I don’t know whether you’ve noticed, but lots of us who go to weddings have. Weddings are getting louder and louder. I don’t always stay for receptions, but if I do, I come home hoarse and deafened. I wish the DJs and bands would pay a bit of attention.
So, bringing your dog to your wedding reception is not necessarily an act of kindness. And if you have people who have companion dogs you want to figure out how to make the experience pleasant for them. Part of what you’re doing at a your wedding is providing for each guest’s experience. In a pup’s case (and in the case of grateful fellow attendees) that may mean turning down the PA.
Tip: Really consider if it’s important to have your dog with you at your wedding, whether you want them at the ceremony only where it’s all about your hearts. You may want to go ahead and have your fun without your furry companion. (Sorry Ms. Muttons, I know the grazing at receptions is pretty fabulous!)
This particular article was coming anyway, but was made slightly more urgent by Miss Mutton’s joyful consumption of the chicken breasts on her auntie’s (no her other aunt) counter.
Miss Muttons and her compatriots are joyful ominvores. (One of Muttons’ mottos is “I never met a doughnut I wouldn’t eat.”) So at wedding receptions, should your dog pals be attending, you have to be careful how much food they get to eat and particularly how much sweet food they’re given or they find. Dogs can’t process sugar. So they’ll suffer if allowed unfetttered access to wedding cake. (miss muttons reports to her sorrow that wooden barricades around cakes works to prevent dogs from eating entire confections.)
Tip: It’s great to want your dog at your wedding. You just need to remember that you’re going to be expending a lot of energy and focus on getting married, so someone needs to be looking out for your BFF. She wants to be healthy after the wedding!
This is exactly how relaxed you want a dog at your wedding to feel. This means you need to provide Ms Muttons or her friends the things she needs to be relaxed. It also means you need to avoid the things that make her really uncomfortable.
I did a wedding once where an extremely well-behaved shepherd did ring duty. Unfortunately, for both the dog and the musician, they had added a flute piece very close to the ring exchange. Poor pup put his paws over his ears and howled. Poor musician was in tears. Luckily, this happened during the rehearsal, so they were able to have a Friend of the Dog remove the puppela after the recessional and bring the puppela back in for his job.
It did mean the handler missed the wedding. But the dog had a much better time.
Tip: think carefully about the dog’s likes and dislikes before subjecting them to a wedding. If large crowds bother your dog, it’s not fair to invite them. If certain music irritates, you can’t do both. You need to take good care of your dog and not just consider your own needs. What’s important to you may or may not be important to your dog!
Yesterday, thanks to some prodding to my beloved great-step-niece by marriage, I discussed a common canine responsibility at weddings: ring bearer. Here’s another one: Escort.
At more than one wedding the Chief Dog Friend has waltzed her Person down the aisle. In some ways, this clarifies what’s really true about weddings. Historically, brides were chattel and “given away” by the patriarch to the new head of her family. That’s a bit passé. But a Dog accompanies one of her Persons to the new life with another of her Persons. The Dog goes along. This is a good metaphor for what happens with families. Each Person becomes a member of the other Person’s family. (The Dog, while fiercely loyal to her Persons, is a member of the world family simply by nature and wagging.)
Tip: Demand a new and beautiful leash for this. Only you get to decide if it’s a good thing if that leash is covered in flowers or simply a lovely length of appropriate colored cord. Dogs know when they look silly and when they look gorgeous. Most Dogs will eat their way out of silly. And that’s a good thing!
My dear friend Ms. Mutton Chop wrote to ask me about the role of dogs in weddings. Actually, Muttons, if I may be so familiar, there are many. Particularly if one is as stylish and as relaxed as you are. Continue reading