In honor of Valentine's Day, I thought it would be fun to discuss the increase in the number of couples who are allowing their pets to participate in their weddings. According to Maryann Mott, writer for DogFancy Magazine, "Animal-friendly nuptials aren't surprising. Many single people live with a dog long before finding their future spouse, so it only makes sense they'd want their best friend to play an important role on the big day."
If you and your future spouse are considering including your dog in this very special occasion, you will definitely need to make a few preparations:
- Ask wedding venue and/or place of worship, and reception hall if dogs are allowed.
- Check with your photographer to see if he/she is OK working with animals.
- Find a caregiver to watch your dog during the wedding, reception, and honeymoon. It is unrealistic to think that you will have the time and presence of mind to properly watch over your dog during these times.
- Determine what role you want your dog to play in your wedding (i.e., ring bearer, bride's maid, usher, etc.). You may want to consider hiring a canine coordinator for your wedding, like Connie Formosa, owner of "Help I Have a Dog" in North Bergen, NJ. Her services include teaching your dog to walk nicely down the aisle, sit pretty for photos, and greet guests politely. Formosa says that a dog with absolutely no obedience skills needs to start his/her training at least four months in advance. A dog with obedience skills in place may just need about six weeks of practice.
- Shop for canine wedding accessories or apparel. These range from tuxedos and satin bows to retractable leashes with embellishments.
Have fun with your dog on your wedding day and don't stress. Your dog can sense your mood. If you are anxious, your dog could become anxious, too. Make sure this is a joyous occasion for both of you!