Our pets have always held meaningful places in our hearts. And if you’re a dog lover, you know just how important these furry friends are in our lives. You’ve probably noticed too that it’s becoming increasingly acceptable for man’s (and woman’s!) best friend to join in at more and more public places and events. If you’re planning your wedding and want to include your furry pal (or pals) 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 dog
- 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 dog’s image in the wedding décor/theme (ex: favors, place cards, cake topper, 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 at the reception, you’ll need to be cautious and plan ahead. There are some critical points to first seriously contemplate:
Consider your dog’s personality – Would your dog be relaxed and well-behaved enough to handle his assigned role in the wedding? Does he get fearful in new situations or around crowds? Do you have a hyper dog who likes to jump up to greet people? Does he bark incessantly? If any of these are true, reconsider the role you’ve chosen for your pet and perhaps include his image or presence in simpler ways at your wedding.
Train accordingly – Take your dog to the venue before the actual wedding day and practice his walk/task many times. Reward his behavior when he performs his duty so he’ll be ready and willing to repeat it on the big day.
Choose an outdoor venue – Most religious and indoor venues will not allow pets other than service animals inside their facilities. Also, there’s a good chance your dog will feel more comfortable and welcomed in an outside setting. Outdoor or tented wedding events tend to be more relaxed and present the feeling that all the traditional rules don’t necessarily apply.
Advise your guests that your pooch will be there – Some guests may have allergies or fears of dogs, especially children.
Clean him up – Give your dog 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!
Feed him well – Be sure arrangements have been made for ample DOG food and water for your pup during the event. Don’t encourage or allow your dog to sample ‘people food’ or he could easily become ill during your special day.
Choose a chaperone for your dog – Never leave him unattended during the big day. Have an attendant, a family member or a designated friend or two take responsibility for your dog during the wedding celebration. Or consider making prior arrangements for dog-sitting and having a friend drive your dog home midway during the event.
We’ve filmed 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 six of their pooches in their fantastic wedding at the Ashford Estate, even having all six walk down the aisle!
And Kim and Matt’s laid back hound, Walter, was very involved in their wedding day, getting ready with the guys, joining in on the photo shoot and the couple’s romantic stroll around the estate and 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!
June 6th, 2019
by Kristi Chapman
in Tips & Ideas