Rachel and Sheldon were well into their 30’s when they decided to marry, and they wanted a unique wedding. Rather than a ceremony in their synagogue, they chose to tie the knot in a more intimate space, on an open floor in the same building where Rachel lived, in the Chelsea neighborhood of Manhattan. That made it much easier to have their Best Dog at the wedding.
Sheldon had adopted Buckeye, a racing Greyhound rescue, before the couple met. This sweet, long-legged dog had made a place in both their hearts and they loved him dearly. Rachel and Sheldon felt he deserved to be an integral part of their union. “It was such a happy occasion,” Sheldon says. “We couldn’t NOT have our dog in the wedding.”
In this New York loft space, the actual aisle to walk down was created by a parting of the standing guests. The Best Dog was escorted down the aisle by Rachel’s 7-year-old nieces, Allison and Zoe, and 8-year-old little Rachel, who were the flower girls/dog handlers. The Best Dog stood stoically with the wedding party, as only a Greyhound can, behaving himself admirably as the rabbi conducted the ceremony. Midway through, Buckeye decided this was all a bit tiresome. The handsome Best Dog harrumphed and plopped down for a nap. The flower girl charged with keeping a grip on the Greyhound’s collar was forced to kneel down to the floor, and sit there at the dog’s side. It made for a good laugh that only briefly interrupted the ceremony.
It’s becoming more common for pets to attend weddings, and the wedding party pets are not always dogs. Cats get their share of wedding invites, but they are more often in the party as part of the ambiance. Some brides carry their beloved kitty down the aisle in a basket in place of the bridal bouquet. Others have their cat in a decorative crate at the altar, as something beautiful to look at. (And what cat is not perfectly adept at sitting and being admired?)
By far, it seems, the most common pet at a wedding is a dog, and the most common jobs for wedding dogs are ring bearer or flower pup – which makes them unofficially, Best Dog. Pet companies have wasted no time in developing pet specialty wedding items to help out. You can now find doggie tuxedos, special pillows for doggie ring bearers, and even a pull cart that automatically scatters flower pedals as the dog walks down the aisle.
This is still not such a common practice that eyebrows won’t be raised at your wedding, should you decide to include your pet as Best Dog or Cat of Honor. And if you have your heart set on everything being absolutely perfect at your wedding, it’s probably not wise to add the unpredictability of a dog or cat to the mix. But if your pet is a huge part of your life, perhaps what brought you and your beloved together in the first place, then it makes sense to include him. One thing is guaranteed – you’ll have a unique wedding your guests will never forget!