Monday, April 5, 2010

Seattle Wedding Trends {Dogs in Weddings}

Nine years ago I was planning my own wedding, and I wanted to include my baby, my one and only, my first born....Macie the Chihuahua-Fox Terrier. At the time I thought it a brilliantly creative idea to have her act as our ring-bearer, complete with a tied-on ring pillow and flower girl-escort down the aisle.

While I can't say that having dogs in weddings is a new trend, it's certainly a lasting one. Now that I'm a wedding planner all these years later, I do this multiple times per year in various ways for my couples. It makes total sense, as often times engaged couples' first "children" are their beloved doggies. Over the years I've somehow become a resident expert on the subject, being interviewed several times by the press regarding the subject. I have compiled a great list of tips (some of which were learned from my own experiences!) on how to include your pup in your big day - successfully!

1) Assign or hire a dog-handler. This might sound over-the-top at first, but trust me, it's a must. You will be so busy you can't think straight, and you need to have someone reliable that is not a wedding guest dedicated to your dog. This person can bring your baby to the site at the right time, keep them occupied and ready for photos, cue them up for the ceremony, help them schmooze during cocktail hour, and then whisk them away to a comfy doggie bed when their official duties are done.

2) Do not put the actual rings on the dog. Common sense. Or so you would think...I actually tucked our wedding rings into a little pillow on our dog as she walked through the sand. Thankfully they stayed put!! And now I tell everybody else how silly I was!

3) Make a realistic game-plan. Does your dog do well off-leash under normal circumstances? If the answer is no, then she certainly won't do well with 150 strangers staring at her while she is off-leash, so don't expect miracles. Your beloved will not learn new tricks just because it is your wedding day...sorry to break it to you!

4) Be creative with the canine couture. Don't be limited to mini tuxes and gowns. I prefer to go for custom leashes, floral collars, bow ties and bandanas...but make sure it reflects your own personal style so that Fido is sure to be a true part of YOUR wedding party.

5) Make sure dogs are allowed at your venues. Being on the up-and-up with your venue re: your wedding-day puppy plans is definitely the way to go. I have run into venues that do not allow pets and we've made special negotiations with them, but it's much better to run into this hurdle prior to the wedding day. Nobody needs the extra stress of being told "NO DOGS ALLOWED" on their special day.

6) Do a site visit with Rex. Very professional, I know. But this will ensure that he is familiar with his surroundings and won't (completely) freak out when you have him there with his wedding finery on and a big crowd watching. At least you've done your best...

7) Relax and have fun with it! Having your dog part of the ceremony is on par with having small willing to go with the flow and have a laugh!

Photos by , Lauren Kessler and

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