Dog of Honor: Having a Pup in Your Ceremony

If your fur-baby is getting an invitation to your wedding, these helpful tips will keep things from getting hairy.


Photograph by Sherri Barber Photography

Maybe you’ve heard that bringing your beloved fur baby to your wedding is asking for trouble (says your wedding planner, your photographer, your mom, and um, pretty much everyone). And while it’s true that including your pup in the festivities can add some challenges and unpredictability, it might also be a special personal touch. Bottom line: It can be done—as long as you do some proper planning.

First decide what role your pooch should play—and it doesn’t have to be ring bearer. He could also be a greeter, standing with your human friends who are handing out programs. Give him a cute sign to wear that says something like “Welcome to the paw-ty” or “Mommy’s getting married!” Or he could skip the ceremony and just show up for pictures or hang out for the reception, where things are a little less formal. Just make sure your venue is cool with it. During the cake cutting, give him a special doggie treat to make him feel part of the festivities. Maybe even splurge on a day at the doggie spa for special grooming.

But maybe you do want Bingo to be your ring bearer. Well, if you’re going to bark up that tree, make sure he’s a pro at coming when he’s called. (That means start training him, like, yesterday.) If he tends to have a less-than-laser-focused personality, have someone walk him down the aisle on a leash.

Above all, anticipate the unexpected. Remember that despite the fact that he sleeps in your bed and gets haircuts that are pricier than yours, your beloved canine is still an animal. And animals can be unpredictable and don’t understand social etiquette. (Don’t say we didn’t warn you when he starts sniffing up Aunt Gloria’s skirt.) To help troubleshoot any unscripted behavior, assign a helper or two to be your doggie’s date for the day.

Of course, dogs aren’t the only fur babies you might want to invite to your wedding. Maybe your BFF (best furry friend) is a cat, a rabbit, or a horse. No one says they can’t participate, too! Let them don some festive attire—like a bowtie or garland of flowers—and play a role. Riding Black Beauty down the aisle? OK, that might be a little dramatic. But also fabulous.

Doggie Dress-up
You don’t want Fido showing up naked to your wedding celebration. Locally owned Petey’s Pet Stop offers an adorable selection of scarves, collars, bowties, and sweaters. You can even have items custom-made by local artists  to match your wedding colors. 311 Howell Ave., Clifton, (513) 221-7387,

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