A Toast to Bulldogs in Tuxedos and Chihuahuas in Chiffon
Well-dressed wedding guests, with four legs, are becoming the norm.
Amanda Svachula (Svachula, 20189)
Svachula, A. (20189, 10 17). www.nytimes.com. Retrieved from A Toast to Bulldogs in Tuxedos and Chihuahuas in Chiffon: https://www.nytimes.com/2018/10/17/fashion/weddings/a-toast-to-bulldogs-in-tuxedos-and-chihuahuas-in-chiffon.html?rref=collection%2Ftimestopic%2FPets&action=click&contentCollection=timestopics®ion=stream&module=stream_unit&version=latest&contentPlaceme
Frank, a stubby English bulldog dressed in a navy tuxedo adorned with a gold-sequined bow tie, ambled down the aisle through the North Carolina grass at his owners’ wedding. He looked quite the part — that is, until he plopped down to relax during the ceremony.
“Frankie has such a human quality about him,” said the bride and owner, Emily Enriquez. “He has this big, broad-shouldered look, and I thought he would look really cute in a tuxedo.”
Ms. Enriquez and her husband, Brian Enriquez, decided they wanted Frank to be a part of their March 2017 ceremony because he had served as a major part of their relationship — he joined their family a little over a year after they had been dating. Ms. Enriquez searched for high-quality attire (not from the average party store) to match the rest of the wedding party. On Etsy, she found a dog tuxedo and bow tie from Happydog Pet Couture for $130.
The outlet is one of a growing number of Etsy shops and high-end pet couture designers catering to couples wishing to include their pets in their wedding. The animals may serve as ring bearers, or just well-dressed crowd pleasers during the reception.
Search “pet wedding attire” on Etsy and more than 1,000 results will pop up. There’s Bark and Go, House of FurBaby, and many others, in locations ranging from Florida to Kiev, Ukraine (where Happydog Pet Couture is based). Ilana Mobley, an owner of the Tampa-based FairyTail Pet Care, which offers a variety of wedding day services, said nearly one in every 10 weddings the company has assisted with, features pets in formal attire.
The Etsy shops’ pieces typically cost under $100. Other formal pet attire can be found elsewhere online, with some pieces from larger pet designers costing as much as $300.
Moshiqa has cotton dresses with elaborate beading and dog hats. (Lady Gaga has dressed her dog in the designer’s fashions) Max-Bone(a favorite of Gwyneth Paltrow) sells pet bow ties, among other things
Adrian Stephen Cabuhat, a pet fashion aficionado from Manila, brought his Chihuahua, Coco Chanel, to his friend’s recent wedding in the Philippines. She wore a ruffled outfit by Juanita Esparza, a Guatemala-based pet couture designer
Anna Konokhova, the owner of Happydog Pet Couture, began selling on Etsy in 2016. She started making elaborate bows for her Shih Tzu, then branched out to dresses after receiving requests from friends for additional designs. She did a design for a Yorkie in a wedding in 2015. She created a few more outfits for friends, until she posted photos on Etsy in 2016. The post attracted many more requests from engaged couples. Weddings are now her main business, she said.
Ms. Konokhova makes all her outfits by hand and communicates with clients in various time zones for ways to customize her creations, which typically arrive in four to five weeks. She became so dedicated to her craft that she would carry around a measuring tape so should could measure various breeds of dogs on the street in order to better serve her customers.
Tonya Hart of Wichita, Kan., opened the House of FurBaby on Etsy four years ago, and started marketing to the wedding crowd in the last couple of years. Sales volume has soared from around 500 a year to about 500 a month. Ms. Hart says she plans to open a brick-and-mortar store in Wichita this month. She has dressed dogs from many breeds in outfits sewn by a hired seamstress.
For many couples, Ms. Hart said, “the pet is that one family that they share,” which makes it especially important to include it in the wedding planning.
For Patti Crouch of Houston, her love for her rat terrier, Lexi, even weathered Hurricane Harvey last year. She bought a white dress with a red bow from House of FurBaby (to match her Christmas-themed wedding) for Lexi, right before the storm hit. Despite a few complications (including delayed alterations for her own wedding dress), and in the chaos of planning, Ms. Crouch still included her dog.
“She’s been my best friend,” Ms. Crouch said of Lexi, who walked around with the flower girl at the reception.
Casey O’Donnell and Kelly O’Donnell didn’t have their pets participate in the actual wedding this past summer, but they had them photographed for a “save the date” announcement. It was a bit tricky, they admitted, keeping Marty, an Old English Sheepdog, and their cat, Pete, in their attire, which they bought on Amazon.
Sometimes, though, just a decorative collar will do. “People take it quite seriously,” said Jodie Vigor of Cupid Collars in Surrey, England, which embellishes collars with silk or foam flowers and other decorations.
As for Frank, the tuxedo-wearing bulldog, his owners managed to keep him in his formal attire throughout the wedding.
“He liked wearing it,” Ms. Enriquez said, “because we fed him ham constantly to keep him compliant.”
Did your pet walk down the aisle at your wedding in a glamorous outfit? We’d love to see. to share photos of your pets dressed up on your wedding day.