“Max is a special cat,” says Katie Barnes of the orange tabby she adopted from Pet Helpers
. “He is large (big-boned, not fat) and in charge and makes his presence known. He brings so much joy to our lives just by being his goofy self. Also, he fetches better than most dogs. We dote on him like the crazy cat parents we are, and it shows.” Need proof? On their wedding day last summer, facsimilies of Max made cameos right and left at Katie and her now-husband Scott’s otherwise elegant wedding at The William Aiken House
. Knowing that cats are not amenable to crowds or flower collars, and that, as such, a feline ring bearer was not meant to be, Katie came up with the idea of incorporating a pillow of his face instead, along with a life-sized cardboard cutout version of him. “Max is an integral part of our little family and we couldn’t imagine him not being present on our Big Day.” Got a critter you need to include, too?
Do: Be practical. While dogs and even small pet pigs (we’ve seen ’em) can be at home at a wedding, other pets—cats and ferrets (seen those, too), for instance—don’t do well with crowds and parties. If your animal isn’t up to it, don’t force inclusion.
Find a stand-in. Max the cat showed up via cutouts
. Other options? Work your fur-baby into a crest, the invitations, or other papergoods; include them in a custom cake topper; or display their photo with other family snapshots.
Get a handler on things. Pet nannies like Dog Tired
pet sit your four-legged friend on your Big Day, on-site or remotely, or both. Another option? Assign a family member, someone from the wedding party, or other guests to do the honors. (Keep all pets super-hydrated—and consequently well-walked—during the dog days of summer.)
Do: Have them smile for the camera. Invite Fido or Felix to join you for your couple’s portraits, before or after the ceremony.