How to include your dog in your wedding

Turning Points 3 min read

Are you planning your wedding and want to include your dog in the festivities? Pets are a part of the family, so incorporating them into your wedding is a natural fit. Here are some fun ways to include your pup in your nuptials.

Make sure your dog is a good fit to join the wedding party

Not all dogs are people-friendly and can handle the commotion and excitement of big crowds. Sociable, outgoing dogs usually do better at weddings than high-strung, nervous dogs. Use your judgment and consider your pet’s health and age when considering dogs in weddings. Participating in your wedding may be difficult for seniors or dogs with health conditions.

One Fab Day offers a thorough list of questions to ask yourself before you consider including your dog in your wedding ceremony. If it turns out not to be a great idea to include your furry friend in your nuptials, there are other ways to honor them, even if they cannot be present.

Find a dog-friendly wedding venue

Book a wedding venue that allows pets. Be courteous and follow leash laws and clean up after pets. Many reception locations have a strict no-pet policy, so inquire with the venue before signing any contracts.

Be respectful of your guests and wedding party. Let them know that there will be a dog in the wedding ceremony. Some people suffer from pet allergies, so add this information to your wedding invitations.

Brides Magazine recommends that if you cannot include your dog in the ceremony, consider scheduling a photography shoot with the dog before the wedding or take pictures with them while you get ready on the day.

Include a pet theme in your wedding

There are many opportunities to include photos of your pet in your wedding décor.

  • Create a personalized cake topper that incorporates your pet
  • Include your pet’s photo, an illustration of them, or a breed silhouette image throughout your wedding. Examples include save-the-date cards, invitations, table numbers, centerpieces, and place cards.
  • Post photos of you with your pet on your wedding website, at the venue, and even on the ceremony signage and reception

Dress your dog for the occasion

If your dog is part of the wedding festivities, you’ll want them to look the part. And you might have nearly as much fun choosing your dog’s wedding attire as you did picking yours. You can find dog tuxedos, wedding dresses, and accessories to make your pooch look like a proper princess or a distinguished gentleman. The Knot offers several questions for you to consider when choosing wedding attire for your dog, including the theme or color palette, your dog’s role in the ceremony, and your dog’s temperament.

Get your dog groomed for the big day

Ensure your dog is freshly groomed and coiffed if they will be part of the wedding party.

Include your dog in your wedding photography

Wedding photographer, Sami Kathryn, offers several helpful tips for incorporating your dog in your wedding photographs. She reminds you to bring water and treats to encourage your dog’s attention, and to bring a helper and your patience, as getting a dog to sit still and smile for the camera can be tricky.

  • Hire a wedding photographer who feels comfortable working with dogs and has experience with dogs in wedding photos
  • Mix and match cute, candid poses with your pooch, bride, groom, and wedding party
  • Take solo shots of just your pet

Arrange for someone to be in charge of the dog on your wedding day and afterward

Designate a responsible family member or friend as your dog sitter/handler for the day. You won’t have time to worry about supervising your pet at the wedding.

Final tips as you head down the aisle

Before your wedding day, practice as much as possible with your dog. Include them in the ceremony rehearsal so they feel comfortable walking down the aisle with children and members of your wedding party. If you include children in your wedding, ensure they feel comfortable handling dogs, especially big ones.

  • Have a flower girl or ring bearer walk your dog down the aisle
  • Securely tie wedding rings around the dog’s collar or use a special pillow or pouch for the ring
  • Have your dog announce the bride’s entrance with a “here comes the bride” sign

Wedding planners advise using a leash when walking pets down the aisle, so they don’t run off or disturb guests. You may even want to sign them up for dog obedience classes before the wedding so they’re on their best behavior on the big day.

Lastly, have fun and keep a sense of humor about you. Dogs in weddings can be unpredictable, in both good and bad ways. For instance, they may start barking in the middle of your ceremony. Or they could give you a sweet kiss at the perfect photo opportunity. Whatever happens, having your furry family member there will make the memories that much more cherished. Congratulations and happy planning!

Was this article helpful?

2 min
4 min
5 min
4 min
3 min