Roles for Dogs in Your Wedding – From Guest to Ring Bearer

Have today’s weddings gone to the dogs? Maybe to some extent…. If you and your four-legged, furry friend are as inseparable as can be, finding a role for your dog in your upcoming wedding may not be a crazy idea at all. After all, dogs are an integral part of our lives and a cherished member of the family. Dogs are there through thick and thin, by your side for most of life’s curveballs, ups and downs.

In modern weddings, couples are opting for more contemporary, sometimes even out-of-the-ordinary options, such as hosting destination weddings instead of traditional ceremonies, wearing more than one wedding gown, and even wearing contrasting, colored wedding shoes under the wedding dress. Alongside trashing a wedding dress for some really edgy wedding photography, does inviting your family pet to the wedding really seem that outlandish?

If you have a wild and crazy canine, you might find it difficult to fit your furry friend into your wedding day plans. You don’t want to get one of your friends or relatives tied up on doggy-sitting detail, so in this case, inviting your pooch pal to the wedding may not be the best move. However, if your dog is well behaved and good in a crowd, you should have much better luck getting your pet dog involved in your wedding day festivities.

Dogs as the Ring Bearer
Dogs very often fit the job description of the ring bearer in a wedding setting. As long as the dog is able to obey basic commands, like “Come,” you should be in business. If your pet responds to gestures and body language, your puppy dog is even better suited to participate in your wedding.

“My pup was the ring bearer,” says Marisa Perry of New York City. “He was fabulous and we could not get married without him there. My husband had his custom suit maker make him a special pouch for his rings, which he wore around his neck.”

“My fiancé and I have a dog named Scooby Doo; he is a shepherd collie mix and will be turning 10 years old in a couple of weeks,” says soon-to-be bride Colleen Wright. “He is a very important part or our lives, so we thought what better way to make our wedding a family affair than to have him as the ring bearer (but of course he will not be really brining the rings down… out of fear they would get lost). He is a very mild mannered, calm dog, but he does not like to be on a leash, so against [our instincts] we are going to have him run down the aisle when my fiancé, Jay, calls him (we are hoping this does not end up in disaster).”

Wright says Scooby Doo will be wearing a black bow tie for the occasion.

“We decided against a doggy tuxedo or harness covered in flowers because he will most likely just try to get it off and ruin it,” she adds. “We are very happy to be able to include him, but it was not easy to get the hotel to agree. We are getting married at an upscale golf resort in Rochester, NY. The venue does not allow pets on an everyday basis. So we were told, after much prodding, that we would be allowed to bring Scooby but he had to be snuck into the hotel (thus, we are going to wrap him in a towel and carry him upstairs – he is a medium sized dog, not real small, so this should be interesting). Then he is supposed to be in a crate the whole time he is in the room (which he will not do well in) and we have to pay a $100 fee for the hotel to clean the room upon departure.”

“I am not too worried about him being in the wedding,” Wright says. “He is a very good dog and listens very well to my fiancé. All and all I think it will be a nice addition, and very special. Plus, his short moment in our wedding will be documented in our wedding pictures for years to come.”

Despite the hassles and hoops to jump through, the ability to include their beloved pooch in the wedding is well worth the cost and potential drama. Having their dog as the ring bearer in the wedding will be a priceless memory for a lifetime to come!

Other Roles for Dogs at a Wedding
While it may be perfectly acceptable in some cases for the bride’s or groom’s (or the couple’s) dog to participate in the wedding, a guest’s dog should not be in attendance… unless of course it’s an extreme circumstance or medical reason, and the bride and groom are privy to the situation, and they are OK with it. One such example is the role of the Seeing Eye dog.

“When my late husband and I were married in 1986, our minister was not sighted, so she had her Seeing Eye dog with her,” says Mary Westheimer. “The ceremony was short and sweet, and its highlight was when the minister stepped on her dog’s tail and he yelped. Talk about unique!”

Finally, the couple’s dog may simply attend the wedding as a guest. Outdoor weddings may be great for doggie guests, but a concern could be the dog getting loose and running off during the wedding ceremony or the reception. Of course, there are typically always pros and cons to every situation, so if you’d like to invite or involve your dog in your wedding day, weigh the pros and cons to ensure you are fully comfortable with the decision and aware of any potential outcomes or consequences.

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