Man this post sure is full of snooty pants! This sounds fantastic, OP! I wouldn’t put her in a dress, for sure, maybe a collar and harness in the same color as the dresses though, and a cute matching hankerchief with flowers tucked in. 🙂
Someone above said they’d be insulted to be on “the same level” as someone’s beloved dog? To hell with that I’d be HONORED. I’ve had incredible relationships with pets, often better than people, and if someone’s awesome, well-loved dog was standing next to me in a bridal party I’d feel happy.
TONS of people put their dogs in their weddings, it happens all the time and nothing bad occurs. 😀 Not all dogs hate crowds or loud stuff — mine’s a city dog, happy and confident in busy areas, and he’s only 8 pounds! And when it’s thundering or I make a sudden loud noise, he runs over, tail wagging, to check it out, not runs away. Just an example.
Tips (this post gets LONG here, but I’ve have some eduation and experience here, so it might be helpful.)
-Consider your dog’s temperament. Does she like meeting new people? Does she stay calm? If she gets a little hyper, practice being around new people at a dog park or dog-friendly outdoor concert or somthing. Take her to an outdoor area that you know will be crowded and busy and do it a couple times a week until the wedding. Get her used to the feeling of being surrounded by loud, happy people. (If she is fearful, it might be too much work, but if she’s already chill, it should be easy!)
-Make her fall in love with whoever will be her walker-down-the-aisle. I assume they already know her. Get them in the same place, preferably for a walk, at least once a week, have them order her around and give her lots of treats, etc.
-Rehearse the walk ON SITE if possible. Do it several times. Have someone standing nearby clapping, shouting, blowing a vuvuzela, you get me. Once she gets the idea, try your hardest to distract her and give her a million treats and kisses when she ignores the distractions or reacts calmly.
-If there will be kids in/around your wedding, make sure she and they are prepared beforehand. (How is she with kids?)
-On the day of, you need a main handler and at least one backup who understand they are responsible for the dog and exactly what they are expected to do. You may even want to hire a dog walker for post-ceremony care as the backup handler to relieve you of stress — it’s a very low expense for one day and TOTALLY worth it to know you’re not inconveniencing anyone and someone’s got her well in hand.
-You, your FH, or your main handler should take your dog for a LONG run before the ceremony. As long and hard as possible, add weights (they sell doggie weight backpacks) if you can, basically tire her out as much as you can. Feed her breakfast early in the day and delay the next meal until AFTER the wedding. Get her to poo and pee as close beforehand as possible (if she’s already peed, recently, pee her again!) so even if she WANTS to go, she won’t.
-As added insurance, consider buying a dog calming treat like Bach’s Rescue Remedy for Dogs is excellent. You drip a little of the liquid on a biscuit and feed it to them, it’s inexpensive, 100% safe and natural, it doesn’t zonk them out, just soothe them a little. (It’s similar to a human drinking chamomile tea to relax.) Just test it out before the big day to ensure she likes it and the effect is a good one for her.
I know lots of dogs who’d handle this with grace and aplomb and enjoy every minute. Dogs, especially ones like labs, were bred to serve and work for us, and as long as they’re well-prepped, a task like this should be no sweat to a trained lab! I bet your dog can make a wonderful bridesmaid, good luck!