Include Your Pet

Here's how to incorporate your furry family member into your big day

On your wedding day, you want to be surrounded by your entire family. Does that include Fido? It can: More and more couples are making their pets a part of the big-day festivities. Read on to bone up on the basics.

List of Mutt-Dos
For starters, consider your pet’s personality. Is he comfortable around strangers or does he bark up a storm? Think about where you’d like to hold your event. Pooches might not be permitted at a church, synagogue or indoor reception venue, so check first. Once you’ve booked your spots, confirm the details. Is a security deposit required in case your dog has an accident? Will he have to be leashed? Once you’re clear on the specifics, you can embark on the big-day plans.

Best Attendant in Show
You have many options for the part your pet can play. "A small dog or a cat could be carried down the aisle by a junior bridesmaid in a basket decorated with flowers," offers Kimberly Schlegel Whitman, a Dallas-based wedding designer and author of Dog Parties. She suggests having a larger dog walked on a leash made of ribbon with the bride’s and groom’s names printed on it. If you’d rather not give your pet an active role, you can display his photo, mention him in your toast or include him on the "who’s who" list in your ceremony program.

Doggy Duds
To up the fun factor, dress your canine in wedding-worthy attire. Try Pink bellygifts.com for pup-sized wedding gowns and tuxes, Quintessentialpet.com for a bow tie or Glamourdog.com for a tiara. To completely "collar-coordinate," ask your florist to fit Fido with a wreath in your wedding colors, or affix a single bloom to his collar.

Hush Puppy
If your dog will be taking part in your ceremony, you should arrange for him to be at the rehearsal so you can have him practice walking down the aisle with you or his escort. Someone should plan to hold the leash during the ceremony, and also to have treats and water on hand to quickly quell any disruptions. A relative or a responsible guest can plan to escort Fido out of the area if he becomes restless.

Party Poocher
If you don’t want your pup around the entire time, arrange for his pickup or hire a dogsitter (perhaps your groomer or vet if you know him well, Whitman says). Arm your sitter with plastic bags and paper towels in case of accidents.

Bone Appétit
With all of the excitement, attention and activity on your big day, your pet will have worked up a major appetite. Bring along some of his favorite food and serve it in a fancy or festive bowl. Most of all, remember to enjoy the party and your pet attendant’s company. Happy tails to you!

 

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