IE 11 is not supported. For an optimal experience visit our site on another browser.

Bridal fashion has gone to the dogs

Want to include man's best friend -- your favorite furry companion -- in your wedding party? Lara Alameddine, designer to Hollywood’s A-list dogs, explains how to tastefully incorporate pets  into your ceremony.
/ Source: TODAY

So you’ve gone for your final dress fitting at Vera Wang, picked the perfect shade of pink for your bridesmaid dresses, convinced the groom — with all your charm — that the groomsmen ties will need to match that perfect shade of pink, and finally figured out where to seat the crazy third cousin who always manages to embarrass himself at every family function. Now all you need to do is find an outfit for your canine baby. Where do you start?

Get your pup’s measurements (neck, neck to tail, girth). The key to looking good, as we all know, is wearing the right size. Also, understand your pup’s body type. Now I know you are asking yourselves, what do you mean by body type? Well, dogs, just like us humans, come in all shapes and sizes, and to look their best they need to dress appropriately. Everyone hates Chihuahuas because they are the fashion models of the dog world — perfectly proportionate and they can wear anything and rock it! On the other hand, when you have a full-figured breed like a pug, you have to be more considerate about how you dress them in order to show off the right assets.

As a designer to Hollywood’s "A-list" dogs, I am constantly keeping my client in mind while I am designing. You want the dog to wear the clothes and not the clothes to wear the dog. Otherwise they look like they are wearing a costume.

When it comes to selecting the actual outfits, here are a couple options. If you want to do what Hollywood’s celebrity A-listers do, then go designer all the way! When it comes to their pets, celebs stop at nothing to make sure that their dog’s duds make the best-dressed list. You can have your pup’s outfit custom made by your local tailor or by a high-end pet designer to replicate your bridesmaid dresses and groomsmen suits. If you had your bridesmaid dresses made to order, then ask the store for an extra yard of fabric to use in order to make your pup an outfit for the wedding day. It will integrate your little one into the wedding seamlessly, and make a serious fashion statement. If you bought your bridesmaid dresses ready-made, then go to your local fabric store and find the closest match. Your pockets need to run a little deep for these custom options; they start around $500.

Another, more affordable option for styling your pet on your big day would be to find a ready-to-wear outfit at a high-end pet boutique or online retailer. Keep in mind, you’re looking to match the color and/or feel of the wedding party. Make sure that you give yourself at least two months before your wedding to secure your pup’s wardrobe. If you are ordering online, get your order in early in case something does not fit properly. The last thing you need is a four-legged fashion catastrophe on your hands!

When in doubt, go simple. Clothing is not the only route for styling your pet on your wedding day. If your dog is not really a clothing fan then an accented collar, a jeweled necklace or bow-tie matching the groomsmen is a nice way to go. The key is making sure you add an extra-special something to accessorize your pet for this big day. Remember, your pets are an extension of you. You look fabulous and so should they.

Although looks play a key factor in the big day, they are not everything. You have to think about a few other major things. Execution plays a huge part in how things will flow.

First and foremost, make sure things don’t become a circus act! Do not, in any way, depend on your dog figuring out how to walk down the aisle for itself. Unless it has a SAG card, you should have an escort like the flower girl or ring bearer walk it down the aisle.

Also, if your pup is not perfectly trained and is easily excitable, you should try enrolling your little one with a trainer. This needs to start at least six months before the big day to allow time to set in the newly learned skills. After all that, you may still find that your canine baby is just not cut out for the walk down the aisle, even with an escort, and training it may be too much.  That’s OK; we are not all born to be in the spotlight.

Don’t stress; there are other options to having your pups walk down the aisle. You can have them there just for the photo ops before and after or just for the ceremony. My husband and I got married in August of 2007 and we wanted our beloved Oscar, a 4-pound Yorkie, to be a part of our special day. Oscar has a rep for speaking his mind and at times snapping when stressed. We knew that our black-tie, 400-guest wedding was not the place for Oscar’s coming-out moment. Instead, we had him take pictures with my husband and his groomsmen while they were all getting ready, and then he came in and took pictures with me as well. Then, after the ceremony, we got a few pictures of just the three of us. It worked out beautifully. We have the memories and the pictures to remind us and capture the experience of the day.

One huge detail that can possibly make or break the day is to make sure you have a dog sitter on the day. You need to have someone there at the wedding who is responsible for your dog and making sure that it is well hydrated and fed, and taking it on bathroom breaks. You will also need someone to take the dog home, or to wherever or whomever will be caring for it. Which brings me to the next don’t: Do not make your dog stay for the entire wedding! For us humans, the day is overwhelming and a lot to take in; for the pooches it is magnified by 100 and can be a huge source of stress for them. So once the ceremony and initial photography is done, call it a day and send it packing with its doggie bag!

Our dogs are a great source of love and peace for most of us animal lovers. They have the gift of calming us and at the same time bringing us into the present. This is a key element that can really help you relax on the day of your wedding. Have your pup in the room with you when you are getting ready. You are about to take one of the biggest leaps in your life; it will be a great source of calm to have your loyal  canine companion by your side.

For more on styling your pets, visit