Our pets have always held such meaningful places in our hearts. And if you’re a dog lover, you know just how important these furry friends are in every part of our lives. You’ve probably noticed too that it’s becoming increasingly acceptable for dogs to join in at more public places and special events, including weddings.
In fact, bringing your dog to your wedding (especially if you have a cute outfit picked out) is definitely trending for today's weddings. So if you want to include your fur baby on your big day, we have some tips to make sure your wedding day doesn’t 'go to the dogs'!
Here are some options to consider if you'd like your pup to be included in your wedding in some essential way:
Take engagement and wedding photos with your photogenic doggie
Let her be the flower girl or have him act as the ring bearer
Let your dog mingle at the cocktail hour or reception as a guest
Simply include your pup’s image in the wedding décor/theme (ex: favors, place cards, cake topper, thank you notes, etc.)
If you’re thinking about having your dog join in for the wedding day events, either with a role in the wedding or as an honored guest, you’ll need to be cautious and plan ahead. There are some critical points to review first:
Recognize your dog’s personality – Would your pup be relaxed and well-behaved enough to handle his assigned role in the wedding? Does he get fearful in unfamiliar situations or around crowds? Do you have a dog who likes to jump up to greet people? Does she bark maybe a little too much in new environments? If any of these are true, reconsider the role you’ve chosen for your pet and perhaps include his image or presence in a smaller way at your wedding.
Train accordingly – Take your dog to the venue before the actual wedding day and practice her walk/task many times. Reward her behavior when she performs her duty so she’ll be ready and willing to repeat it on the big day.
Choose an outdoor venue – Most religious and indoor venues will not allow dogs (other than service animals) inside their facilities. Also, there’s a good chance your fur baby will feel more comfortable and welcomed in an outside setting. Outdoor or tented wedding events tend to be more relaxed and give guests the feeling that traditional rules don’t necessarily apply.
Advise your guests that your pooch will be there – Some guests may have allergies or a fear of dogs, especially children.
Clean him up – Give your floof a proper bath and/or haircut before the event. Be sure that his ears have been cleaned and his nails have been cut. This is a wedding, after all! And if your pup tolerates costumes, why not dress him up in a bow tie or bib or place a flower collar around her neck?
Feed her well – Be sure arrangements have been made for ample DOG food and water for your pup during the event. Don’t encourage or allow her to sample 'people food' that could easily make her ill.
Choose a chaperone for your pup – Never leave him unattended during the big day. Have a designated family member or friend or two take responsibility for your dog during the wedding celebration. Or best yet, consider making prior arrangements for professional dog-sitting throughout your event. And have someone drive your pup home midway during the wedding... it's a long day for a little doggie.
We've filmed so many weddings where the family dogs were successfully included in the wedding event. One that will always stand out is Jessica and Brian's wedding day. They're huge dog lovers and made sure to include all of their pooches in their fantastic wedding at the Ashford Estate, even having all six walk down the aisle!
And if you thought six dogs in the wedding was fantastic, Ashley and Frank had all thirteen of their pups included in their wedding day! Their dogs participated in the photo shoots and even walked down the aisle at Crystal Plaza as part of the wedding party. It was so cute!
Kristin and Ryan were sure to include their fur babies in their special day, too. Two of their dogs burned off energy with Ryan on the wedding morning, hung out with the guys before they all got ready for the day and joined in for the photo shoots with the couple at their Renault Winery wedding event.
The cute little pups of Tiffany and Jeffrey were there during their wedding morning preparations and photos, then also sat with the couple during toasts at their reception and partied on the dance floor at Hotel Monaco!
And Kim and Matt's laid back hound, Walter, was very involved in their wedding day, from morning preparations to mingling with guests during the cocktail hour at this gorgeous event at Brittland Manor. Check it out to see how dogs can truly be welcomed at wedding celebrations!