Pet Friendly Weddings

Are you considering having your pet in your wedding? Let me reassure you, there is nothing with having pets involved in your wedding. Dressing  dogs in tuxedos and tulle is completely adorable – even though I’m not sure I get it. Are the dogs getting married, too? Having cats and or dogs part of the ceremony is not a brand new concept but it is one that  sparks controversy and rolling eyes everywhere. Just remember; you are entitled to invite or include anyone you want (canine, feline or human) , as long as you both agree.

This is your wedding, if you both decide you want your pet in your wedding, you can do so with great style and good taste. There are a few things you can do to reduce stress:

1) Make sure your pet does well around strangers. All you need is for your dog to bare his teeth to one guest and the party is over.

2) Hire someone to handle the dog before,  during and immediately after the ceremony since you will have other obligations and things to do. You cannot be chasing a pet around the church or picking up poo in your bridal gown.

3) Make sure the pet is groomed immediately before the event, including a good teeth cleaning. Dog breath can be pretty bad.

4) After the ceremony, make sure the pet is taken home right away. Although the ceremony may be okay, the reception is no place for any kind of animal UNLESS it is your home and your own backyard. They still might find themselves under foot so keep your eye on the cake table and always have a back up plan.

5) Make sure you discuss the pet with all of your vendors, especially the photographer so they will know there may be extra work involved. If your pastor or officiant is allergic to dogs and you have a dog at the altar, this could be a bad thing.

Last but not least, consider your pet’s feelings. If this an animal that handles attention well, is obedient, and can handle some extra responsibility, move ahead. If your pet is easily frightened, does not walk on a leash well, has too much energy, slobbers all over the place, sheds like crazy or has not had proper obedience training, you may want to leave them at home or with someone who can watch them for the entire day.

-Penny Frulla for Bridal Expo Chicago


Pets and Peeves – Unusual weddings

Your wedding day is just that …YOUR wedding day. There will always be disagreements about seating, food, and who pays for what. But, when you decide to have truly unusual wedding you can just about bet that you will be defending this decision for a long time.

Weddings have become less about staunch traditions and more about couples’ expressing their love and commitment in their own unique way. At one time, only the ultra-wealthy could afford personalized items such as match book covers, napkins, wine bottles and favors. Now these items are readily available to the masses and are quite affordable no matter what your budget is. It seems that isn’t good enough for some couples and they need to go a step further.  Exchanging vows in the air, on horseback, while skiing or underwater, these are some of the ways that  modern couples choose to exchange vows. I respect their individuality and creativity but, I have to admit I think it is a colossal mistake. Mostly because there are so many other ways to incorporate your love of a particular sport or venue or pet than to make them part of the actual wedding but also because there is nothing more romantic than declaring your love for one another in a beautiful, quiet setting whether alone or with your closest family and friends. It is a humbling experience and (for me) doesn’t need to be a side show.

Worst wedding peeves:

Pets in weddings-  Maybe you met  while walking your dogs in Grant Park and feel like they are the sole reason you are together so you want them to share your big day. Newsflash: Your dog would rather stay at home and watch squirrels. Experienced dog handlers will tell you that your pet is most comfortable in his or her surroundings, not overcome by rules and regulations in an unfamiliar setting. Does the venue allow pets? What will happen to the pet after the ceremony? Have you hired a handler or trainer in case there is a mishap? Do you need the added stress of worrying about all this? God forbid it rains and you have to worry about muddy paws on your designer gown….and the list goes on.  My advice : leave your pets at home and hire someone to take care of them for the long day ahead. Dont even get me started on exotic animals …. or cats. Where does it end?

Over the top themes- Having a hobby or a favorite tv show or movie is fun. Having a Star Wars wedding is just plain weird. Do you really want grandma to have to dress up as wookie? Save this for your future child’s second grade  birthday party and then do it up right, for people who appreciate it – 8 year olds. Ditto  for Goth, vampire, renaissance and all other movie trends.

Bizarre locations – If you get married underwater and no one can hear you exchange vows, are you really married? Getting married on horseback looks great in movies but in reality there can be logistical problems. Horses are notorious for relieving themselves at any time, anywhere. Will the officiant have to speak loudly so you can hear him over a horse urinating ? Are you an experienced enough rider to handle a horse that gets spooked by yards of veiling? Getting married at a baseball field, retail store, public bus, in a tree, elevator or the Grand Canyon is not going to make your wedding more memorable or special. What makes it special is you and your love for one another.

Just for a moment think about how a compromise might stir it up without over-stirring:

Incorporate these things into your engagement photos, table decor or favors. You met while scuba diving in Aruba? How about turning your reception into a tropical paradise and incorporating the scuba theme  throughout? How about showing your love for your pet by having his or her picture on the guest book cover, or emblazoned on cookies at the sweet table?

Ultimately it is up to the bride and groom to decide what suits them. But, if you decide that your bridesmaids will all wear camouflage dresses and army boots, expect a rebuttal from me and some very odd stares.

-Penny Frulla for Bridal Expo Chicago