WASHINGTON -- Of course you want your best friends at your wedding - so what if they bark?
"Whatever the plans were going to be, Egon -- he had to be involved."
Robert Leonard of Alexandria is referring to his pug, Dr. Egon Spengler. Named for Harold Ramis' character in Ghostbusters, he was first set to be the ring bearer.
"But he's not stable enough for that, " laughed Leonard. "He would just run around and climb on someone's leg."
So, Egon became the head usher.
More and more couples are having their pets participate in their weddings.
"We have thousands of wedding postings on our site and we see pets in weddings all the time," says Jamie Miles, editor of the wedding website The Knot. "So I can definitely speak to you of it being a trend and on the rise."
Virginia Lawyer Joe Shannon says he and his fiancée Ellen Face are the epitome of dog people.
"When we are looking at vacations somewhere, then we are looking at a place that is dog friendly so we can take him."
When planning their July wedding, there was no doubt 9-year-old rescue dog Mason would be part of it.
New Jersey couple Lisa Blaskewicz and Michele Cumberland had both their dogs at their backyard family wedding in April of this year.
"The dogs are part of our family," Blaskewcz said of Indigo and Bronco, who sported matching bow ties.
Miles advises making sure the venue is dog friendly first before planning the event -- and do practice runs to make sure they're familiar with their territory.
Wedding planner Sandy Malone, from TLC's Wedding Island reality show says, "We are getting more and more requests for help including people's pets into weddings."
Her experiences have provided strong opinions as to what not to do when pets are involved.
If the dog's a ring bearer, Malone advises not putting the real rings on his back, especially at a beach. They could fall off and get lost in the sand or water.
She also cautions that doves may be a lovely symbol to incorporate into the wedding, but "After the birds were released at one ceremony, they sat in a tree and pooped on the wedding table."
And don't get Malone started with horses.
Ashley Frazier, who gets married Saturday at Longview Gallery in the District, will have her dogs Penelope, the Boston terrier, and Gatsby, the French bulldog walking down the aisle.
"I love them. They are like my furry children," she says. Gatsby will even wear a GoPro camera on his back to record "his perspective of the wedding."
There is no hesitation for many couples in having their dogs at the wedding.
Says Frazier, "It just wouldn't feel complete that day without them there."
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