How Do I Include My Pet in My Wedding?

Fido and Fluffy are a big part of your family. Here’s how to (tastefully) include your four-legged friends in your wedding ceremony

When it comes to personalizing their weddings, some bridal couples include their pets — Fido is a big part of the family, after all! This decision should not be taken lightly and preparation is the key.

Dear Wedding Guru: “Please don’t call me nutty, but my standard poodle, Jake, is very much a part of my family and I’d like to include him in my wedding as a ‘pet of honor.’ Is it okay to do this? What advice could you give me in order to prepare and help make this possible in a positive way?”

(Our answer on next page)

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The Wedding Guru says: Your idea is by far not unique and has worked well under many circumstances. First, check with both your ceremony and reception venues to make certain that pets are allowed. If you’re getting married in a house of worship, there’s a strong possibility that they have a no-pets rule. Your reception venue may also disallow pets based on Board of Health regulations.

Next up: be fair to yourself — and to your pet — by taking into consideration several issues. We have all been privy to an adorable flower girl who freezes at the end of the isle and refuses to walk. The same thing can happen to your pet, who can become overwhelmed by the number of people around. If he is obedient, well-trained, and comfortable around lots of people, you should be okay, but if he’s a jumper or barker, including him can be a mistake. (If that’s the case, prepare a bag of treats, toys, and comfort items — then do yourself a big favor and hire a professional pet sitter so you can go about your business.) And if you’re going to dress him in wedding “clothing,” try them on for size and comfort well before the wedding.

In conclusion, keep in mind that glitches happen and including a pet makes the likelihood greater of things going wrong. Weigh that against your wishes and against the comfort of your animal (and guests).

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