Illustration by Stephanie K. Birdsong
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Since You Asked: Pets at a Wedding?

Want to bring any four-legged friends? We've got a solution for you.

Q: We love our dog and would like him to participate in our ceremony. Do you have any advice on pet etiquette at weddings, and the
role our dog might play in our special day?

—Marianne K.

A: You’re definitely not alone—about 71 percent of LGBT adults are pet owners, compared with 63 percent of the general population. And many same-sex couples think of their pets as surrogate children. We asked renowned LGBTQ wedding-planning guru Bernadette Smith, founder and president of 14 Stories and the Gay Wedding Institute, for guidance:

“Congratulations to you! For many same-sex couples, their dog is part of the family and should naturally be at the wedding. In our experience, most venues only allow dogs at the ceremony because of health-department regulations regarding animals at receptions with food. We’ve seen dogs walk down the aisle with the couple, but most often she or he is escorted by a close friend who walks the dog down the aisle and then sits in the front row. This makes for a great photo op! The couple’s four-legged friend then leaves during cocktail hour, either up to a hotel room or off to a boarding facility. I once brought a client’s dog, Rudy, down to an awaiting taxi that then brought him to a pet hotel so the grooms could go directly off on their honeymoon the next morning. As an honored guest, just make sure you give your dog the appropriate accoutrements, which may be a bow tie collar, lei, or something similarly stylish.“