Animals and Weddings, a horror story

Even as you hope the best for your wedding, you know that not everything will be perfect. Maybe the maid of honor’s shoes will give her a blister. Maybe the face on your cake-topper bride will eerily resemble your mother. It’s a fact: you can’t plan for everything. However, there are some obvious, glaring errors you can avoid on your wedding day. Take heart from knowing you’ll fare better than this unfortunate couple:

Lisa and Paul met at the park one sunny spring day. He was playing Frisbee-toss with his frisky young greyhound, Rosie. She was taking Shortie, her newly-acquired pound puppy, for an afternoon stroll. They went to dinner together that night, and were still inseparable two years later. Since it was their dogs who had brought them together, they decided to include the pups in the wedding ceremony.

Unfortunately, Rosie disqualified herself rather early in the planning stages because of a propensity for sniffing rear ends (and not all of them canine). But Shortie, being unable to reach anything inappropriate, was deemed the perfect ring bearer.

The bride had always wanted a beach wedding, and the idea of a loving pup bearing their rings struck the couple as charming. Plus, Shortie had suffered a leg injury before coming to Lisa, and now walked with a limp. If worst came to worst and the dog got distracted mid-procession with expensive wedding rings strapped to her back, the couple figured she would be easy to catch.

The day of the wedding came and the weather was gorgeous. Lisa and Paul had invited 50 of their closest friends and family members to St. George Island, one of Florida’s most perfect beaches. The sunset was stunning. The preliminaries intoned and everyone was looking dewy-eyed.

It was the moment for Shortie’s cue. Freshly washed, with the rings tied to her new collar by a sparkly silver bow, Shortie started her slow (and dignified) limp down the sandy aisle toward the waiting couple.

The water was sparkling red and orange from the dramatic sunset. The waves were low and rolling. The beach was completely empty and private, devoid of its usual sunburned tourists in thong swimsuits. In short, everything was perfect. Shortie seemed to understand the importance of the occasion. She had come straight from the dog groomer, looking her best. Even her long, floppy tail stood up straight. She seemed to have a beatific smile on her canine face.

The almost-newlyweds trusted Shortie to come directly to the groom. Even though the dog usually preferred her owner Lisa, Paul had gotten clever and arranged a little bit of insurance. Like many dogs, Shortie was extremely motivated by food.

The groom had hidden a tiny plastic baggie of tuna in his front pants pocket. He opened it at the top to let the aroma drift to Shortie’s willing nose. They’d practiced again and again, and Shortie knew she had to bring the rings to the groom if she wanted to reach her tuna treat.

Everything was going perfectly. Charmed “Oohs” and “Awws” arose from both sides of the aisle as Shortie made her stately way to the front of the wedding. And then, something terrible happened.

A gigantic seagull suddenly splashed into the surf about 20 yards from the wedding party. Shortie, despite her slow reputation, mustered a burst of amazing energy and sped after the seagull. No one had ever seen her cover so much ground so quickly.

Seeing the rings bouncing and the ribbon loosening as the dog neared the ocean, the bride shrieked and ran into the surf after them. The waves immediately soaked her dress, turning the lower half as translucent as a wet T-shirt, while the guests looked on in horror.

Of course, Shortie never had a shot at the bird. Seagulls, being faster than even supercharged pound pups, easily flew off, leaving Shortie at the shoreline. Unfortunately, Shortie’s excitement didn’t end there. There happened to be a dead crab rolling around in the surf, reeking even more than the baggie of tuna. Overjoyed at this new treat, Shortie promptly forgot her ring-bearing responsibilities and dropped down to roll on the dead crustacean. The sopping bride stood there, too disgusted to intervene, until the groom ran in, grabbed the dog, and pulled her away from the mess.

At this point, the (un)happy couple still hadn’t completed their vows. They trudged back to the ceremony, where half of the guests were stricken silent and the other half couldn’t stop laughing. Not only did the rings smell like a dead sea creature at this point, but in the midst of the struggle, the groom had completely forgotten the baggie of tuna in his pocket. There was now a huge, stinking oil stain spreading across the front of his linen pants.

The photographer, bless her heart, kept snapping away.

Lisa and Paul finished their ceremony and hastily drove away to change clothing and shower before the reception. To their credit, they tried to keep a positive attitude. Later, once the humiliation had faded, they proclaimed their wedding photo album the “most exciting” of all their friends’ (although they still requested that their faces not be shown with this article).

There are a few lessons to be learned here (not the least of which being don’t hide tuna in your pants). Take precautions when including animals in your wedding ceremony. Assign one official “animal wrangler” to watch the animal at all times. But, most importantly, keep your sense of humor ready at a moment’s notice. You never know when you’ll need it.