pets in weddings

Pooches and picture perfect weddings

Turning Points 3 min read

Fun ways to include your pup in your nuptials

Are you planning your wedding and want to include your pet in the festivities? Pets are a part of the family, so incorporating them into your wedding is a natural fit. Here are some tips for integrating your dog into your wedding. Congratulations and happy planning!

Make sure your dog is a good fit

Not all dogs are people-friendly and can handle the commotion and excitement of big crowds. Sociable, outgoing dogs usually do better at weddings compared to high-strung, nervous dogs. Use your judgment, and consider the health and age of your dog. It may be difficult for senior dogs or dogs with health conditions to participate in your wedding.

Find a pet-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 make sure you inquire with the venue before signing any contracts.

Be respectful of your guests and wedding party. Let them know that your dog will be included in the wedding. Some people suffer from pet allergies so make sure you add this information to your wedding invitations.

Include a pet theme in your wedding

  • 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. This could 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 signage for the ceremony and reception.

 Say “cheese” (or “woof”)

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

Head down the aisle

  • 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

Final tips

Before your wedding day, practice with your dog as much as possible. 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, make sure they feel comfortable handling dogs, especially large dogs.

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 are on their best behavior on the big day.

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.

Lastly, have fun and keep a sense of humor about you. Pets 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.

Photos courtesy of Nick and Sarah Porter

Golden retriever standing in front of bride and groom on wedding day

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