Saturday, March 7, 2009

Flower Dogs and Ring Kitties -- Pets in a Wedding

I couldn't help but notice a recent advice column that was approached for advice by a young woman who was being married, and who wanted her long-time companion beagle to be included in her ceremony. Her rationale was that the beagle had been there for her -- and with her -- for almost every important occasion of her life, and the bride-to-be didn't see why she should lock away her best friend on such a big day.

The advice columnist suggested that the bride ask her wedding officiant whether or not he/she would have any objections to the presence of a bridal beagle.

As an officiant with hundreds of weddings behind me, I can say in all honesty that I have seldom had a poodle get tipsy and pass out in the lobby of the hotel right before the pictures were to be taken. Not once has a Persian cat exposed a risque tattoo with her low-cut gown, and I have never, ever had to retrieve a retriever from the back of the altar where he was playing with the matches meant to light the unity candle.

My advice to any couple wanting to include a pet in their wedding ceremony is to ask these questions: 1. Has the fur baby had his or her shots, and is he or she in reasonably good health? 2. Does the fur baby mind crowds, and is he or she friendly? 3. Can somebody else assume complete responsibility for your fur baby after the ceremony, or is there time enough between the wedding and the reception to take the fur baby back home again? 4. And probably most important of all, will the venue you have selected for your wedding permit your fur baby to enter the premises?

If most of your answers are "yes," and I am the one being asked, then this officiant has no objections whatsoever to including Mittens or Rowdy. In fact, almost any pet at all is easier to fold gracefully into a ceremony than a two-year old ringbearer with jet lag, no nap, and a loaded diaper.

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