Animal lovers are getting their fur babies involved in special occasions such as proposals and weddings
Apple Liu, an outpatient child and family therapist in the US, was surprised to see a picture with a heart and the words “Apple, will you marry my papa?” tied with a red string around the neck of Sapphire,
her beloved cat, on an afternoon in December 2016. “I was very touched,” she said.
As she was reading the tag, Miguel Escobedo, her boyfriend, got on one knee and took out the ring before he asked her if she would marry him.
Even though she would have said yes no matter how he proposed, she was happy that he included her cat in the proposal, because her cat means a lot to her and she treats her like a child.
The idea of including pets in weddings and other special occasions is becoming more popular, with many relevant videos being viewed and uploaded on YouTube. There are many couples, like Liu and Escobedo, who want their pets to play a part in their romance, whether it is a proposal or a wedding.
In order to help pets fulfill their roles during these occasions, here are some stories and tips on how to integrate them into a special moment and create memories to last a lifetime.
A special role
Liu noted that her cat liked Escobedo a lot. She explained that her cat usually hid from people when they came to visit but she came right up to greet Escobedo the first time they met and even jumped on his lap the second time she met him. Escobedo then asked the cat if he could coparent her as her papa and she responded with a meow, so he believed that he got her approval. Liu went on a vacation several days before December 11, 2016, and when she came back from her trip, Escobedo picked her up at the airport When they got home, Sapphire went to Escobedo first, because he was the one who took care of her when Liu was gone. He then picked up the cat and handed it to her. “I did not see the love tag at first but it did not take long for me to notice,” she said. “It was a total sweet surprise.” They would celebrate their union with an outdoor wedding in October. Unfortunately, since Sapphire is scared around most people, she could not actually participate in the
wedding, but they plan to show pictures of her with the proposal tag around her neck.
Although Liu’s cat would not actually be at the wedding, there are those whose pets play a part in the wedding ceremony, like Kaylie and Max Wright.
They got married in Texas in September 2015. When they were planning their wedding ceremony, they knew that Ash, their little Chihuahua, had to play a part in it.
They had been racking their brains about the role Ash could play, and it occurred to them that he could act as a ring bearer, but they had to persuade the hotel to let them bring a dog to the ceremony.
When they were saying their vows, Ash, dressed in a suit, trotted into the ceremony to deliver rings for the couple. “He was so adorable and handsome; all the guests were pretty much melted,” Mrs Wright said.
Some good friends who were present told her that they had never seen anyone include a pet in their wedding ceremony before and it was very special.
She said that creating the special moment came with hard work for them and their pet. In order to get ready for the ceremony, Ash was as busy as the couple was on the big day. He got up and got a bath in the early morning, and was dressed in his suit by 7 am.
A family member
Mrs Wright’s father bought Ash for her as a gift for her fifteenth birthday. Since then, Ash has never left her side. When she was a schoolgirl, she was very shy and did not have many friends, so she had no one to turn to either to share her happiness or to pour out her sadness. Feeling very lonely, she gradually started to talk to Ash everyday after school. It didn’t bother her that he could not understand and talk back to her, and she saw it as an advantage because he would not judge her. “He was such a good listener,” she said. “And as time passed, I began to believe that he could understand me, as if there was a special bond between us, especially when he winked.” She could also trust him with secrets, because he could not tell them to anyone. Whenever she told Ash that she did great on exams, he would always be there to jump up and down to celebrate with her, and whenever she felt down and cried, he would be there to curl up beside her to give her strength.
“He was also the first one who knew about my first crush, and he was there when Max proposed to me,” she said. “Along the way, he has become one of my most loyal friends and dearest brother. I could not imagine him not being by my side on my big day.”
For Lauren Zhang, a 27-year-old HR manager in Guangzhou, Guangdong Province, and her fiancé, Boo Boo, their bulldog, was a witness of their love. They bought him in 2012, and from then on he had been playing a crucial role for both of them.
When they were happy, Boo Boo was there to sniff their necks or feet back and forth to make the atmosphere even sweeter. When they fought, he, with notes or an “I’m sorry” gift tied around his neck or paw, often acted as a messenger to express one’s regret or apology to the other.
When they moved in together in June 2014, Boo Boo followed as the third resident in the apartment and that unveiled the happy life of a family of three.
Every morning when they have breakfast, they also prepare something delicious for him to eat so that they can enjoy the meal together. In the evening, after dinner, the three of them huddle up under a duvet on the sofa to watch their favorite shows on TV. “He is practically like our baby,” she said.
They prepare to get married in the coming summer. As they are planning for their Westernstyle wedding ceremony, they want to involve Boo Boo and are busy discussing all the possible ways, ranging all the way from him being a flower boy to a ring bearer.
Making it happen
Lauren Ma, the marketing manager of a wedding company based in Beijing, noticed that involving pets in romantic occasions, like proposals, wedding photo shoots and wedding ceremonies has become increasingly popular among young couples in recent years.
She advised that couples could incorporate their pets when they propose. For example, pets could wear a ring or a sign saying “Will you marry me?”
She added that it would also be a good idea to include pets in wedding photo shoots if they could not be involved in the wedding ceremony. In this way, both couples and their pets can have their beautiful close-ups, and the photo albums would be a wonderful memory.
According to her, although there are people who do not think pets should be incorporated into wedding ceremonies because of the risks including them peeing or barking, it seems that young people do not care much and that there are lots of ways to help them incorporate their four-legged friends into their big day.
She cited that dogs could often stand in for flower boys or girls. Moreover, they could also be ring bearers, with rings being attached to their collar or fastened to a necklace around their neck.
She said that couples could also dress their pets in a cute hat, bowtie, flower crown or even in a tuxedo, but she said that they should make sure that the accessories fit properly and would not create any discomfort for their pets. “Keep the accessories simple so that they will not pose a choking hazard to pets,” she said.
She suggested that couples should consider their pets’ personality before giving them a role, like whether their pets would enjoy the experience and feel comfortable around the guests.
“There is no guarantee that pets will behave how they are expected,” she said. “Including them in the ceremony takes a little extra work and planning.”
She explained that if the pet would have a specific role in the wedding, it would need to be trained.
For example, if the pet is going to be the ring bearer, the couple could get it used to wearing the things that the ring would be attached to and bring it to the designated person. If possible, the couple could also bring their pet to the wedding venue so that the place would not be completely strange to the pet on the big day.
She recommended that couples hire a pet sitter to guide their pet in order to help it develop a level of comfort around strangers, which most of the guests would be, and to take care of their pet during the ceremony.
She added that if couples decide to let their pets take part in the ceremony, they need to notify the guests beforehand so that anyone who has allergies to pets can plan accordingly. “If the pet is overly outgoing or easily distracted, use a short leash,” she said.
Zhang and her fiancé plan to have an outdoor wedding and let Boo Boo play the part of being the ring bearer at the ceremony. She has started training him for the starring role.
“My ring would be attached to a string that would be tied around Boo Boo’s neck. I will have him start wearing it as soon as possible so he can get used to it,” she said.
“I would not like any glitches; I want my dog present and I also want a perfect wedding.”
Send your tips, insights or photos to email@example.com, or call our news line: +86 10 6536 7512 Address: The Global Times English Edition, 2 Jintai Xilu, Chaoyang District, Beijing 100026. Pets are playing a role in some couples’ romance.
A little extra work and planning are needed if couples want to involve their pets in their wedding ceremony.