He’s my Central Park companion and cross-country co-pilot. He jumps at the opportunity to wash dishes (with his tongue, of course) and he gives the best kisses on the cheek. He followed me from Georgia to DC to NYC – trading infinite rows of pine trees and pastures for life in a pint-sized apartment. He punctuates and elevates the excitement of single life in the big city.
One afternoon in the future, my left hand will sparkle with the promise of forever and dog fur will accent a cascading white gown. Sentimental Labradork that I am, I can’t imagine exchanging vows with Prince Charming without sharing a portion of the special day with my four-legged sidekick – who also loves me through sickness, health, and Big Apple poverty.
Seeking a solution for dog lovers who aspire to tastefully introduce canine confidants to wedding day whimsy, I turned to Sarah Chancey, owner of Atlanta-based design and luxury wedding firm Chancey Charm.
Sarah and her team of veteran associate planners are dedicated to addressing and manifesting the requests of brides and grooms nationwide. When a couple aims to incorporate their dog into a wedding, Sarah implements strategies that guarantee a pet is stylishly and seamlessly integrated into the ceremony and aftermath.
Follow Sarah’s advice and ensure your pet-friendly event is less of a three-ring circus, more of a classic affair to remember.
Take It Outside
Outdoor wedding venues are most conducive to pet participation. Introducing a dog at an indoor event could irritate guests’ allergies. Further, if your pooch suddenly decides to relieve himself, taking advantage of Mother Nature’s restroom is far superior to lifting a leg on the alter.
Get a Handle
Between primping, praying, and preparing for a life of eternal bliss, a couple may not have the necessary bandwidth to care for a pet on the day of their wedding. Sarah recommends appointing a handler – perhaps a dog walker, friend, or family member – who will be responsible for a pet’s comfort and safety at the wedding location.
Play Dress Up
When mingling amongst guests in gowns and tuxedos, even a dog should look his most dapper. Sarah encourages brides and grooms to replace a dog’s collar with a ribbon, bowtie, or wreath. Collaborate with your planner and florist to create a simple accessory for your dog that coordinates with the flowers and greenery in bridal bouquets.
Teach an Old Dog New Tricks
Parading between a sea of strangers may trigger a pet’s unruly antics; however, older dogs are generally calmer than their puppy counterparts. According to Sarah, the behavior of a more mature furry family member is pretty predictable, making an elderly dog a better candidate for ceremony participation.
An Elegant Exit
An antsy dog will distract guests, detract from the spirit of a wedding, and burden a bride and groom. When planning a pet’s presence in a ceremony, Sarah suggests a dog be led down the aisle by a trusted friend then ushered away from the ceremony space. This arrangement ensures that a dog isn’t forced to sit idle throughout the length of the nuptials.
Constructing wedding photos around a pet, Sarah feels, is the most convenient and captivating way for a couple to share their wedding day with an adored animal. Opt for a wedding photographer who is comfortable capturing animals, and ask a wedding planner to structure creative and compelling shots involving the bride, groom, and polished pet. A pet’s vibrant personality will be an asset to photos – enhancing an album that will be cherished for a lifetime.