedding,” says Lexi. “So who knows what’ll happen!”
This interview has been edited for clarity and length.
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