A new relationship with animals, nature and each other.

When Rover Is the Ring Bearer

More and more, pets are part of wedding ceremonies

Photo from DesignerDudsforDogs.com

It’s the season for weddings, and Fido is no longer staying at home on the big day. Pets aren’t just guests at weddings; they’re part of the ceremony.

“With wedding season here, now is the time to finalize your guest list,” says Heidi Ganahl, CEO and Founder of Camp Bow Wow, a doggy daycare and pet services business. “To answer the increasing popularity of pet-friendly ceremonies, a variety of businesses, retailers and planners are now offering new products and services to satisfy the demands of pet-lovers everywhere.”

The popularity of having pets at wedding has spawned a whole new industry, starting with formal wear for the furry ring bearer, best man and/or maids of honor.

Doggie Clothesline advertises that “If you’re looking for pet formal wear, Doggie Clothesline has a variety of dog tuxedos and dresses available, many of which are under $50.”

Check out this doggie tux, for example:

Camp Bow-Wow offers various tips on including pets at weddings.

Are pets allowed? Many churches and other facilities only allow service dogs. Outdoor wedding are a better alternative, just generally, for dogs.

Have a rehearsal: Before the wedding, take your pup to the location so he’s well acquainted with the area. Have him practice walking down the aisle and reward him with a treat.

A doggy makeover: A fresh bath and a trip to the groomer is a prerequisite before the wedding.

Dress for the event: Everyone in your wedding party will be dressed up — so should Fido! Consider buying a dog collar and leash that match your bridesmaids’ dresses or a cute little bow tie to go with the groomsmen. This will make your wedding party more uniform.

Energizer puppy: Take your dog for a long walk or run before the ceremony. Unless you have a generally laid-back dog, it may not be wise for him to walk down the aisle.

Stage fright: If your pet is nervous around strangers, don’t drop her into the middle of an event that’s full of unfamiliar, excited humans.

Allergies: Be aware that some guests may have pet allergies. Let all guests know ahead of time if you’re planning to have pets present.

Doggy chaperone: Don’t leave your pet unattended. Have a designated dog-minder whom she knows.

Doggy buffet: Have dog food handy at the reception, along with fresh water.

Let them eat (dog) cake: Don’t feed wedding cake to non-humans. Instead, get your canine participants their own special cake alternative.

We’d only add a reminder to any insecure bride who wants to be the center of attention on her big day: As any stage or screen celebrity will tell you, don’t waste your time and energy trying to compete with children or animals. They always steal the show.