Paws of Honor

Including Your Pup On the Big Day

For many of us, our dogs are so much more than “man’s best friend.” They’re part of our family and an integral part of our lives.

It's no wonder more and more couples are choosing to include their canine family members in their nuptials.

Here are a few tips for how to include your pup on your wedding day (and how to keep your pup from running amok).

1) If you're set on having your pet walk down the aisle, choose your venue and vendors carefully. Remember, not everyone loves dogs as much as you. Many venues only allow service animals, and it's not uncommon for people to be afraid of dogs, particularly large breeds.

The best policy is to let everyone (guests included) know Rambo will be at the wedding. That way you can hire accordingly, and guests will know what to expect ahead of time.

2) Consider your dog's temperament before deciding how to include them. You don't need a Marley at your wedding. Whether you want your pooch to be a part of the ceremony or just a spectator, they have to be up to the task.

Even if your dog is normally well behaved, put him or her in the care of someone familiar who can wrangle any bad behavior before it turns disastrous. And remember, a dog that's aggressive or afraid of people probably shouldn't be invited to the wedding.

3) Be creative with how to include your dog in the wedding. Typical jobs for both big and small breeds include...

  • Flower dog: Your dog can carry a bouquet of flowers or basket of petals in his mouth. Just try to avoid flowers toxic to dogs, such as hydrangeas and azaleas. Too hard for Fido? You can always attach a basket to his collar. It's just as adorable.
  • Ring bearer: You can find pillows that tie to dog collars, or simply attach the rings to the collar itself with ribbon or other decorative material. Voilà!
  • Bridesmaid or best man: There are many options for dressing all sizes of dogs. Here are a few: Doggie Clothesline, Mrs. Bones and Doggie Designer. (However, we prefer a floral collar - it's much more chic!)

4) Make your dog as comfortable as possible. If you can, have Shadow check out the venue before the big day so he becomes familiar with the space.

Get any doggy clothing ahead of time so he can get used to it, especially if he doesn't normally dress up. The more familiar your pet is with the details, the better behaved he'll be.

5) Avoid accidents. Feed your dogs either in advance or at the end of the night and give them lots of opportunities to do their business before the event. You don't want to step in something unexpected as you make your way down the aisle, and your guests don't want it either!

6) Make it fun for your dog! Unless Bella is 100 in doggie years, she'll probably need some stimulation to make it through the day. Consider handing out treats guests can give to your dog for tricks or good behavior. Your dog wrangler can help your pet interact with guests, and make sure your pooch gets all the care she needs to enjoy your wedding day.

--Brandi Coleman Valdez

Brandi lives with three dogs, two cats and one husband.

 
 
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