(Family Features) For couples planning a wedding, there is greater opportunity than ever to weave personal elements into every aspect of the big day. Many traditional “rules” of wedding planning have given way to let couples celebrate as they see fit – even including their four-legged family members and inviting guests to do the same.
Whether you’re a bride whose furry friend will play a leading role in the festivities, or a guest bringing your pooch along for the party, these tips from the pet experts at PetSmart will help ensure your canine companions join the celebration in comfort and style.
Put your pet to work. Think ahead about how your pet will participate in the fun: as a member of the wedding party, perhaps as ring bearer or flower girl? Give your pet a rehearsal run to be sure she’s up for the task.
Choose a fur kid-friendly venue. If pets are welcome, make sure they’ll also be safe. For instance, avoid freshly fertilized lawns and plants, as well as flowers that are toxic to pets. Find out where your fur babies can go and where they need to be on a leash. If possible, give your pet a few sneak peeks of the location.
Don’t make pets suffer for fashion. Skip the puppy couture version of a tight pair of shoes or an itchy shirt tag, and choose a stylish pup-friendly ensemble instead. Made of lightweight, breathable materials, each piece of the Martha Stewart Pets® wedding collection for dogs features timeless design elements, simple color palettes and complementary accessories such as collars and leashes to help ensure your pooch puts her best foot forward. The limited-edition line of dapper, sweet and sophisticated wedding attire, including elegant tuxedos to bow-adorned dresses, is available at www.petsmart.com and PetSmart stores. Remember, a “dress rehearsal” can help you make sure your fur kids can sit and stay comfortably in their wedding day attire.
Pamper your pet. Now is not the time to skimp on pampering. From lush, oxygen-infused baths to haircuts fit for a show dog, nail trims to non-toxic chalking and decorative stenciling, let a groomer take the lead on your pet’s look for the big day.
Keep everyone fed. Make sure your four-legged friends have more than table scraps to nosh on during the reception. Serve food in a portable bowl and bring treats, too. In case one of the guests can’t resist helping Fido sneak a snack, be sure the human menu doesn’t contain anything that’s harmful to pets. Provide plenty of fresh water, and if the venue is outdoors, use a large block of ice to keep your canine’s water cool all day.
Make sure your fur kid is the party type. Before committing your pet to a vibrant celebration, be sure he’s comfortable with commotion, loud music, crowds and strangers. Consider signing up for a training class beforehand; brushing up on your pet’s best behavior can only enhance the day.
Assign a chaperone. If you have a leading role in the big day as the bride or a member of the wedding party, recruit a staff or family member to double as your pet’s dedicated chaperone. Arm them with a pooper scooper and pick up bags. Help create a quiet, safe space for the chaperone to guide your pet away from the excitement if it becomes overwhelming.