Dressing up the Dogs???

Yes, we do dress our dogs up on occasion, although not as much as we used to.  And yes, that does include Halloween. They’re actually not real fond of it, though, as you can imagine.

But being puppy parents to two adorable and extremely spoiled Yorkies means we really have to do things like that. It’s sort of an unwritten law for those of us who are owned by Yorkies.

I’m sure most of you have seen the cute pictures all over Facebook and Instagram of Yorkies wearing clothes, and not just for Halloween.  Those pictures look adorable. The dogs look so happy, and you think, “wow I have to have one of those dogs so I can dress him/her up, too.”

Well, that’s a good thought. However, actually doing it and taking good pictures are two entirely different matters. 

Dogs don’t like to get dressed up. At least ours don’t. Oh, they tolerate it. But they really act embarrassed. You will see a few pictures here, but you have no idea what we had to do and how long it took us to get what pictures I’m posting. How the photographers online get such photos I don’t know! Either the dogs are extremely well trained or the photographer took a thousand pictures to get that one!

A couple of years ago, however, we had a brilliant idea to enter the pups in a Halloween pet costume contest at a local restaurant. We had a couple of weeks to plan for it, and knew we had to get the perfect costumes for Benji and Chloe. 

And what could be more appropriate than bride and groom outfits! Complete with a veil for Chloe and a top hat for Benji! Online ordering is an awesome thing and Amazon had just the perfect outfits! 

But it wasn’t enough to just have them dressed for the part. We even got Chloe a “bouquet” of flowers (actually a fancy dog toy felt flower bouquet that we wouldn’t let her chew on). We also had a dog toy cake but it had birthday candles on it, so that wouldn’t work. 

Then my husband had a perfect idea! Something he knew would be just the thing to clinch the prize for the most adorable doggies in the Halloween parade! Instead of just walking them up on stage, they would make their grand entrance as “newlyweds” in their own little car.

And it just so happened that our daughter and son-in-law had a pink (of course) remote control car they’d bought for our granddaughter, and they were happy to bring it for us to use.

So we were all set! Except for the two stars of the show not being too happy about wearing their outfits! Maybe it was “pre-wedding jitters”? Or Chloe had changed her mind about her dress and wanted a different style?

Anyway, the show must go on, and so must the Halloween Pet Contest! We promised the pups we’d give them treats if they behaved, so that Sunday afternoon we all met at the restaurant, including our daughter and son-in-law and our little granddaughter (who wanted to ride in her car!) and my best friend.

Of course, the contest was held outside in a beautiful setting by the water. Picnic tables were set up and ready for participants and diners as well. There was even a special menu for the dogs to order from!

There were quite a few dogs there, all in costumes! And like Benji and Chloe, some of them didn’t seem overly happy to be dressed up either! Or maybe they were just nervous to have to go onstage. Benji was more interested in barking at the other dogs like a crazy person (or dog) and Chloe just wanted to take her dress off and run and play with them.

Maybe this wasn’t a great idea after all?

But we’d come this far, so we went for it!

All the dogs had their chance onstage.  There were some really creative costumes; dogs dressed as hot dogs, a beer can, clowns, a police officer, a scarecrow, and even a taco!

Then it was our turn. We put Chloe’s veil on her, put both dogs in the car, and held our breath as my husband controlled the car that slowly rolled along in front of the stage. And amazingly both pups stayed in the car! And everyone there loved it!

The winners were decided by audience vote. We held our breath to see who’d win. And yes, Benji and Chloe won! By one vote, but they still won! 

We were awarded a gift certificate from the restaurant (which happens to be one of our local favorites), and the pups got to order lunch from that special dog menu! 

Would we do it again? Well….that depends on the dogs. But I think they’re going with the “once is enough” answer!

Note: The restaurant is Blue Pete’s in Virginia Beach. It’s a locally owned establishment situated on a small body of water known as Muddy Creek. The atmosphere and food are great, and so are the owners!

Barking Down the Aisle?

What happens when the bride really, REALLY wants to have her dog(s) included in the day’s events?

We know that all those pictures on Pinterest of the brides with their dog on their wedding day are absolutely beautiful. We particularly like the ones that show the dogs as ring bearers (some even with a ring pillow on their collar!) or flower dogs with a wreath of flowers around their collar. You’d never even think that those adorable four-legged balls of fur would ever, EVER, do anything to mess up your wedding day. Right? They just love you and your fiancé so much that they’d never EVER embarrass you!

Well…not always. In your dreams your dog will walk perfectly down the aisle and go right to you and sit where he/she’s supposed to be. Or your dog is brought in with one of your attendants, walks perfectly down the aisle, and sits/stands right where he/she’s supposed to be through the whole ceremony. That’s the way it’s supposed to go. Right?

Are you really seriously thinking that? Are we talking a 5 pound Yorkie or an 80 pound Golden Retriever? Or something in between?

Before we continue, let me say this. I love pets. We currently have two dogs, and three cats. They’re part of our family. We’ve had cats and dogs for as long as I can remember. And you know your family is supposed to be part of your wedding day. Right?

Here’s how you imagine it. It’s almost ceremony time. You’ve already had the pre-requisite pictures taken in your beautiful wedding gown with your wonderful golden retriever looking lovingly in your face, maybe even putting his paw in your hand, licking your face, or even posing beside your very fragile bouquet. Then you and your faithful friend go out, and he walks down the aisle (wearing his best wedding bow tie) with one of your bridesmaids and takes his place beside your mom on the front row so he can watch everything. After the ceremony he’s there for more pictures, and you and your groom have some great shots with the dog looking lovingly at both of you. Then there’s the picture where he’s balancing the rings on his nose….

You get the picture, right? That’s in the perfect world.

Who really lives in that perfect world? Who has a dog that’s trained that well to behave like that? Without being on a lot of doggie tranquilizers, that is! And who would want to do that? No matter how well trained your pet is, there are just so many things that can go, well, wrong.

Let’s imagine how it would really go. You’re getting dressed on your wedding day. Just a few hours to go. Your hair and makeup are perfect. Your dress is gorgeous, and fits perfectly. In comes your dog, who sees you and promptly wants to jump on you, because, well, he’s a dog, and he’s excited! Even on a leash, he’s still going to be excited and jumping! And unless you have a little tiny dog, can you imagine what would happen next? And how you’d fix the dress so no one can tell? He or she may be cute and adorable, but at that particular moment, CUTE is not in your vocabulary!

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Or let’s say you just want the dog to walk down the aisle and carry something (and please NOT the real rings!). Tied to his collar, of course, because I don’t know any dog that’s going to cooperate enough to carry something in his mouth the whole time without ruining it! Or dropping it along the way. You sure don’t want one of the groomsmen or bridesmaids to be your dog handler, because they’re going to have enough to do, and they certainly won’t want to risk getting their clothes messed up either! (Well maybe a little dog might be more cooperative, but that’s still questionable!) And there certainlly isn’t any guarantee that your flower girl or ring bearer is going to be successful!

Maybe hire a professional dog handler to do it, and hope your four-legged friend cooperates? That’s all well and good, but when Rusty sees everyone sitting there, what’s the first thing he’s going to do besides try to run over to everyone and kiss them? In their good clothes? BARK! And the sound of barking to the wedding music is not exactly something you or your guests are going to enjoy! And if you were to try to have him sitting and watching the ceremony…he’d be thrilled to bark while you’re saying your vows…IF he decides to sit still! And what about when he sees something that distracts him? He BARKS, and wants to go chase after it!

And what if your dog is at an outside ceremony and there’s, well, shall we say, a call of nature???

Pictures afterwards? You have the same situation. Wanting to jump, and now, not only is your dress in danger, so are your flowers, your new husband, and your bridesmaids! And as good as your photographer may be, he/she is going to quickly lose patience trying to get the dog to cooperate…it’s hard enough sometimes with the wedding party! And that’s going to mean most likely your pictures are not going to end up looking like you’d planned!

Not to mention that most venues frown on having animals there, unless it’s an outside venue. If you’re really insisting your dog be a part of your day, ASK before you commit to your location, and be sure it’s in writing! And you certainly don’t want to have the dog attend the reception! After all…..

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So….what’s the solution here? You love your dog. You want him or her to be part of your day. But you have to remember, he’s a dog, and he doesn’t understand what’s going on! There’s so much excitement and so many new people, he’s not going to know what to do!

There are other ways to include your dog. Engagement pictures are a great way! You’re not wearing the most expensive dress you’ve ever worn, and there aren’t a zillion people around to distract and excite him/her. Just you and your fiancé and the photographer. And that’s still an interesting time, because he/she is still going to be excited, and trust me, dog cooperation is NOT going to be the rule at the photo shoot! A good photographer can get some good pictures with you both and your dog(s), but they aren’t necessarily going to be what you envisioned! Our daughter’s engagement photographer Amanda Hedgepeth was excellent, and she got some great pictures with the dogs, but they still didn’t cooperate the way Ashley expected them to! (But aren’t they cute?)

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The other suggestion, if you really, really want pictures of your dog with you while you’re wearing your gown…do it AFTER your wedding day. You’ll be more relaxed, and not quite as worried about your dress. Your hair may not be quite the same style, and you may need to use a silk bouquet instead of your real flowers, but isn’t that better than risking disaster on your wedding day? You can even make prior arrangements with the tux rental store to have your fiancé keep his tux a few days extra, or he can just wear a suit for the pictures. Either way, it’s still going to accomplish most of what you wanted! You’ll have wonderful wedding photos, and you’ll also have great pictures with your four-legged friend!

And no memories of barking down the aisle! Arf!!

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Photo Sources: 1st Row: Apollo Beach Wedding Photographer on WordPress; Christine Farah Photography on StyleMePretty; Flickr from The Cottage Cheese – 2nd Row: RuffledBlog; Pfeiffer Film Photography on GreyLikesWeddings; Lynn Brubaker Photography on EastonEvents – 3rd Row: MichelesCottage on Etsy; Milou and Olin Photography – 4th Row: Source Unknown; HeartLoveWeddings – 5th Row: More.com – 6th Row: Storkie.com; Ira Lipke Studios on InspiredbyThis – 7th Row: WeddingRescueIndustry.com – 8th Row: Amanda Hedgepeth Photography – 9th Row: Source Unknown

Engagement Photos

A few weeks ago our daughter Ashley went from Virginia Beach to Honolulu to visit her friend Erin, who is also one of her bridesmaids. A portion of this blog is re-posted with Erin’s permission from her blog, Crafty Girl Problems.

“Aloha! During Ashley’s visit she asked me to make a few things for her upcoming engagement photos. I said, “uh duh, yes.” We made a few stops at craft stores around the island and we got our materials. I spent all week working on little signs in our down time. I even had the bride to be help with the base painting and top clear coats. She pretty much let me do my thing and trusted my artistic hand all while giving good ideas and opinions to make the signs turn out even better. I think I taught her a few of my crafty ways too!
Ashley and her fiance Chris are huge dog lovers. Between the two of them they have two fur babies and have their minds set on another pup before their wedding in 2015. Ashley and I were throwing ideas out there for her signs and we came up with a sign specially for the pups! With that, my pallet addiction took over, yet again. I honestly think that the sign for the pups could possibly be my favorite of my recent crafts. I just love the little milk bone on the left side of the sign. Be sure to tell me what you think.
Our Humans

When I first walked into this local craft store (a week before Ashley got here) I had my eye on this little string of hearts. I was teetering on buying it for Kristen’s wedding but for the life of me, I couldn’t think of how to use it. When I took Ashley to the craft store I was pretty happy when she wanted to get it.

We had the best idea to print her wedding date on it and I love how it turned out.
Finished Hearts

After seeing all of my chalkboard paint works of art, Ashley knew that she wanted one for herself. Here is what we came up with. A beachy sign for the beachy couple.

Such a busy touristy week and I still had time to make all of these little cuties! Can’t wait to see how the engagement photos turn out! Congratulations love birds.”

Erin, you and Ashley did a great job, and I promise you will be helping out with more decorations and ideas for the big day in 2015!

Ashley and Chris had their engagement photos taken this week, and we’re so excited about how they turned out that we have to share. The signs were used perfectly, and their dogs actually cooperated with our photographer! Course, they were all dressed up in their blue polka dot bow ties, so they had no choice!
dogs with signs
Please follow this link to see more of Ashley and Chris’ Engagement Photos. We love how all of the signs were used, as well as how beautiful these pictures of our daughter and future son-in-law came out. Special thanks to our very talented photographer, Amanda Hedgepeth Photography in Virginia Beach. And for those of you who read our blog featuring the starfish wedding cake toppers, how do you like Ashley’s photos with her ring being worn by the starfish? (I just wonder how Amanda got her to actually take it off her finger??!!)

Feel free to leave your comments on either our page, or our photographer’s page.