When Cheryl Kampwerth of Breese came up with an idea last summer about pet services for weddings, it was something she wasn't really sure of.
She needed something to do. After retiring from working at Scott Air Force Base and taking care of her ailing mother, she needed something to do to pass the time.
Since the Kampwerth's love their furbabies so much, Cheryl saw an opportunity and thought to start a pet service for weddings. Especially since her daughter, Bailey, had their dogs available for photographers at her wedding in 2019.
Cheryl asked her husband, Dan, what he thought about the pet services.
"That is the dumbest idea I ever heard," Dan had said at the time. "Nobody is going to have someone pay to bring dogs to a wedding when they have family."
Now, Dan is eating his words, Cheryl laughed. "He now says, 'I take it back.'"
Furever There, LLC provides services so your pets can be part of your big day, without the stress. The company started last May, and since then, they had 10 weddings booked last year, that many booked this year and more to come.
Cheryl and Bailey are no strangers to pets — they both have volunteered for the Clinton County Humane Society. They both have rescue pets, whom they love very much.
After reaching out via social media to see if there was a need for wedding day pet services, the mother-daughter duo started working together to get the business up and running, including a name, Facebook page, and insurance.
They are available to bring pets to wedding pictures, engagement pictures, family pictures, including dog pickup and drop off.
They do have a meet and greet with the clients, go over details and contractual services, and conduct an "interview" with the pets, using a tiny microphone.
"We love hearing the little noises of the pets in the microphone," said Cheryl.
Some pets are unsure or shy about the interview, while others are anxious to step up to the microphone and "gnaw" on the mic.
The process, including drive time the day of, is about three to four hours. The mother and daughter team pick up the pet from the home, and take the pet to where the bride and groom are located for wedding photographs, and the wedding photographer takes posed and candid photographs of the bridal couple with the pets.
One of their first weddings at which they were able to provide services was a wedding last year, where the bride and groom had three furbabies.
"The little dog was known to be very anxious and aggressive, and at the meet and greet, the bride was unsure if we would even be able to bring all three of their dogs to the wedding for pictures," Bailey said.
The day of the wedding, the mom and daughter team went to the house, and the little dog was "an angel."
"He was so excited to see us, and was so good. When the bride saw that we had the third dog with us, she was so happy and in tears," Bailey said, adding that they didn't want to leave the third dog out; they are like family.
The pictures with the bride and groom and all three dogs turned out amazing, of course. Bailey and Cheryl know how to work the dogs into getting them to look at the camera and pose.
They also have accessories for the dogs to match the bride and groom, including bridal bandannas, bow ties, and a crown of flowers. Not to mention, leashes in white or gray to match the wedding couple.
They carry a backpack with them, which includes a mobile watering station — a water bottle with a bowl attached, a notebook for notes, squeaky toys, containers/bags for pet treats, leashes for pets, a squeaky toy and more.
Wedding day services include a complimentary meet and greet, transportation, ceremony assistance, aisle escorting, day-of chaperoning, photo assistance, feeding and hydrating, potty breaks, accessorizing, and boarding pick-up and drop-off.
They can provided services at wedding rehearsals, ceremonies, and receptions, proposal, engagement and wedding photographs, vow renewals and family photographs.
They are not just limited to wedding services. They can also provide dog servicing for drop-ins and add-ons. A "drop-in" is where they go to the pet owner's house and are able to take the dog out for a potty break, take the dog for a walk or playtime. These services include a complimentary meet and greet, potty breaks, feeding, dog walking and administering of medication to your pets.
They also have "Forget Me Not" photo sessions, which are photo sessions for senior, terminally ill or end-of-life pets. The session is for one-hour and includes edited digital gallery available for download.
An added bonus — 10 percent of each client's total cost goes to a nonprofit or not-for-profit pet organization from the Furever There verified list.
They have had a busy year. Over the holidays, Bailey and Cheryl offered a meet and greet (also sponsored with Breese Chamber of Commerce) with Santa at Santa's Hut, called "Santa Paws Walk Through the Park." They also held a pet painting "pawty," teaming up with Events & Essentials in Breese. The dogs were able to make a painting, where the pets were able to "paint" on a canvas, using a ziplock bag and peanut butter, and having the pup lick the peanut butter off the bag.
They plan to have another "painting pawty" in the spring, so stay tuned.
Bailey works at TechKnow Solutions in Breese, so her creative mind is always going, from the creative title of the business name to the catchy ideas and fun items that Furever There has to offer.
The most rewarding, they said, is having your pets there for your weddings and being able to capture those moments.
Cheryl said the most rewarding for her is the look on the bride and groom's faces when you bring their furbabies to their wedding.
"It's just wonderful to see their faces," Cheryl said through happy tears.
The most challenging part has been having to turn people away, since it is only the two.
"We want to make it work for all brides and grooms, so it is hard to have to turn people away," Bailey said.
"We just love what we do," Cheryl added. "It is crazy how it took off the way it did, but we love it."
For more information, call Bailey Wilson at 618-363-0949 or Cheryl Kampwerth at 618-977-2103 or email