Pets are our four-legged family members, so it's not surprising that more and more couples are including their pets in their nuptials today. With the close connection that exists between us and our pets, including them in the Wedding Day, along with our other friends and family members, seems natural. There are a few things to consider though before dressing up Spot in a tux:
Shy or Outgoing Personality?
What is his personality? If he is shy and reserved, bringing him to a wedding in an unfamiliar location and with a lot of people around might cause him undue stress, and you will spend more time calming him down than you will enjoying your wedding day. Consider having a designated pet sitter to stay with him the entire time. Keep plenty of his favorite treats and some favorite toys nearby to make him feel more comfortable.
Is he outgoing and excitable? Keeping him on a shorter leash is a better idea so he doesn't get distracted and stray off the aisle if he is filling in as the ring bearer or best dog.
Don't go overboard on the attire for your pet. Dogs don't generally like to wear clothes, which can feel tight and oppressive. Instead, go with a simple bow tie collar (or flower collar for a girl) so he fits in with the wedding party but isn't spending all his time trying to wriggle out of uncomfortable clothing.
Let your Photographer know well in advance that you plan to include your pet, and the role they will play (ring bearer, flower girl, etc). You can coordinate on some great photo ideas early, and your photographer can be prepared to capture unplanned pet moments which can make for great photos!
Beware of Goodies
There are normally many treats to enjoy at a wedding, from candy and popcorn bars to chocolate cookie cakes. Be sure to have someone watching your pup the entire time to ensure they don't find a stray piece of chocolate and grab it... most candy and some fruits are toxic to animals and they could become very sick.
After the Ceremony
Pets are great integrated into a ceremony, but not so great during the Reception. The music, dance lighting, and lots of people can cause undue panic and stress. For this reason, it is best to have someone either take them home following your ceremony, or, if this isn't possible, bring their crate or bed from home and put them in it in a quiet place. Be sure there is water and their normal food available, and check on them regularly throughout the Reception.
By following a few simple guidelines, your furry family member can play a memorable role in your special day!