A Bride’s Best Friend

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Your parents will escort you, friends and relatives will support you, and on the biggest day of your life, consider incorporating another important family member: your beloved pet!

Assigning Rufus the role of ring bearer and allowing your fur baby to attend the ceremony and/or reception is a big decision. It requires a little extra planning and a lot of practice, but the end result and the adorable photos are definitely worth finding a place for your pet on your big day.

First Things Fur-st
Before you start shopping for your pet’s matching suit or a color-scheme-clad collar, make sure that your venue allows pets on the premises. Communicate with the venue manager to confirm details regarding when and where your pet can roam. Once you have confirmation, the next step is contemplating whether your pet’s behavior is acceptable for a wedding. Does your dog enjoy being around people of all ages?

Does he show any signs of aggression? How does he react in environments outside of his comfort zone? Brides have enough responsibility and emotion to handle; adding an anxious pet to the mix is cause for concern. If your pet is relaxed in social settings, outgoing and obedient, the next step is ensuring they’re properly cared for during your nuptials.

Designating A Helpful Handler
On the most important day of your life, you will be focused on reciting your vows, enjoying your first dance and celebrating your new last name. Keeping track of the last time your dog went to bathroom is not at the top of any bride’s to-do list. Many couples opt to ask a close family member or friend to oversee their pet, but Jacqueline Rivera-Patella, CEO of Pawfect Day in New York City, emphasizes the importance of hiring a professional pet sitter to ensure your pet’s safety and your sanity throughout the day.

“Your family and friends will want to take part in this joyous celebration and watching your pet may limit this,” Jacqueline advises. “A professional dog walker will care for your dog before and after the ceremony while you focus on your hair and makeup.” Jacqueline founded Pawfect Day in 2008 and added the wedding pet sitting service when planning her own nuptials. Her wedding wouldn’t have been complete without her fur child, Eddie. “I realized professional pet wedding services were not available in my area, and I knew I couldn’t be the only one who wanted a ‘pawfect’ wedding, so I made it happen.”

Pawfect Day’s wedding sitter service includes roundtrip car service, bowtie rental, feedings, playtime, freshening up, walks, consultation and timeline review. “A professional will be relaxed, handle your pooch in a calm manner and pay close attention to exercise, feeding, watering, grooming and attention,” Jacqueline said. She explained that a professional’s thoroughness, such as avoiding areas with loud music or constant crowding as well as ensuring that well-intentioned guests aren’t giving your pet a piece of wedding cake, is crucial. Clients also have the option of having Buddy chauffeured home if he’s ready to call it a night.

Pawsitive Preparation
Choosing the right handler is just one part of the pet planning process. The other part is providing all the necessary items to keep your pet safe and entertained. The basics include: two servings of food, treats, bowls, water bottles, toys, an extra leash, pet waste bags, wipes and veterinary information. Before you settle on a mini version of the groom’s suit, try a few different attire options to determine what makes your pet most comfortable.

Bowtie-collars, faux-tuxedo harnesses or a simple leash and collar combo are all easy ways to help Fido look and feel his best. Have your pup try on their wedding day duds a few times before the big day so they feel comfortable wearing them during the event. Give them treats during their fittings to help them associate the attire with good behavior.

Sit. Stay.
It may be hard to believe, but your dog might just prefer lounging on the couch in the comfort of her own home to attending your wedding. Don’t take it personally, but do consider what’s best for your pet. If you forgo having Spot trot down the aisle or greet guests at the reception, there are still many other ways to incorporate your love for her into the wedding day details.

Use photos of your pets as table numbers, pay homage with customized cake toppers, or send guests home with dog treat bags in honor of your beloved pup. Whether they enjoy the day by your side or celebrate from afar, you can always count on them for an enthusiastic, tail-wagging welcome home as husband and wife.

Sources: pawfectday.com and the experience of the author.