True-Love Tips for A Woof-tastic Dog Wedding

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Spring has sprung and with it comes the usual flurry of activity as summer brides put the finishing touches on their big day. Did you know that cascading bouquets is one of the top trends this year? That and pastel lips, floral crowns and the color rose are just a few of the crazes you’ll see walking down the aisle.

But not all brides are picking out shoes and sunny honeymoon locales; some are more interested in what’s on the menu for din-dins and whether the flowers are edible! Yes, enter the pooch bride, her posse of puppy patrons and what’s stylin’ for the puptials.

Related: 4 Blissful Tips On How To Include A Dog In Your Wedding

Right off the mark, your girl’s gotta go online. Not only does she need to scope out personal trainers to ensure she has the best bod ever for her special day (and has a good walk-out the day of), but pick up tips on how to muzzle yappers during the ceremony, tell other litter-mates they aren’t invited and ultimately make that big decision – buffet or bowls – when it comes to planning out the reception.

Like their human counterparts, your furry fiancées should plan on setting up their own wedding site, complete with gift registration, and include the URL on all invites. Big trend these days is swapping out the usual chew toys and matching dog bowls for a charity that will be meaningful to all guests – think ASPCA or a local shelter.

Said site should also detail dress-code for the special day.  Are four-legged guests expected to dress up or is it a collar-only event?  Eat in advance or will they be fed at the reception?  Bring a friend or invitation-only?

Related: 6 Fun Ways to Raise Money for Shelters

Let’s talk décor! It just has to be edible. Even the best-behaved guest has been known to chow down on floral displays and props so keep it simple, keep it safe and keep it out of reach wherever possible.

Flowers popular at human weddings but big no-no’s when canines are attending include: calla lilies, baby’s breath, amaryllis, carnations, daisies and English ivy.

Be sure to protect the day before the actual wedding to ensure your pooch has some prep time and a relaxed visit to the groomer. Colorful pawdicures are all the rage and how fun would it be if she could invite her entire entourage to share in this traditionally girly-time event.

Of course every barking bride dreams of being the star of her special day and this includes finding the quintessential dress. Like any bride, your girl has to be comfy in her wedding duds and while tulle just screams “I’m getting hitched”, keep any scratchy fabrics up off the tender bits by opting for a harness version that simply cascades down her back versus wraps around her torso. She’ll be less inclined to spend the afternoon trying to lose the voile and more enthusiastic about socializing with her guests.

Thinking bling? One simply can’t go wrong with a double-strand of pearls secured with a rhinestone clasp. Floral and be-jeweled collars add instant glam and can be worn for future galas and soirees. If you’re opting for a feathered or fake flora version, make sure it doesn’t interfere when it’s time to chow down or get into tender eyes when the running, jumping and rough-housing takes place – and it will!

Note that of recent, some pet parents want to celebrate the union by exchanging matching dog collars versus the usual ring, so decisions will need to be made in advance of any accessory purchases and with input from the groom’s kin.

So you’ve made it through the ceremony and the guests are getting peckish. It’s time to cut the cake – the most highly anticipated moment of the afternoon (keeping in mind no one has been fed prior to the event for obvious reasons…). There are now a number of bakeries that produce canine-friendly cakes (think human grade ingredients such as pumpkin, apple, carrot versus chocolate and no sugars or preservatives) with over-the-top custom designs. Not in the budget? You can go online (Pinterest has a plethora of recipes)and make your own or, if icing and decorating an entire cake is a little daunting, opt for individual pup-cakes made with healthy ingredients and easier (neater!) to dole out to hungry guests.

As with any wedding, it’s all in the details and planning in advance is key.  Establish a budget, work out your invite list, then run with it!

Mary SimpsonMary Simpson is a writer and communications professional. A soft touch for anything stray, she shares her century home with an eclectic collection of rescues that include orange tabby Chico, tuxedo Simon, and jet black Owen.  She enjoys running, politics, exploring the wine regions, and is an avid supporter of the “shop local” movement.