How to Incorporate a Pet into Your Wedding Day

Ceremony & Vows

What do real brides have to say about the wedding planning experience? In the weeks leading up to her wedding, guest blogger Linley Taber shared the ins and outs of finding dance floor-friendly bridesmaids dresses, nailing a foodie-approved wedding menu, and more. With the big day behind her, Linley gives us a sneak peak of her gorgeous wedding photos and a few of her favorite details.

When it came to including our beloved dog Otis in our wedding day, the question was never "if," but "how." Otis is not one of those pocket-sized pups who can be carried down the aisle or posed with like a prop. Nor is he one of those big, docile pooches who'd let us put a collar of fresh flowers around his neck then lie lazily at our side during our vows.

No, Otis is a 50-pound ball of pure puppy energy—the canine equivalent of that well-meaning but wild groomsman who's bound to wreak some sort of havoc. He is what saner folks would regard as "wedding liability: exhibit A."

So we had to get creative about incorporating our rather spirited fur-ball into our big day. This meant his primary "photo shoot" would be on his own turf (our backyard) with his primary handler (my husband Michael). This, apparently, was also an opportunity for both of them to practice their canine agility routine while donning evening wear (yes, Otis was wearing bow tie too).

Once we met at the wedding site for pictures, our four-legged friend was so riled up by big day hullabaloo that he had to be physically restrained. Hence, our "family pictures" lasted just long enough for him to give both us some sloppy puppy kisses before squirming out of Michael's arms.

But when it came down to our ceremony (for which Otis was listed as a groomsman in our wedding program) the dog nailed his performance. Accompanied (and, no doubt, fed) by the dog-sitter we'd hired for the occasion, he sat quietly and watched us from a safe distance while we exchanged our vows. And then, just after our officiant proclaimed us husband and wife, Michael whistled for Otis. Here, my friends, was the pièce de résistance: Otis bounded down our petal-strewn aisle, met us with more "hugs" and kisses, and the three of us processed as a family.

Seconds later, he'd be whisked away for the night. But in that moment, our little pup stole the show.

—Linley Taber

Read more about Linley's wedding planning and inspiration here.

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