I had the slowest walk down the aisle – it took two whole songs and guests were stunned to see why

A BRIDE had the 'slowest walk down the aisle in history' as she made her pet TORTOISE the ring bearer at her wedding – as the dawdling reptile even stole the limelight on her big day.

Vets Ericka and Jay Johnson first met while doing a wild tortoise survey 20 years ago so felt it was only right for their beloved Sulcata tortoise, Tom Shelleck, to be part of their wedding celebrations.


The 41-year-old said that strawberries were dotted down the aisle for 'always hungry' Tom to follow before the pair tied the knot last year at Tohono Chul Botanical Gardens, Arizona.

The mom-of-one said that despite initial concerns he may nibble some painted toenails mistaking them for fruit, it all ran smoothly and he even became the 'center of attention' on her big day.

Photos captured show the 20-year-old reptile creeping down the aisle following a trail of fruit while bearing their rings on a floral basket attached to his shell before he posed alongside them in their couple portraits.

Ericka said: "He could have had the slowest walk down the aisle in history.

"We were timing him when we'd practice seeing how long it would take and we ended up having to have two songs played so that we'd have enough time, and we still almost ran out of songs.

"The only thing we were worried about was if ladies had painted toenails and he'd look at them and think they were fruit and maybe get off track and bite some toes, but fortunately that didn't happen.

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"I was proud of how he did. I think he did great and we're really happy with how everything went.

"A lot of people were talking about it and we made some funny jokes like 'the bride is supposed to be the center of attention but it's the ring bearer.'

"The day after the wedding I had several people text me like 'hey, do you have any pictures of Tom?'"

Ericka said it took around three minutes for Tom to get down the aisle – while it took everyone else a matter of seconds.

A photo of Tom alongside exotic animal hospital owners Ericka and Tom has amassed more than 1,680 likes, comments, and shares online.

Ericka said: "Jay and I are both exotic animal veterinarians and tortoises have always been at the center of what brought us together.

"We're both huge tortoise fans and met doing a wild desert tortoise survey.

"When it was time for him to go down the aisle I had my twin nephews place strawberries down for him to follow.

"He's very outgoing and always hungry.

"He started at the end of the aisle and went and grabbed the strawberries in a row and once he was to the front in the wedding the officiant took the rings off the little arrangement that was attached to the back of his shell.

"He eats mostly hay and dry things like that because he's a desert-adapted species so he's not supposed to eat a lot of fruit but since he loves strawberries so much we knew it was a surefire way to get him to go down the aisle."



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