Vows among the bow-wows!!!

There’s a new puppy in my life. Louie is 12 weeks old now and a ton of fun, joy, and work. There’s no doubt about it, I’m a dog person. Louie brings our total to three fantastic English Springer Spaniels. So I figured this was a good time to talk about dogs in weddings.

I know it is sounds marvelous to have your pooch (or pooches) in your wedding, but before you take that leap there are several obstacles to consider. To state the obvious: first and foremost is the well-being of your dog. Is the task a good fit for your certainly perfect pet? A jumping dog, a nervous dog, a senior dog probably won’t work well, especially if you expect a little interaction with your guests. You need a well trained, socialized dog to participate in your wedding.

photo credit: Susie Forrester

And before you fall further in love with the idea, check with your venue to see if dogs are allowed on the property. Be prepared to ask and answer a few questions.  Will your dog will be allowed to stay with you – if it’s an on-site accommodation? Think about your time frame – will you have to leave her alone for too long when you go to your reception?  And to facilitate this dream it is very helpful to have a designated handler for the dog.

photo credit: Garth Woods

The most popular task for a dog is the walk down the aisle, sometimes as a ring bearer or flower dog, or she can just walk on in and be awesome. Obviously, someone has to escort the pooch down the aisle – a flower girl or ring bearer, Jr Bridesmaid or Jr Groomsmen are great choices, but really anyone can fill the bill.  Then, have your pup whisked away to the dog friendly pre-arranged location (or back home) after a nice walk and a cool drink of water, of course!

photo credit: Lisa Rhinehart

Having your dog stay throughout the ceremony could take the focus off of you! He had his moment, now it’s your turn. If you do you want him to hang around for some post-ceremony photos, have him exit the ceremony site until it’s time for the photos or social interaction. Either way, your pup will probably have to leave before the reception. This is why the dog handler should not be a guest, but someone specifically designated and paid to do this important job. Yes, hiring someone gives it importance and accountability – so please consider that.

photo credit: David Coulter

Including your dog in your photos is worthwhile. Engagement photos, wedding photos, or save-the dates, are all great opportunities for dogs to be their most adorable. The photos also provide a lifetime of memories.

If you can’t arrange to have your dog with you at your wedding, consider including a few words about her in the ceremony, in the program book, or at the reception. How about using photos of your pups incorporated into your table markers? This is, in fact, probably the only way you could involve cats! Take your pet’s photo, add a graphic, such as the table numbers, frame it, and place on the tables. Voilà!

How about a big cardboard cutout of your dog for photos or as photo-booth material?

You don’t have to dress up your dog, some people do like that. Maybe just a special collar. You certainly want a freshly bathed and groomed dog for the big day. Schedule a spa day for your four legged friends as well as your two legged ones.

If you think this is all ridiculous, you’re probably not a dog person. And please give me a hand (or paw?) for not including all those silly dog puns! It was a ruff, ruff effort. And it wasn’t too much of a fluff piece, was it? It was pawsitively off the leash!

photo credit: Lisa Rhinehart

 Thanks to all my photographer friends for the photos!! Too many wonderful images to choose from, I had to include quite a few!

  

 

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  • Blog Author

    Lois Heckman

    Lois Heckman is a certified Life-Cycle Celebrant who officiates at weddings, funerals, and other ceremonies in the Poconos and beyond. She has performed hundreds of ceremonies and brings a wealth of knowledge to her work. Visit her website: ... Read Full
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