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A puppy helps with a proposal! Plus how to involve pets in your wedding ceremony

Published Friday, Feb. 5th, 2021

Cover image of Sophie via KEYTV, credit Kelly Young

The sweet proposal stories are already rolling in as we head towards Valentine’s Day, but a chocolate lab puppy helping with his owner’s proposal is next level. 


The story?


A man in Marysville, Ohio surprised his girlfriend with an adorable new puppy. As she knelt down to hug the little pup, she noticed the tag on its collar was engraved: Will you marry my daddy? (via KEYTV NewsChannel 3-12)


Of course - she said yes! 



Image of Zachary Clark proposing to Autumn, who is holding the puppy in the snow, photo credit Kelly Young


Zachary Clark's proposal to Autumn Henault in the snow, with puppy Sophie .

Photo via Kelly Young, original article: KEYTV NewsChannel 3-12



But fur babies are more than honorary proposal assistants:


Pets are also loveable contributors to your wedding ceremony! 


Whether they’re carrying the rings, decked out in wedding day fashions, or walking you down the aisle, dogs, cats, rabbits, guinea pigs, snakes, and all your other beloved pals can participate in your ceremony -- as long as you keep a few things in mind. 


1. Embrace the unexpected!


Pets are unpredictable, but that’s part of their loveable charm. If making your pet a part of the ceremony is important to you, tell your officiant as early as possible! Whether they're a seasoned pro or a friend, they’ll need plenty of time to plan and prepare for the most successful, pet-inclusive ceremony possible. They may want to meet your pet in advance, and include them in the rehearsal. 


Our advice is to plan for something unexpected to happen. If your pooch is going to be the ring bearer, you’ll have to watch out for squirrels, and make sure he's on a leash. You don’t want guests to scramble after your pet during the ceremony. But remember that the unpredictability is half the fun! Don’t get stressed if it doesn't all go exactly as anticipated, and just go with the flow.



2. Make sure your venue allows animals. 


This one is pretty simple, but a quick call or email in advance can prevent absolute heartbreak -- and a scramble to change the ceremony location or plan at the last minute. 


The reality is that many municipal codes restrict the access of pets at venues where food is being served, and many private venues implement their own restrictions. If you’re determined to have a dog or cat-friendly wedding, make sure that your facility and the rental agreement allow for it.



3. Make sure there’s a designated pet-sitter, and that water and food are on hand. 


Weddings -- especially outdoors in the summer -- can be long and hot affairs, so make sure your pooch (or cat or bunny) is well-fed, hydrated, and taken care of at all times. Since you’re going to be busy, well, getting married, you’ll need to arrange for a friend or family member to pet-sit. Remember, when the big day comes, you don’t want to fumble for a poop bag in your wedding gown… or worse, acquire fresh scratch marks just in time for photos!



We love stories of pets bringing people together - for first dates, proposals, and wedding ceremonies! So keep these sweet stories coming - and congratulations to Zachary, Autumn, and Sophie!


For additional guidance on how to include pets in your wedding ceremony, read 5 Tips for Including Pets in Your Wedding Ceremony.


Updated April 2021


Tell us about it: Have you officiated a wedding with pets? Email us the story!


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Jessica Levey
Jessica Levey

Lead Staff Writer & Illustrator

Jessica loves exploring the history and magic of ritual, the connections between people and places, and sharing true stories about love and commitment. She's an advocate for marriage equality, LGBTQ+ rights, and individuality, and is an ordained Minister with AMM. When she’s not writing or illustrating for AMM, she enjoys city hikes, fantasy novels, comics, and traveling.

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