He's been your devoted sidekick for as long as you can remember. You've taken long walks on the beach together and have calmed each other's anxieties during the toughest of times. You provided physical, emotional, and financial support to him after he had his leg operated on and he showed you gratitude by meeting you at the door and planting a dozen wet kisses on your face.
Up until this point, he has been your greatest source of comfort and the best friend that you always wished for. With that in mind, it just wouldn't feel right to plan your wedding without him. In fact, following traditions has never been your thing so why not plan your ceremony the way that you want it and include your beloved pal as a best man, or ring bearer?
A number of pet lovers around the world opt to include their furry friends in their nuptials. Pet-friendly hotels and banquet halls around the country work hard to accommodate every member of your wedding party (even those with four legs!). With that in mind, here are a few ways to prepare your dog for what is yet to come:
1. Decide what role you want your pal to play. Base this decision on your pet's breed, age, and temperament. Some dogs are better suited for minor roles while others can play a bigger part in the ceremony.
2. Give your pooch the pampering he or she deserves. A day or two before the ceremony, make a visit to your groomer. Have the dog shampooed (Opie & Dixie's Herbal Shampoo is a great choice, if I may say so myself!) and his or her coat spruced up. Brush the dog thoroughly pre-ceremony to remove dander.
3. Choose what duds your doggie will don. Will a tiny tux or tiara do the trick or something as simple as a bow be more appropriate? Doggie Clothesline offers affordable options to fit any budget.
4. Designate a peacekeeper that can quietly intervene if your pup is being uncooperative. Plan a discreet exit strategy for that person. Give them instructions on how to deal with your misbehaving canine.
5. Do not feed your pet or give him or her access to water before the ceremony. A little accident can do a lot to ruin your big day. No one likes poo on the bottom of their dress shoes... or any other shoes, for that matter!
6. Allow ample time for photographs. Your pet may grow restless and bored prior to meeting up with the photographer. Be patient and allow plenty of time for your wedding party to get filmed. Adjust your doggie's clothing and find a guest who is willing to sit with your pet if he or she becomes unruly.
Marital bliss is one goal you will want to achieve as a couple. Make the transition as smooth as possible for your dog by including him or her in your activities prior to your big day. No matter how large or small the breed, your pet can play a big role in your wedding ceremony or reception as long as you plan for it ahead of time.