Normally, 627 11th Avenue in New York City is a Honda dealership, where residents of the area go to buy their Accords and Civics. But on the evening of February 14, the bright lights of the showroom trained their focus on something a bit different than a group of sedans and SUVs: the Valentine’s Day nuptials of two pugs named Rose and Kismet. A benefit for Pugs for Pinky, a foundation that helps parents of sick pugs pay high medical costs, the wedding was organized by Rose and Kismet’s respective owners, Lisa Kerner and Viki Anders, among other helpers. Roberto Negrin, owner of Hec-Lin Couture for Dogs, officiated the ceremony.
As befits an event at the close of the week of Westminster, Rose and Kismet’s wedding pulled out all the stops. Lining the pink runner carpet set up for the wedding party’s procession to the altar were several tables filled with sumptuous treats for both humans and canines alike, everything from éclairs, puff pastries, pink lollipops and miniature cupcakes for people, and frosted bone- and donut-shaped treats and cookies for the pups. Organizers also gave squeak toys away to the many doggie guests of the wedding. Much of the food and linens were pink, including pink lemonade (along with fruit-filled Sangria), keeping with the event’s theme color, a nod to Pinky, Pugs for Pinky’s namesake pug.
Opposite the food tables, guests could bid on pet fashions, accessories and pug-themed art as part of a silent auction benefiting Pugs for Pinky. Highlights included a miniature living-room-furniture set, a Juicy Couture carrier and a doggie ballerina outfit. Among the pug art were sketches featuring a pug dressed as a princess, complete with tiara, and a dapper pug couple dancing in 1920s style outfits.
While the wedding party readied itself in a back room, a continual stream of dogs and their parents arrived, going on to mingle with the crowd while they munched on goodies and played with the new toys. Among the dogs were Champ, an English bulldog, Sir Charles Barkley, a French bulldog, and Sasha Fierce, a Chihuahua. They came with their owner, Neely Waring, who rescued all three pups. Champ, serving as best man, wore a tuxedo with an understated pink stripe down the back. His brother Sir Charles Barkley, a ring bearer, also donned a tuxedo, a magenta number with a white collar a black stripe down the back.
Other notable dogs in the wedding party were bridesmaid Gia Marie, the Brooklyn Pom, and her equally gorgeous and stylish mother, Victoria Viscardi; the glamorous duo of the Yorkie Puccini, a groomsman, and his mom, Leslie Riddle; adorable toy schnauzer and groomsman Chappy Fox with his lovely mom, Dawn Deisler, owner of Bespoke Canine; and a host of other beauties dressed to the nines. All the dogs were stars, but one particular luminary was Mr. America, a Leonberger serving as a groomsman. Accompanied by his owner and trainer, Morgan Williams, Mr. America is a star of stage and screen, having been on stage in such Broadway productions as Annie, Miracle on 34th Street, Peter Pan and Oliver Twist. He’s also shared screen time with Denzel Washington in the feature film The Equalizer.
Around 8 p.m., the strains of “The Rose” began to play, hushing the crowd. Not having the enviable floor-level vantage point of their dogs, the human guests stood up, craning their necks to watch the wedding procession as it made its way down the pink carpet to a special dais erected as the altar for the ceremony. First came the bridesmaids and groomsmen, aided by their parents, then two ring bearers and two flower girls. Champ followed, along with Sophia, the bridesmaid.
Finally, the moment arrived when it was Kismet’s turn to walk down the aisle. All eyes turned to him, a fawn pug outfitted in an exquisite black-and-white tuxedo accented with a pink bow tie, designed by Deisler, as Anders carried him down the aisle. Other than some interest in the biscuits Anders held, he behaved like the perfect gentleman, setting the stage for the entrance of his bride. Rose, carried by Kerner, then made her appearance, wearing a wedding gown, designed by Severine Vicknair of Pink Punk Puppy Designs (which she recently renamed Beatrice Ruth Designs, in honor of her mother, Ruth Beatrice Meier) that rivaled some of the best human couture. The dress, which included a short veil, was white satin, with tiny white flowers with pink centers sewn in an overlay pattern on top. Seen from a distance, it seemed to give off a light pink glow, perfect for the pink theme of the nuptials.
The ceremony was short but meaningful. After agreeing to help dogs find forever homes, support dog rescue and advocate against animal abuse and neglect, Kismet, through Anders, vowed to give Rose caresses and hugs, support her three children and, as Negrin put it, “Most important: Save all your licks for Rose with that tongue.” Rose, meanwhile, promised to give Kismet treats, especially his favorite, cheese balls and not to chew up his bedding or possessions. Anders said that both dogs agreed. With that, they exchanged rings, which were affixed to necklaces that Anders and Kerner placed around their necks. Negrin then pronounced the couple husband and wife, giving Kismet permission to lick the bride. Kismet instead jumped off the dais, presumably out of sheer excitement over tying the knot with his beloved.
The procession turned back down the aisle, walking slowly as everyone applauded. The strains of the “Wedding March” gave way to a raucous version of “Who Let the Dogs Out” with several people shouting “Woof, woof” in accompaniment. Shortly after, Rose and Kismet had their first dance, which they performed with the help of Kerner and Anders. The garner was tossed, along with the bouquet. Riddle caught the bouquet, and you know what that means for Puccini.
All in all, Rose and Kismet’s wedding was the ideal way to spend a cold winter’s evening, with epic canine cuteness, stunning pet fashion and merriment. It was definitely one of the more unique ways to celebrate Valentine’s Day.