A Big Faux ‘Paw’

These days, Fido and Fluffy are truly part of the family, if things like pet strollers and ice cream for cats is any indication. Heck, if I could get back all the money I’ve spent on my cats over the years, I could probably buy myself a few pieces of Louis Vuitton luggage, but I’d rather have the cats.

And yet, I didn’t invite them to my wedding. I didn’t even consider it. Putting aside for the moment the fact that the cats would not have enjoyed traveling or being on leashes in front of 100 people, there were also the guests to think of. Some people are allergic to cats. Some people might even be afraid of cats. After all, I don’t take my cats to restaurants or the library. In my opinion, cats and fancy functions don’t mix. Dogs in weddings? Also not my cup of tea, even if they can be pretty cute in a coordinating collar.


I’m all for doing almost anything you want at your wedding, whether that means serving a vegan reception meal, wearing a mini dress, or choosing The Call of Cthulhu as your wedding theme. But animals? Really? Besides the potential for causing allergic reactions or fear responses in guests, animals have no shame when it comes to depositing their excrement. They can have an odor, though admittedly not all do. And many, many animals do not appreciate crowds, loud music, or having to sit still for the duration of a wedding ceremony.

Wouldn’t it be kinder to all involved to wait until after you’re married to celebrate with Fido or Fluffy in a manner they might enjoy? Or am I being overly proper here? You tell me.

14 Responses to “A Big Faux ‘Paw’”

  1. Blossom says:

    I went to a wedding where the bride and groomes dog was in the ceremony as one of the groomesmen. He even wore a little suit to match the other groomesmen it was very cute. But the dog did not like walking down the asile (he was more dragged then lead) and then laid with his back to everyone during the ceremony which was funny. But I am with Never teh Bride not something i would ever do in my wedding.

  2. Dogs are not my favorite. When I was looking for a job, reading on the company’s website that employees could bring their dogs to work made me put that company way at the bottom of the list. Last thing I want is a dog jumping on my nice clothes, sticking his nose in my crotch, slobbering, etc.

  3. TeleriB says:

    I can imagine a small, laid-back outdoor wedding, maybe in someone’s backyard, where all the guests have personally met the Pet of Honor at some previous point and it hasn’t been a problem. Particularly, I’m seeing a sweet mid-autumn cookout, with a lot of New England leafy color and a friendly black Lab snuffling around the (fenced-in) area. The barn cats might deign to appear to cadge some burger. Notably, all the guests are robust enough to stand up to an enthusiastic Lab – nobody in this vision is too young or too frail to handle a sudden jump-up.

    But as part of a “standard” church-n-hall affair, with distant relatives, small children, parents’ friends and unknown “and Guest”s all invited, I’d also get a pet-sitter.

  4. HurricaneDeck says:

    I think it depends on the dog! I spent a few months working on “down-stays” with my dog before she was involved in my sister’s wedding (she didn’t have a flowergirl, and thought that my dog would be very cute and enjoy it).

    Lola LOVED it. You could tell that she was very proud to carry the basket and have on her beautiful floral collar. She did well and enjoyed all the activities afterwards.

    That being said, I am a dog trainer and knew she would do it and be well behaved, whereas some of her “siblings” wouldn’t have been right for the job.

    Lola will definately be in my wedding! 🙂

  5. Kristin says:

    I totally would. It would depend on the dog–obviously, a high-strung dog (a beagle or dalmatian seems like a particularly bad candidate) wouldn’t be happy. But if a sweet, chill little pug or two, with dedicated handlers, seemed okay with it, I would have them be ring-bearers. I think the handlers are important; you don’t want a dog running without a leash in a situation with a lot of people, especially people in fancy clothes, and the bride and groom are going to have a lot of other responsibilities. Even a sweet doggie can get overwhelmed, much like a toddler, and need a little nap away from the crowd. Luckily, my boyfriend’s family is 90% hard-core dog people, so I’m sure we’d have an easy time finding volunteers.

    Obviously I’d want to warn people so they could sit farther away from the aisle, and make sure none of my guests was deathly allergic or severely phobic. Hell, I’m allergic to flowers, but I plan to take a Claritin and suck it up on my wedding day; every other person involved in the wedding would be heartbroken if I vetoed the flowers in favor of origami, and I can’t blame them. Flowers are lovely, although I am incapable of being in a room with roses or lilies even when I am medicated.

    But yes. I love dogs. My boyfriend loves dogs. We’ve had to live without dogs so far because of our apartment situation, but we’ve made plans to rescue pugs (hopefully a sibling pair; it’s always hard for those to find a home together) when we move next year. A wedding wouldn’t feel as much like us if our doggies weren’t there. And I can guarantee that the whole of both of our extended families, if given the option to vote between me in a minidress and a pug ringbearer, would veto the minidress and embrace the pug. (Not that I can’t pull off a minidress, mind you, but Nana would have a heart attack.)

  6. Rabrab says:

    I certainly wouldn’t do cats at a wedding, but a well-trained, properly socialized dog at a small wedding with a dedicated handler in a venue that allows animals? Sure. Key-words there are well-trained, properly socialized, small, and dedicated handler.

    Well-trained– he’s not going to be jumping up on people, sniffing crotches, barking, or suddenly deciding to chase a squirrel. Properly socialized means he’s not going to freak out at all the people and lose his manners. Small implies that the guests are all good friends already, and the bride and groom have considered the allergy/phobia thing and deemed it not a problem.

    The dedicated handler is the big one, and the one that can make a huge difference even with a well-trained dog. There needs to be one person who the dog likes and trusts, who’s in charge of making sure that the dog has water, shade or a cool spot, will take him for walkies (with the appropriate baggies) and is willing to bow out and take him home if he starts getting stressed or unhappy. That person has to accept that for the time that the wedding or wedding and reception are going on, the dog comes first for them.

  7. La BellaDonna says:

    Given the provisions suggested by previous posters, I can see that for some folks, especially, having Fido as flowerdog could be both a personal and an important part of the proceedings: one person (preferably a paid professional dog-sitter, rather than someone who is a guest who is nonetheless expected to work throughout the entire day and miss the proceedings, if required) who is dedicated to the care, quiet, water and other handling of the dog(s) who are present, with a way of removing the dog(s) from the vicinity if said dog(s) are tired, afraid, unruly or otherwise unhappy. I do think it would be a courtesy to the guests to let them know that Fido will be present and/or a part of the proceedings, so the folks with allergies, fears, or just not dog people can make informed decisions about attending. I’m not a dog person, myself, but know plenty of folks who would like to share the day with their dogs. A dog of the non-jumping variety would seldom be a problem.

    Cats, now. I love cats. I love them enough to know that most of them would really rather not attend the proceedings; their proper place is to interfere with anything you are trying to get done before or on Teh Big Day, whether it’s chasing ribbons, tearing paper, hiding the buttons which are supposed to be stitched on the wedding dress and which cannot be replaced at any other store in the entire city of Philadelphia (true story!), shedding contrasting fur on the wedding finery, and otherwise getting underfoot. While I do, in fact, have one cat who would love to spend Mommy’s Big Day with Mommy, Mommy would eventually get tired of having to carry him around. Having a fifteen-pound cat velcroed onto you is both fatiguing and … hairy. While having the barn cats amble over to critique the burgers would improve any function I might attend, the true part of a cat or cats in a wedding is to sleep on the heads of the happy couple on the wedding night, and every night thereafter.

  8. I ran your reply by my five cats, La BellaDonna, and they like the way you think!

  9. Kristin says:

    Hee. “Fatiguing and… hairy.” So true. I love cats, too, and used to cat-sit for money; I’m honestly more of a dog person, but I just can’t imagine most of the cats I know being happy at a ceremony, and the one cat who did love to sit in laps more than anything else in the world also smelled awful.

    However, I do think that having a professional dog-handler to take care of one’s pooch during a wedding isn’t always necessary. As a dog person and socially inept occasional wedding guest, I can attest that most weddings bore me senseless and I’d probably rather be taking care of a doggie than having to pay attention through the vows anyway. Especially with the folks I know who go all ultra-religious; they can have as much God as they want to, but the fact remains that it weirds me out considerably when they’re all “and the husband shall be as a father to his bride,” etc. Having a furry distraction would be awesome. And I could be armed with a pocket lint brush! It’d be like a superhero thing!

  10. La BellaDonna says:

    Hah! Glad I please your cats, NtB! At least you can understand why I might spend my time with the four-legged children rather than the two-legged variety! Humans may turn out some lovely children, but I understand the other variety much better!

    Kristie, you can see from the above that I Get It. You DO have an amazing superpower – and there are few occasions that would not be improved by my having a cat in my lap. I get it, I really do! My concern was that people who do NOT prefer to spend the proceedings with the four-legged not get drafted for a task they don’t want, simply because they’re capable of performing it well. Come to think of it, though, I feel the same way about unwilling people getting drafted on ANY occasion merely because they’re capable of handling the job. (And you sound like someone I’d be happy to meet on any social occasion!)

  11. Nik says:

    I am really REALLY allergic to cats, like if someone has been cuddling a cat and hugs me I can be in all sorts of sneezy trouble and I also don’t like them all that much. So if someone had a cat at their wedding I would most likely leave because it would lead to an uncomfortable day/night.
    As for dogs, while I like and am not allergic to dogs I dont want a dog around when I’m dressed in my nice wedding gear, as a guest or the bride. I can understand people LOVE their animals but you don’t have to include everything in your wedding that you love, especially if it could make guests uncomfortable. I LOVE black olives and tons of garlic but as a wedding meal that’s probably not the best meal to serve. The day should be about you to a certain extent but thinking about your guests (who are hopefuly the people you LOVE) is probably a nicer idea 🙂

  12. KT says:

    We have an adorable, 75 pound black Lab, who was about 1.5 years old when we got married. I had threatened to make my sister (the maid of honor) walk her down the aisle, but that was more to terrorize my sister than include the dog.

    We decided that since a very enthusiastic and large puppy was more than we wanted to handle, we included her by framing a lovely picture of her and letting the guests know that, in lieu of favors, we had made a donation in their names to the rescue organization where we’d gotten our dog. Everyone seemed to like it, and I didn’t spend my wedding picking black dog fur off of my nice, white dress!

  13. Kristin says:

    La BellaDonna, I totally see your point–it’s hard to know whether people would be genuinely happy to do that sort of thing, or whether they’d agree out of a sense of obligation. I’d hate to think I was leaning on someone to do something they didn’t want to. I mean, the point of a wedding is to have fun, right? To maximize the fun for everyone? I actually think about that sometimes with respect to various wedding components, and I wonder whether I might unintentionally pressure someone just by asking (my friend the sound technician, for example), and whether there’s any good way to avoid that. If I’m lucky, my future sister-in-law and her fiance (the biggest dog-lovers in the family) will volunteer… and if I’m really, really lucky, my dad won’t refer to any dogs as “giant rats” and tell the story about how he figures he could build a railgun in the back yard and fling huge snowballs at the next-door neighbor’s dog, or, God forbid, the story about Christmas Eve 2006.

    Upon reflection, maybe I should leave the dogs out of it, if only so Dad can tell other stories, like the one about the time he accidentally drank rocket fuel. (Is it sad that I’m not kidding? I think it may be sad.)

  14. Luke Arms says:

    Our pets (a dog and a cat at the time) featured in our wedding programme. There were a couple of photos and the text “Mickey and Gloves regret that they were unable to be here today.” We love our pets to bits but figured that was enough trouble to go to for them 😉