By Lora Bilton Englehart
W.C. Fields once famously said, “Never work with children or animals.” But, if Daisy is a member of the family and you can’t imagine her not being part of your special day, at least make sure she doesn’t steal the show. Including her will require some thought and planning, so consider the following tips gleaned from wedding planners and couples who have gone before you.
Consider personality—your pet’s and yours.
Is your pet “chill-axed” 24/7? Does she take parties, crowds, music and palpable tension in stride? Consider that pets can get wedding day jitters too. West Chester bride Alison Latta Haccard wanted to include her four beloved dogs in her May wedding but knew it would end in chaos. In the end, she chose Ruby, the most composed of all her German shorthair pointers. All the excitement can be too stressful for you and/or Daisy, and it might be best to leave her home for the day. Maybe asking a pet sitter to bring Daisy for some post ceremony outdoor wedding photos would be a good compromise.
Consider the animal’s role.
You might want to have your pet stand with the groomsmen, walk down the aisle with the flower girl or just sit with the human members of the family. Ruby was a designated bridesmaid and she was accompanied down the aisle by Christopher Miller, the bridesman, and the flower girl Avery Miller. Whatever you choose, make sure your pet, the officiant, the wedding party and your family has been briefed ahead of time.
Consider the venue.
Getting married in a park or the backyard? These scenarios lend themselves to a successful day with furry family members included. For indoor venues such as churches, ask about their pet policies before you make any other plans. If you know ahead of time that the ceremony and reception spaces are not pet-friendly, consider including your pet in your engagement photos. Chrissy (Nurse) Baptiste and Hayden Baptiste of Newark, with their dog Noah, had their engagement photos taken on a snowy day around Old New Castle.
Include in the dress rehearsal.
Bring your pet to the wedding rehearsal to see how she feels and reacts in the setting. Give her a chance to explore every nook and cranny that intrigues her. Remove any items that can be harmful to Daisy-like toxic plants or floor decorations that she might try to eat.
To dress or not to dress?
Again, what will make your pet comfortable? If she doesn’t mind wearing flowers in her hair or a bow tie, then go for it. But if she’s going to be struggling to get out of whatever outfit you pick, it is best to let your pet go au naturel. Ruby wore a lovely pale pink and white peony collar that she managed to slip out of only once, but otherwise enjoyed her princess attire.
This is the No. 1 rule of weddings, in general, and it applies to your pet too. Once you have figured out your pet’s role in your wedding, relax and have the best day ever. Including your pet in your special day should end in a treat for all.