Weddings are family affairs, so why not involve your favorite family member – your pet. Chances are that Max was around when you said “YES!”, has comforted you when the planning became stressful, and even threatened the mail man when your favors didn’t arrive on time. So it is only fitting that he is present at the wedding.
At the onset, consider whether or not your pet is ready to play a role in the wedding.Pets with friendly or calm temperaments and who are well behaved are welcomed bridal party additions. Dogs are a wonderful example – if your dog is well socialized, obedient, and friendly then he will be a hit at the wedding. If you are worried about your pet stealing food, becoming overwhelmed with a large crowd, or if the pet doesn’t like children, then it would be best to send your pet to a weekend retreat.
For pets that make the cut, determine what their roles will be. Dogs are wonderful ring bearers with or without someone walking them down the aisle. They also are great greeters at cocktail hour or the host for any outdoor activities (think lawn games or beach bonfires). Cats are better suited as special guests at the family photo session, as they are less likely to perform positively when under pressure. Either way, if you would like your pet at the wedding, take the time to practice in the weeks and months before the event.
* Pet Attendant
Plan to ask someone special to accompany your pet as long as the pet is at the wedding. This person is best suited to attend to your pets needs, provide any and all walks, treats, or a quick exit if necessary. A pet attendant is taking on extra responsibilities, just like your ushers, and should be acknowledged for the extra work.
* A Quiet Retreat
Identify a place for your pet to go once his/her responsibilities have been completed. A room away from all of the activity is best – once your pet is ready this will give them a place to relax without being over stimulated. It is also the best place for pets during the reception, so guests are not tempted to feed them table scraps.
* Pet Kit
Prepare any necessary items for your pet and make sure everything is easily portable. Food, water, treats, toys, and the appropriate bathroom elements are important for making both you and your pet comfortable.
* Work with your Venue and Vendors
Each venue has its own rules about pets, so ask for the details early in the planning stages. And any vendors who will be with your pet – photographer, officiant, wedding planner, caterer – should be aware of your plans. Let your vendors know early, so any problems can be discussed and resolved.
* Dressed to Impress
Make an appointment for your pet to visit the groomer before the wedding. With a shiny coat and wedding day accessory he will be ready for his time in the spotlight. Test any new collar, floral collar, or outfit in advance of the big day – if your pet reacts negatively to any specific element of his wedding attire there will be time to make changes.
Alden Blair Events is a boutique wedding planning firm available for weddings throughout New England
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