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Kevin and Claire Bailey with Gabby (Echard Wheeler Photography)
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Craig and Kelly Hutson with Zeus (Leigh Skaggs Photography)
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Kate Carter and Ulf Andresen with Dixie (Don Mears Photography)
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Rory and Maggie Roten with Jack Daniels (JJ Horton Photography)
Decked in a bowtie at a Virginia farm wedding, Napoleon isn’t your typical ring bearer. He’s a French bulldog. Author Katie Preston Toepfer collected stories of couples who included their canines in their weddings in her book Wedding Dogs: A Celebration of Holy Muttrimony. From ring bearers to flower girls, Toepfer showcases tuxedoed shih tzus and Boston terriers adorned in pearls. The book reminds us that we have much to learn about love from our dogs.
Bride: With a book based around love and dogs, I’m guessing you grew up with dogs, right?
Katie Preston Toepfer: Yes, I did. I love dogs and always had at least one growing up. I come from a long line of dog lovers.
Bride: Where did you get the idea to create a book about wedding dogs?
Preston Toepfer: When I was looking through my parents’ wedding album, I was inspired by the fact that they had their Dalmatian and Labrador as the maid of honor and best man at their wedding.
Bride: In what ways can a couple incorporate their dogs in their wedding celebration?
Preston Toepfer: You can have your pet attend as a guest, or have them included in the bridal party as “best dog” or “dog of honor.” Many people like to have their pooch as ring bearer.
Bride: How can couples include high-strung dogs?
Preston Toepfer: If you have someone you can trust who can wrangle them on a lead, I don’t see why not! But perhaps it’s best to keep them out of the bridal party and attend as a guest.
Bride: What can dogs teach us about relationships and love?
Preston Toepfer: Love unconditionally and always let those you love know how much you care about them. Dogs are wonderful at expressing their emotions and are always quick to forgive as well.
Katie Preston Toepfer lives in Sydney, Australia, with her husband, Clinton, and has two Cavalier King Charles spaniels, Violet and Mr. Darcy. Find her book at wedding-dogs.com.