A few months ago, a woman in one of my online groups posted that she’d just gotten married. Even better, they’d been able to have her cat at the ceremony. That’s nice, I thought, and meant it. But I did wonder how they’d pulled it off.
Since then, I’ve read online posts and seen videos about other couples making their cats part of the wedding. And I still say it’s nice, though I do draw the line at putting little veils on the cats’ heads.
I think back on my own wedding. Tim was a tried-and-true cat person, too, but it never would have occurred to either us to make Jason, my tuxedo cat, or Toto, his calico, members of the wedding. Of course, Jason was high-strung and only liked about 4 people. Toto would’ve carried herself with more aplomb — but she also would’ve brought a dead rabbit to the ceremony and drooled over everyone.
1. Keep It Cat-Friendly and Safe
That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t have Smokey and Puff walk you down the aisle. You just have to be practical. First, have several people manning the doors, especially if those doors open right onto the great outdoors.
Better yet, put the cats in harnesses or pet strollers. I used to show my cats. The panic that spreads through a show hall when someone calls “Cat out!” isn’t anything compared to what you’ll feel if you hear those same words in the midst of taking your vows.
It’s also a good idea to have the cats taken home before the reception…unless, of course, you’re pretty sure your guests won’t mind being dive-bombed by what one of my friends calls “furry, food-seeking missiles.” Nor do you want your 4-footed ones getting their paws on some chicken bones.
Personally, I think it’s worth considering these other 4 options:
2. Choose Donations Over Wedding Favors
Instead of springing for artistic-looking — and expensive — guest favors for your wedding, make a donation to the shelter or organization that rescued your cat in the first place.
“The same concept can also be applied to gifts at a wedding or bridal party,” says Tatiana Garrett of the Anti-Cruelty Society. “Simply send donation information to the shelter of your choice along with (or instead of) gift registry details.”
The British Columbia Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals began the Biscuit Wedding Registry and Favor program in 2007. “I’d seen it done with other charities and thought, why not for animals?” says the organization’s Melissa Balfour. “Some couples use it as a way to include a family pet in the celebration by making a donation on Fluffy’s behalf, while others find it to be a sentimental way to remember a former family pet that has passed on.”
You can take it a step or two further: Ask your guests to bring donations of canned and dry cat food as gifts instead of salad spinners and Cuisinarts.
3. Play Up the Cat Theme
Opt for a cat-themed wedding — you can really play it up. One couple went for centerpieces made to look like giant yarn balls and “Hiss” and “Purrs” chairs.
Or you can go flea-market chic. You’d be surprised at how many vintage (and cheap) cat figurines and collectibles you can find at thrift and consignment shops. A little rummaging here and there, and — voila! — you have a cake topper and maybe a few centerpieces, too.
Want to include your cats on your wedding day? Consider these fresh ideas in this video:
4. Put Your Cat in the Photos
“One of my co-workers has a picture of his wife in her wedding gown and himself in his tuxedo, with both of them holding their cat,” recalls Avram, one of the bloggers behind New Cat City. “He told me that they had had a photographer take the picture at their apartment on the morning of their wedding.”
Avram and his fiancée, fellow blogger Liz, weren’t able to go that route. But his co-worker’s story does open up a lot of possibilities.
Give your cat billing in your engagement photos, wedding invitations and “Save the Date” notes.
5. Say I Do — To the Cat, Too
The Offbeat Bride suggests mentioning your cats “in your ceremony and/or somehow incorporat[ing] them into your vows so that you’re not only committing to each other but you’re promising to commit to your furry family members as well.”