If you’ve decided on having dogs at your ceremony, there are a few special considerations you’ll want to make in advance of the big day—even if your pet is well-behaved. Here’s what you’ll need to think about:
Check to make sure the venue allows dogs in all areas that you will use for your celebration. This might also dictate how you pick your wedding venue or which parts of the venue you might have to restrict the party too.
Ensure any information about pets at the event is mentioned in your venue contract. Watch out for specific clauses like requiring a handler at all times, additional fees to have your pets onsite, or conditions on where pets must be during your wedding ceremony. Watch out for the fine print.
Are your pets going to be part of your wedding ceremony or only in photos? Who will take care of them while you get ready? These critical decisions are yours to make as a couple to ensure your pets are taken care of while you’re busy. Have a separate schedule for your pets and someone in charge of ensuring that’s adhered to.
Of course, you want your dogs in the photos of your big day, but check with your photographer on the best times, locations, and poses. Positively confirm that they are pet-friendly, plus discuss how they plan to handle a pet that simply does not want to be the perfect model.
No, this cannot be you. Find a member of your wedding party that can be responsible for your fur babies while you indulge in your big day. Leaving them in someone else’s care can be anxiety-inducing, so make sure this is a person both you and your pet trust. If your pooch is fussy, consider asking more than one person (or a professional!) to take on the role.
A trip to the doggy spa is in order if you'd like your fur buddy to look as dapper as you do for the wedding celebration. Make sure to schedule the appointment well in advance—especially if it’s something your beloved pet enjoys and will help them relax ahead of the party. Now they can look, smell, and be their best in the vicinity of your guests.
If they want to be part of the wedding party, they’ve got to look the part. You can find great outfit ideas for your pets—just ensure they will be comfortable wearing what you choose and that it aligns with your wedding theme or colors. Look out for any small parts that might pose a choking hazard.
Ensure you’ve also assigned someone to walk with your dog down the aisle if your pup is part of the day’s proceedings. All the moving parts can unnerve any canine, no matter how well-trained. And remember to carry a doggy treat bag with goodies to save the day when things go awry.
Even if your pet isn’t part of the actual ceremony, there are some creative ways to include your pets. Consider naming a cocktail after them or have their pictures at different tables. Some couples include their pets on their wedding cake toppers and even in their venue decor, too. Your beloved pet can also welcome guests at the door with one of your bridal party members.
Your fur babies might be like family to you, but they could also be allergy triggers for some of your guests. Keep every wedding guest informed that your pets will be present and ask ahead if you need to plan an alternative seating strategy for them.
If this is the first time your dogs are donning such an important role in a social gathering, you may want to do a few dry runs to gauge what will work best for your event. This will also prepare you for any unexpected distractions on the day of. Not to mention, your dogs will thank you for the heads up.
If you’re thinking about having dogs at your wedding, accept that unexpected accidents are par for the course. Speak with other couples, your wedding planner, and your venue organizer on what possible scenarios may arise and how you can best address them. But enjoy the day and allow your furry friends to as well. The best-made plans are the ones where everyone is having a good time.