Brides- and grooms-to-be, I obviously have come late to the modern wedding scene, but I had no idea how popular it is to have dogs at ceremonies and receptions. When I planned my first wedding several decades ago, I can only envision asking my mother, “Can Brownie be in the bridal party?”
Initially, she would have screamed, “Are you nuts?” In a minute or two she’d have calmed down and realized Brownie was my imaginary dog. I’d made him up because she never let me have a real one. At 18, the age I was to be married, I still had imaginary friends. Obviously, my immaturity doomed the marriage from the start.
However, a dog at a wedding party was unheard of back then, even an imaginary one. But now, Max the mastiff, in his “quality satin fabric tuxedo that fits with a white snap around the neck, plus a satin black bow tie at the top with festive trim and three formal buttons” (available on Etsy), is as much a part of the modern wedding as the table of people you’ve never met but had to invite because they’re your mother’s mahjong group.
I have nothing against dogs in bridal parties. They’d probably act better than the little flower girl at one wedding I attended. This child decided not to walk down the aisle at the last minute. She threw herself on the floor and screamed obscenities as if she were the girl with the whirling head in ‘The Exorcist.”
Yes, young children can cause calamities, but, in my opinion, those considering a canine as part of the ceremony might want to think a few things through, too. What if perfect Max the mastiff is not a hypoallergenic dog, and Very Old Max, the uncle with the aging immune system, is sitting near the aisle. Max the dog walks by just fine, but Max the uncle drops dead from an undiagnosed, dog-related allergy? It could ruin your day.
As for a canine as your flower girl, if you are considering Bella the bulldog, the website ColinCowieWeddings.com suggests, “She can carry a bouquet of flowers or basket of petals in her mouth. Just try to avoid flowers toxic to dogs, such as hydrangeas and azaleas.”
You think Old Uncle Max dropping dead as ruining the wedding? Your beloved pet’s demise would be so, so much worse.
Also, make sure your dog really likes dressing up. You don’t want Max or Bella rolling around, trying to get naked in front of 200 guests. Although, better it be Max the dog than Max the uncle.
Last, I know it goes against every pet lover’s dream wedding day, but canines probably should not be at the reception, unless of course your male Great Dane can waltz. Say, for example, your dad has run off with his secretary, is serving time or refused to pay for your nuptials. In one of those cases, you might want to have that daddy/daughter dance with your dog, providing he is indeed a large breed. A bride waltzing with a teacup Shih Tzu might look as if she has lost her mind and is dancing by herself while the DJ is playing Luther Vandross’ “Dancing With My Father.”
Overall, I wish you a doggone great wedding, dog gone or dog there!
Judi Veoukas is an award- winning columnist and writes from her home in Lake Villa.