And then, the wedding guests finally hear what they’ve been waiting for all day – the pounding of hooves.
The expressions of delighted shock on the guests’ faces as the bride arrives in a splendid horse-drawn carriage are exactly what John Miller loves to see. Miller, along with his wife Cindy, owns Fancy Wheelin’, a company that provides such classic conveyance for weddings, parades, special events or even just a romantic night out with a special someone.
Miller and his wife purchased the company in 2003 and have since thoroughly enjoyed playing a special part in a memorable chapter of many couples’ lives. The horses often bring a bride from her house to the church, but special entrances for outdoor weddings can also be planned. Fancy Wheelin’ also caters to Indian weddings, called Baraat Ceremonies, featuring beautiful imported decorations.
“It’s really a marvelous entrance when you get a 2,000-pound horse and the carriage carrying the bride,” Miller said. “Most people will stand up out of their chairs or just sit there in awe.”
Fancy Wheelin’ horses have also provided the transportation for Santa Claus at holiday parades in Brentwood, Antioch and Los Altos. Horses from Fancy Wheelin’ have been as far north as Windsor and as south as Fresno and towns along the central coast.
One of Miller’s personal favorites occurred when his company was chosen by the Catholic Diocese of Stockton to transport a cardinal and a bishop in a parade.
On a smaller scale, a horse and carriage was sent to a 5-year-old girl’s princess party. The regal horse, white carriage and dashing top hat and tuxedo-clad prince were a big hit among the dozen or so little girls at the party.
“As I told the mother, this will be with her forever,” Miller said. “It was just a wonderful moment.”
Fancy Wheelin’ has 12 horses in its Tracy stable. Among them are a Belgian, “Nanen,” as well as “Diesel” and “Little Tommy,” two of the company’s Percherons, horses with a proud history. According to the Fancy Wheelin’ website, Belgian horses “are believed to have the most direct lineage to the ‘Great Horse’ of Medieval times.” Percherons are also calm in the presence of children, which explains their widespread use at theme parks.
For weddings, Miller’s company provides silver goblets with sparkling cider, silk flowers on the carriage that match the colors of bride’s dress, and a driver and footman dressed in tuxedos. The horse’s tail is also braided and adorned with a bow.
Fancy Wheelin’ works with white, custom Anderson carriages. Miller said the company’s more than 100 annual events range from weddings to quinceañeras.
John, a former engineer for Hewlett Packard, said Cindy has been around horses her entire life. When she saw an ad in the newspaper stating that the owner of the company was selling the name, the horses and the carriages, Cindy jumped on it. The previous owners were great to work with and gave them a few weeks to learn the ropes before setting them free.
“This beats working,” Miller said. “You get to be a part of people’s celebration. Everyone’s thrilled to see the horse, to see the carriage. You can’t find a more unique and fun way to make a living. You get to be a little part of peoples’ big day.”
To get in touch with Fancy Wheelin’ for a wedding or other event, visit www.fancywheelin.com or call 888-326-2994.