Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Four-legged Flower Girl – Guide to including your pup in the ceremony

Some couples are so close to their canine children that they cannot imagine getting married without them. It’s not uncommon these days for a dog to play at least some role in a couple’s wedding, ranging from a simple appearance in the photos to a stroll down the aisle with the rest of the wedding party.

My boyfriend jokingly mentioned having our Chihuahua, Coco, walk down the aisle at our wedding. The images that immediately came to mind: Coco growling and attaching himself by the teeth to my granddad’s leg, barking and scaring the children, or forgetting his intense potty-training midway down the aisle. Not going to happen.

But, especially here in the south, Labs, Retrievers, and other larger or friendlier dogs are prevalent. These breeds are much better suited for the aisle than my little Chihuahua! If you are planning to have your big (or little) pup be a part of your wedding, there are a few things to keep in mind:

• Make sure that your venue is dog-friendly. This seems obvious, but it’s always best to be certain and to alert the venue ahead of time. Dogs are typically better suited for outdoor ceremonies, but if you must have your pup at your church wedding, you wouldn’t be the first.
• Check and re-check that no one in your wedding party or who will be near your dog is allergic. This could cause a nightmare of sneezing and wheezing during the ceremony!
• If there are going to be children in your wedding, make sure that they will not be spooked by your dog, or that the dog will not be spooked by them. You can practice and test this by setting up a play date between the two!
• It’s always best to keep your dog on a leash during the ceremony, just in case. Even the most strictly trained dog may become overwhelmed by his love for you two and charge the altar!
• Create a plan detailing what the dog will be doing, who will be responsible for watching him, and how he will arrive and leave. You don’t want the constant worry of his whereabouts or whether he is behaving. And the last thing you want to be doing on your special day is taking him out for a potty break in your white dress!

Take it from Jennifer Aniston in “He’s Just Not That Into You”—a dog can be a great walking partner.


  1. I have a rather big and tall brown lab, I can't imaging him walking down the aisle! The idea's really cute though, plus seeing cute little doggies in ring bearer or flower girl costumes would be so nice :) Thanks for the tips!

  2. This is so cute, I would have done it!