Your special day is a time for friends and family to gather together in recognition and celebration of the love you share with that special someone and the commitment you’re both making to spend the rest of your lives together. And while many blended marriages now include children (who often take part in the ceremony) and there are traditions that allow friends and family members to have a role in the nuptials (lighting the unity candle, tying the lasso, etc.), there is one member of the family that is consistently and conspicuously absent from the proceedings: man’s best friend. So here are a few things to consider if you want to include your longtime pet companion in the happiest day of your life.
For starters, you will have to find out if it is possible to include your pet. You may have to check with your venues (for both ceremony and reception) to determine whether or not your pet will be allowed within. If you have an outdoor wedding, there probably won’t be any restrictions. But indoors may be a problem (especially if the places are pretty ritzy). Of course, this doesn’t necessarily preclude you from bringing an animal; you may just have to get creative. Beyond that, you really need to think about whether or not your pet SHOULD be included.
Many animals are not well-suited to noisy and crowded events (a category that most weddings tend to fall into). Cats, in particular, may not appreciate being forced to wear a leash and get subjected to petting by strangers for an entire day. Dogs may be better suited to such shenanigans, but you will have to assess this on a case-by-case basis. If your dog is prone to excitement, aggression, barking, or accidents (of the bathroom variety) then you may want to leave them at home or in the care of a kennel rather than subject them to the stresses (and expectations) of a wedding. Both your pet and your guests will appreciate this forethought.
But if you have an animal that is relaxed, mellow, and comfortable with a crowd, then there are a few ways you can include them. Your best friend can be employed as a groomsman or bridesmaid to sit loyally by your side. He can walk the bride down the aisle if her father is unavailable. Or he could be released up the aisle at just the right moment with the rings strapped to his back. It’s really up to you what capacity your pet will fill in the course of your ceremony, and the only thing limiting your choices are your own imagination (or lack thereof) and the abilities of your pet (which you should endeavor not to exceed).
A pet can make an entertaining, memorable, and precious addition to your wedding ceremony. And considering the fact that they’re also gaining a new person in their life, there’s no reason you should not include them. However, you do need to consider the temperament of your animal companion to ensure that if you find a spot for them in your happy day it won’t compromise their well-being (or add undue stress to your palette).