How I included my Dogs in my Wedding 

 

Yes my dogs walked my down the aisle! Read the article for the full story!

Let me first say, I was never one of those girls that grew up dreaming about a wedding and what kind of wedding I wanted. All I knew was, I wanted my dogs in my wedding.

Luckily I was marring my best friend which made all the crazy wedding planning worth it and the day turned out beautiful. Wedding planning itself wasn’t so bad… it’s mainly the people associated with the wedding lol

So how did I incorporate my dogs in my wedding? First was finding a location that would allow dogs, which luckily here in St. Louis, MO there is the AKC Museum of the Dog! It’s a beautiful, fun place to take your dog to by the way. The wedding ceremony was outdoors and the reception was indoors.

So originally my nieces, who are twins and  who were my flower girls were going to walk the dogs down the aisle. When I first told them they were, they thought I was joking, they were like “Aunt Kim, you’re so silly”, but I was serious! For being 5 years old they surprised me when they were concerned with how they were going to throw the flower pedals and walk the dogs at the same time?

Anyways we did a test run a few months prior to the wedding and it was a mess! They were getting tangled up together, they didn’t throw their pedals and the dogs weren’t cooperating, they thought they were getting kidnapped, well at least Oscar did. Oscar is my brown standard Poodle who is a goofball and a mama’s boy and Leah is my white standard poodle, who is sweet and the princess. They both are very well behaved dogs, they’re mild mannered and socialized because I try and take them everywhere I can that allows dogs, plus Fitness with Fido was created because of them! Even though Oscar has a bit of separation anxiety from me though.

Anyways to plan B, how my dogs ended up walking me down the aisle, which everything ended up working out great. So my Dad was sick with cancer and he wasn’t sure he had enough strength to walk me down the aisle comfortably. Which was fine with me because I knew he was weak and the only reason he made it so long was because he wanted to see me get married, which I’m so glad he did. He later passed about a month after the wedding.

So the flower girls walked down and threw out the pedals, well actually one of the flower girls only threw out half of their flowers and threw out the other half coming back down the aisle.

 

My Dad walked down with my mother and I walked down with Oscar & Leah and met my parents at the end of the aisle, and my dogs gave me away!

 

Oh and of course you have to get your dog’s groomed of course! I actually use to be a dog groomer so I groomed them myself, but definitely make sure you schedule their grooming appointment in advanced to make sure they can look purfect! My dogs don’t really get too dirty or go roll in mud, so if you can do it at least 1-3 days before your wedding, for example my wedding was on a Saturday and I groomed them on Wednesday, it’s less rush & stress for the both of you.

 

Also you have to decide what they want to wear. I kept it pretty simple. I bought white slip leads and bought this white flower garland from Hobby Lobby, then I measured it to their leashes how I wanted and hot glued them on… I did this a few months ahead of time. Then I also bought a little bandana scarf for Oscar to wear that looked like a tuxedo, which had a little red flower that was one of the wedding colors. Then I painted Leah’s nails purple to match the bridesmaid dresses.

Our wedding ceremony & reception were all at the Dog Museum, but we choose to do pictures in between for a couple of hours. One of the reasons for that was to take dogs back home & to take some pictures at home as a married couple. Some people did offer to take the dogs back home, and there’s also the option of wedding pet concierges like Wed Pets, but we wanted some pictures at home with the dogs and with each other anyway. We didn’t want the dogs at the reception because of the food and also so they didn’t get hurt by being stepped on from anybody drinking a little too much or from dancing. Plus it was a long morning, so they were fine sleeping the rest of the night.

Luckily the first wedding van we called said they would allow the dogs on there because the owner was a dog lover and owned a poodle too! Also make sure to bring a water bowl for the day and that they do their “duty” before showtime. 

Rooting Together – Another thing we did at the wedding, instead of a sand ceremony or lighting of candles, was we watered a plant called a “Money Tree”. There were a few reasons we choose this:
1) symbolically it’s associated with good financial fortune 
2) I like gardening & like the idea of the plant growing as we grow. 
3) For something to grow you have to water it, to develop roots & mature.
All of those reasons I felt represented our relationship. Plus it fit the them for an outdoor wedding!

Of course I had to include the dogs in the Save the Dates! The pictures turned out cute, but it was such a cold day out! My crafty sister made the save the date signs. She bought the blank black signs from Hobby Lobby, then painted the info on them for me! For the engagement photos, I had my mom drive separate so we could get the shots with the dogs with the save the date signs, then they went home with her while we finished our engagement photos. Also an important thing, make sure your photographer is comfortable with dogs! That was one of my first questions when I met Lilian with Chameleon Photography, and she was & took such wonderful photos!

 

 

For our wedding favors, we did 2! Which were both DIY and customized. One wedding favor was Jamaican Jerk Sauce. My husband is Jamaican and his family bottled their very own jerk sauce! So we wanted to share mini sample bottles with everyone. They made a big batch of sauce, we bought the bottles, personalized labels from Oriental Trading Company and made them.

The 2nd favor was poodle chocolates! I loved these, but they were a bit of a challenge. First was finding poodle molds, the ones I did find were a little big, but would work. Then we needed a lot of chocolate to fit in them, which took forever to make because we needed close to 200. Then packaging them… let’s say it took about 8 -10 hrs, but they were a hit!
Something else we did different too, was a parent dance! Which was totally decided about 2 weeks before the wedding. Don’t you love when things don’t go accordingly to plan & then you create something even better? So I already knew I was dancing to “She’s a Lady” by Tom Jones with my Dad, but with him being sick, I thought I would dance with both my mom & dad during the dance. Plus I wanted to dance with my mom too because she raised me too.

My husband though had a slightly different situation, he has a mom and a step mom and wasn’t sure how to handle it. He loves them both and wanted to treat them both equally, but that didn’t go as planned and his dance almost got canceled before we came up with the parent dance! Thank you universe!

Which honestly I think was the best thing. Everybody was included, nobody was excluded, and we kept it a surprise so no one could back out. We had them form a circle and we were in the inner circle. I started dancing with my Dad he started with his Mom, then we rotated thru the song with about 30 seconds a piece with each parent and I ended with my mom and he ended with his dad!

Who says you have to go with tradition! Plus that is how new things start! 

It’s your  day, it goes by quickly, so enjoy it! 

Rest in Peace
Patrick J. Flatley
August 30 1954 – October 17, 2017 

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