More Pet Parents Taking a Walk Down the Aisle with Their Dogs

Dogs are increasingly playing a more formal role in their pet parents’ “puptials” this wedding season.

Dog parenting, like marriage, is a lifelong commitment.

For some pet parents, no wedding plan would be complete without taking the dog for a walk down the aisle, too. The Wall Street Journal reports that more pet parents are incorporating their best friends into the bow- and meow-vows they make with their life partners.

“They are family,” said Sarah Royer, who, along with fiancé Jonas Koester, is the pet parent to two mixed breed Poodles. “They have to be in the wedding.”

A number of websites advertise all the accessories couples might need to outfit their pooch for the big day, including ring pillows and rhinestone collars. Compared to formal wear for humans, gowns and tuxedos for dogs are relatively inexpensive, with prices starting at about $20.

Colleen Paige of Los Angeles is one of several animal trainers who advertise wedding preparation services online. Her $2,500 charge typically includes training, as well as pet sitting and pet cleanup on the big day. Ms. Paige’s cost goes up for events involving more than one pet or particularly frisky pets.

Wedding planner Nora Sheils, owner of Bridal Bliss in Oregon, concedes that pets can sometimes be a disruption. At one ceremony, she said, a client’s Schnauzer took a chomp out of a wedding guest’s ear. “We had to call an ambulance,” Ms. Sheils said.

Though pets aren’t welcome in all venues, nondenominational minister Annemarie Juhlian of Seattle told Modern Dog they can make someone’s perfect day even better.

“I know children and dogs are considered wild cards at weddings,” Ms. Juhlian said. “But I’m all for it. Dogs seem to have a wonderful calming effect on everyone’s wedding nerves. If they are well trained, they never upstage the bride. When they walk down the aisle, they are usually so pleased to see their favorite people standing waiting for them, their wagging tail and doggie smile simply adds to the joy of the occasion. I’d like to see more dogs in weddings because they make so many people happy.”
 

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