Are you a dog person? It’s one of those things, you either are, or you’re not. Some people consider their pets to be a part of their family – I know I do. If you ever bought something silly, special, or extravagant for your pet, you probably also thought about having your dog be a part of your wedding.
I have enjoyed working with couples who did just that. If it’s an at-home wedding, of course you can do what you wish, but if at a hotel or other venue, will they permit it? You may be pleasantly surprised to find that if you have an appropriate plan for your pet, many will agree. Most houses of worship however, will not. After clearing that obstacle, here are some hints on going about it.
One popular role for a dog is ring-bearer. This is a ceremonial act with children and pets alike, so you don’t have to use the real rings.
Your dog can also be the ‘flower dog.’ Have the collar or leash adorned with flowers for a grand entrance. You can even attach your pup with a harness to a special petal-spreading device, much like a seed spreader on a lawn. It’s really quite wonderful, if a little over the top! Or pull a little dog down the aisle in a wagon!
It’s really all about getting the dog down the aisle, one way of the other, isn’t it? Many a bride wants her dog to walk down with her! But whether with a bride or groom, a flower girl, best person, or just about anyone, as long as it’s someone your dog knows and is comfortable with, you can get your doggie down that aisle.
A rehearsal will really help. Let the dog get to know the surroundings, so he’ll perform better, and it will also give you a chance to find if there are any unforeseen hazards or distractions.
Don’t forget the photo shoot. It’s wonderful and easy to include your dog in an engagement shoot. You can also have her in your wedding day photos, especially if you are doing photos before the ceremony. Again, remember to have someone specifically dedicated to assisting with your dog or dogs – bringing them to and from the ceremony, and responsible for cleaning up when necessary! Think through the logistics.
Please check with guests, especially your wedding party, to be sure no one is allergic or has strong objections. You don’t want that coming up unexpectedly on the day of the wedding.
If you can’t actually have your dog attend or participate in your wedding, you can certainly recognize your animal companions in other ways. You can write about them in your wedding program, you can use their photos as part of your reception. A couple I worked with had photos of their dogs as table markers. And if your officiant is up for it (I know I do this fairly often) have them give some recognition to your pets in the ceremony. Why not? They are an important part of your life and deserve a mention.
So, if your dog is well behaved, well socialized, and too important to be excluded, and everything falls into place, include your pup in your wedding ceremony! It may sound like a strange idea to some people – but those people just aren’t dog people, are they?
Thank you Lisa Rhinehart - as always – for your beautiful photography! The other photos are provided by me!