Hilary Fannin: No wedding is complete without a dog at the top table

If you really want your wedding to be on-trend, you should factor in a canine ring-bearer or a doggy usher. Apparently

“Is there anything more adorable than a dog in a tux?” Photograph: iStock

“Is there anything more adorable than a dog in a tux?” Photograph: iStock

 

I suspect it’s wedding season – or maybe it isn’t. The fact that I stumbled upon two weddings in one day, neither of which I was invited to (fair enough, given that I don’t know the participants), does not a season make.

Still, it certainly looks like wedding season out there – unless, that is, you’re in North Korea. Apparently, Kim Jong-un has banned weddings and funerals in Pyongyang as the city goes into lockdown for a once-in-a-generation party congress. This will presumably come as a blow to North Korea’s morticians and florists, not to mention all the other industrious craftsmen burning the midnight oil over little marzipan dictators to decorate wedding cakes with.

Nuptials, of course, can be delayed without too much difficulty (I delayed mine for about 20 years). But just what you’re supposed to do if your granny pops her namaksins (Korean clogs) mid-congress isn’t abundantly clear.

The first wedding party I spied spilled out of a church while I was stuck at the traffic lights. There was a thin cream limousine parked outside the vestibule, with a flock of substantially endowed bridesmaids, all dressed in strappy, voluminous lilac, busily climbing inside in a giddy flurry of bosoms and bouquets and thick white bra straps.

It looked like a fun wedding: milling guests with cameraphones held over their heads; hats and suits and hugging skirts; and brave, bare-calved ladies under purple clouds.

The efforts of people in this climate to cultivate party legs, in peep-toe shoe-boots and high heels that you could scale with a crampon and harness, is a deeply reassuring aspect of Irish culture. How would we know it was spring if it wasn’t for other people’s effortful pins, with their yellowish sheen of bottled tan barely occluding the savage nuclear white of an Irish winter?

No tan lines, no smiles

The other wedding I saw that day was a different kettle of fish entirely, a serious affair. I watched, from a perch on a derrière-numbing fountain ledge, as the party posed for photographs in a city park. The bride wore something metallic (which I hear is all the rage) and was flanked by a trio of gold-plated bridesmaids sporting neither tan line nor smile, a husband birthed from a scrum, and a bevy of groomsmen in silky suits, matching frowns and shoes handcrafted from a herd of mewling alpacas.

It was an interesting snapshot of impeccably garish taste, of money woken from bust-time hibernation displaying itself in the spring-scented air.

I’m the last person I would rush to for wedding advice, but I have been doing my research and can confidently tell you that, as far as venues are concerned, “barns” are still all the rage. (And, holy cow, the country is full of them, albeit they probably have other stuff in them, such as Massey Fergusons and wildcats and old dressers.) But, barns aside, if you really want to be on-trend you should factor in a canine ring-bearer or a doggy usher.

Yep, your pooch is your greatest asset in avoiding nuptial mediocrity. Dogs apparently lend a dash of unpredictability, fun and danger to otherwise clinically choreographed celebrations. (Of course they do; they urinate on impulse, not unlike great-uncle Cedric.)

Look, I can’t talk – I didn’t even invite my mother to my wedding, let alone include a family pet. But in the slew of nauseating baloney that I’ve read on your behalf (including that a dog at a wedding lends the same frisson of originality as a deliberate fault in a hand-made Persian rug), the following tripe really took the Bonio: “It’s no surprise that many couples opt to include their pets in their weddings. I mean, is there anything more adorable than a dog in a tux?”

Er, yeah, there is actually. Let’s see: there’s a bride with a poo bag, for example, or else maybe a pug in a dickie-bow humping the rustic centrepiece that you’ve carefully placed in the middle of Auntie Mary’s barn to cover up the oil spill from the Massey.

If, however, you truly are a dog-lover who will not be deterred by the wrath, chagrin and sheer venom that emanates from your more churlish guests when your Labradoodle cocks his leg on the baptismal font, let me give you some tips.

First, don’t dress your dog in something that it will attempt to eat (dogs don’t wear wing collars, they choke on them).

Second, warn guests with allergies.

And finally, and most importantly, consider a doggy sitter, who will take the damn thing home before it muscles in on your cha-cha-cha.

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