Including Pets in the Wedding

Your Furry Friends

As many couples consider their pets "part of their family" pets are being included in weddings like never before. In particular, dogs are playing a staring role in the wedding ceremony. Any pet, such as your feline or feathered friend, can be included in your special day (and can be a great addition on St. Francis of Asissi day).

If a pet is included in a wedding it's normally a dog. Why? Probably because dogs can be trained to perform certain tasks or even tricks. As any cat owner will tell you cats consider performing tricks beneath them! It is this independent (and unpredictable) nature that makes including a cat in your wedding more difficult - but not impossible. A dog can be trained to obey certain commands making their inclusion in the wedding ceremony that much easier.

Including your dog in your wedding can be as simple as leading him up the aisle on a leash (that matches the wedding colors of course) or acting as the flower girl or ring bearer. Instead of tossing flower petals (which only special dogs can do) your canine friend can carry a basket of flowers in his mouth. Or acting as a ring bearer the dog can carry a basket containing the rings or even a cushion can be attached to the dog's collar. If the dog is a smaller breed attaching the cushion to a harness on his back would also work. Once his duties have been completed the dog can either remain with the wedding party during the ceremony (if very well behaved) or discreetly taken outside.

The most important aspect to consider when including your dog in your wedding is his obedience level. A dog that has yet to master simple commands such as "sit" and "stay" may not be ready for a role in your wedding. Also, if your furry friend tends to be on the barky side then it may be best to leave him at home.

As for including your feline friend if kitty can't be walked on a leash, consider carrying her in a decorative basket. If she's likely to jump out decorate her pet carrier and simply carry her in it up the aisle.

You can also include your pet bird in your wedding. Larger birds such as macaw parrots or cockatoos can simply be carried up the aisle on their perch. If your bird is prone to sudden bursts of flight attach Polly to her perch with a simple ankle leash. If your bird can talk train her to say a word or two during the ceremony. This could a simple "Hello!" or a humorous "You may now kiss the bride!"

Before you get too involved in planning your pet's role discuss it with your wedding officiant and the wedding party. Some churches won't allow animals and a wedding party member may be severely allergic to animals. If you're unable to include your pet in your wedding a simple alternative is to include their picture at the reception - that way they're present in spirit!

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