If your dog approved of your future spouse, it is only right that your dog be involved in the wedding. Your big day, is their big day too.
Would we have included our dog Cleo in our wedding? Absolutely. She'd have managed the mothers really well.
Including pets in weddings, as the singer Carrie Underwood and the hockey player Mike Fisher did in July 2010, has become just one more way for couples to personalize their weddings. (Ace, their rat terrier, scampered down the aisle in a pink, Swarovski-crystal-encrusted tuxedo.)
In a 2011 study of American weddings, Brides magazine found that nearly 5 percent of brides included a pet in the wedding party, and its editors estimated that nearly double that amount had pets present during the ceremony and/or reception.
Of course, it helps if one chooses a pet-friendly location, as Debbie Parsons and Brad Slayton of Auburn, Wash., did when they married on Feb. 14 in the staging area at the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show in New York. Although Major, the 120-pound black-and-tan ball of fur that typically sleeps next to them, was the only dog in attendance, the barks, yips and growls of others served as background music during their vows.
Mr. Slayton, an instructor at a technical school, said, “He’s a part of the family, so there was never a question” that Major would be at their wedding, planned only a week before by Ms. Parsons, a fuel services executive. “I didn’t think it was very romantic, but then she said, ‘It’s Valentine’s Day.’ I couldn’t argue with that.” And to “make it a real dog day afternoon,” Mr. Slayton said, Major, a Tibetan mastiff, won best of breed at the show.