Exchanging rings is not only a symbolic and poignant gesture of two lives merging, it's another opportunity to add a personal, stylish touch to your big day. Having a little one carry a traditional pillow is no longer the only way for your ring to arrive (though, it is hard to elicit the same kind of "oohs and ahhs" a ring bearer inspires when he walks down the aisle).
- Man's Best Friend
If your dog is an essential part of your life, why shouldn't he be in the wedding party?
- Branch-ed Together
In many cultures, the branch is a deep-rooted symbol. Though the exchange of rings is not a tradition in a Greek wedding, having the rings brought out on an olive branch is a great way to put a modern spin on old traditions. The same can be done with a luscious grape vine.
- Under Your Nose
Sometimes the best solution for a ring arrival is no procession at all. There are many creative ways for your rings to rest during the ceremony. If you're having a beach wedding, the rings can sit beautifully in an abalone shell. Using flowers can be a great alternative: pomander balls have the look and feel of a pillow but are a chic way to keep the rings in place.
- Passed Around
For smaller weddings, passing around the rings is a beautiful and intimate gesture. Have your ushers pass the weddings bands around so your guests can touch them, symbolically handing their love and good wishes to you through the passing of the ring.
I particularly like the symbolism of passing the rings around through all the guests. It really illustrates that the couple is part of a supportive community that will be there for them in good times and bad.
We have had lots of ring dogs over the past 12 years. I think we are probably up to about 14 or 15 total. It's always fun to meet our couples' canine friends, and to be honest, they are many times much easier to deal with than tiny children! :) We've had a Bernese Mountain Dog, a Jack Russell Terrier, a Husky, a Keeshond, a Golden Retriever, a Labrador, several Heinz 57's, and most recently, a Chi-Wienie!
We do have a few rules for ring dogs that I would like to share with you. It will make things easier for you, for me, and especially for your doggie.
1. Your puppy dog needs to have some basic training. He must, of course, be well housebroken. He should be able to walk on a leash and be able to sit and stay through the ceremony (if that's what you are going to have him do), You need to think through how you would like to include him in your ceremony and what behavior that will require, then you need to start early on with the required training so that both you and your furry friend are confident on the big day.
2. It helps if your dog is used to crowds of people. Some dogs get all freaked out by lots of people touching them and fawning over them (which is what happens at weddings). Introduce your dog to people BEFORE the day of the wedding. Incidentally, did you know that when someone leans down in front of a dog to pet them them, making straight on eye contact with them, that this is instinctually VERY threatening to a dog? He needs to be accustomed to humans doing this to him, even though his genetics tell him that they are being aggressive, otherwise someone might get bit! And it probably won't be your dog!
3. MOST IMPORTANT: Someone who is NOT a member of the wedding party, or one of the parents, needs to be there JUST FOR YOUR DOG. Obviously, this should be someone who knows your dog and gets along with him. Your dog sitter shouldn't be anyone who has another job on the wedding day (usher etc.) and it shouldn't be anyone who is involved in the formal pictures. This person is going to be there solely for your dog and will take care of him from the time he arrives for the ceremony until after the pictures when this person will take your dog home, or where ever he is going to go (your house, your mom's house, friend's house, etc.) while you all go on in to the reception. The dog cannot be locked in the bride's room, or a car, or anywhere else, for the six hour reception, this just isn't fair to your dog!
Our main concern, when having your pet in your wedding, is that your little friend is happy, and at ease, and taken care of, throughout the ceremony. We want it to be a good experience for everyone. You, your guests, us, and most importantly, your dog!