Increasingly, we get the request at the winery to have the couples dog a part of the ceremony- typically as a ring bearer. As a former owner of a wonderful yellow Lab, Cooper, I totally get it. They are sometimes more your family than great Aunt Bess. Our furry friends are usually your "first born" and often a big part of your early days as a couple together.
That said, give it pause (paws) before you get swept up in the idea. If your dog is not used to crowds and prone to excitement (whose isn't) you could run into some unwanted stress.
Ask yourself- Will s/he likely forget their home manners the day of and jump on someone's jeweled gown or leave a slobber trail simply walking by? Will s/he yelp with excitement making the officiant difficult to hear trying to get your attention? Is s/he good on a leash for the procession or will they tug someone down the aisle at hyperspeed? Do you have someone in charge of taking the dog to different location for the reception?
If there are a few unknowns- there are some equally sweet ways to give a nod to your four legged friend (framed photos, table names, donations to a dog-friendly philanthropy as a gift option). Just don't forget Fido with a bit of that filet mignon in a doggie bag at the end of the night.
Photo credit: Anna Kuperberg