How to Include Every Type of Pet In Your Wedding

Curious about how pets fit into your big day? Read on to find out how to include every type of pet in your wedding—and how to determine if it’s the right fit for you, your pet, and your guests.

By Deanna deBara

couple includes pet on wedding day
Photo by Alex Shevchik

Your wedding is a big day for you and your SO—and maybe your pet. Depending on your pet and their personality, including your pet (or pets!) in your nuptials can make your wedding day feel more complete (not to mention make for some great family photos). If you can’t imagine your day without your lovable canine, cat, or other critters, read on. Here’s exactly how to include every type of pet in your day.

First, make sure your pet wants to be included in your wedding.

Before you include your pet in your wedding plans, you need to ask yourself whether your pet actually wants to be involved. Some pets are social, friendly, and great with people. Other pets are nervous in crowds or around a lot of noise. The stress of the wedding day could cause them to act out.

Before you decide to include your pet in your nuptials, ask yourself:

  • Does my pet react well to new situations and environments?
  • Does my pet like people—including people they don’t know?
  • Does my pet react well to crowds and loud noises?
  • Do I think my pet can be well behaved for the entirety of the wedding?
  • Do I think my pet would enjoy being at the wedding?
  • Does my pet behave with small children?

You know your pet best. If the answer to any of those questions is “no,” you might want to reconsider including your pet in your actual wedding.

No matter what type of critter you consider part of the family, here's your guide to making them part of your day.

How To Include Dogs In Your Wedding

Dogs are a human’s best friend—and if you’re a pup parent, when you’re walking down the aisle, you’ll probably want your best friend by your side.

There are a number of different ways you can include your dog in your wedding.

  • As the ring bearer. If your dog is well-trained and follows commands, make him or her the ring bearer. Attach the ring to your dog’s collar. Then, you can either have a member of your wedding party walk him down the aisle or have your SO use the “come” command and have your pup cruise down the aisle on his own.
  • As a greeter. If your dog loves people—and if your guests love dogs—you can also assign your dog the role of wedding greeter! Have a friend or family member walk your dog around as people are finding their seats. What better way to kill time before a wedding than with a few puppy snuggles? NOTE: This role is best suited for more casual weddings.
  • In your wedding photos. If your dog doesn’t do well in large crowds but you still want to include him in the wedding, carve out time before or after the ceremony to take official wedding photos of you, your partner, and your pup. If you can, stage the photos away from the guests so your dog doesn’t feel nervous or overwhelmed.
Kelly and Sergio Photography InlineImage 1080x720 Photo Credit // Kelly and Sergio Photography

How To Include Cats In Your Wedding

Incorporating a cat into your wedding can be a bit trickier. Cats tend to be more independent—and less social—than dogs, but if you have a particularly friendly, calm cat, here are a few ways to involve your feline friend in your wedding:

  • As the ring bearer. As mentioned, you can attach your ring to your dog’s collar—and you can do the same thing for your cat! Because cats typically don’t respond well to commands, if you decide to have your kitty act as ring bearer, have someone walk them down the aisle on a leash (if they’re used to this) or carry them down.
  • From the audience. If your cat is more on the chill side, she might enjoy watching the wedding from the audience. Give a comfy pillow or cat bed to a trusted friend or family member and have them hold your cat during the ceremony. Just keep in mind, this situation is ideal for a very relaxed (even lazy!) cat. If your cat is more on the active side, she could cause a ruckus trying to escape from her seat.
  • In your wedding photos. The same concept is true for cats as it is for pups—if your kitty isn’t great around people, carve out some quiet alone time with the photographer to get a few family shots with your pet.

How To Include Small, Furry Animals In Your Wedding

Have a furry friend that’s more on the unconventional side? No worries! Guinea pigs, ferrets, hamsters, mice—you can include any small, furry animals in your wedding—as long as you take the right precautions.

If you’re going to include a small, furry animal at your wedding, it’s important to always keep them in their cage. The smaller the animal, the easier it is to lose—and if you’re getting married outside, it’s important to protect your pet from any predators in the area. Also, while you may love your small, furry creature, your wedding guests might not be so enthusiastic.

If you’d like, you can take your pet out for wedding photos (as long as you hold them), but as a general rule of thumb, small, furry animals should be kept in their cages for the entirety of the wedding. If your pet is comfortable around people, put their cage in a high-traffic area (like the guest book table) so your guests can stop by and say hello.

Jessica Bowland Photography InlineImage 1080x720 Photo Credit // Jessica Bowland Photography

How To Include Birds In Your Wedding

As far as pets go, birds might be the easiest to include in your wedding, as long as you follow one cardinal rule (pun intended)—and that’s keeping them in their cage.

Even if your bird is well-trained, you don’t want to allow them to fly loose at your wedding. Not only might it make some guests uncomfortable (not everyone wants a bird to land on their shoulder), but you also risk your pet flying away. And, let’s be honest—do you really want to spend your wedding day running after your bird as he flies off into the horizon?

If you want to include your bird in your wedding, place their cage somewhere where they’re exposed to all the action. You can even buy a decorative cage just for the occasion. Just be mindful of your bird’s habits. If they have a habit of squawking, you’ll probably want to move them to an enclosed area before the ceremony—unless you want your vows interrupted by a bird call, that is.

How To Include Reptiles In Your Wedding

If you have a pet snake, lizard, or another reptile that’s captured your heart, you can incorporate them into your wedding—but just make sure to proceed with caution. Of all the pet categories, reptiles tend to be the pets that make people the most nervous. So, similarly to small, furry animals, it’s important to make sure your reptile is caged for the wedding.

But also like small, furry animals, if your reptile feels comfortable around people, feel free to put their cage in an area where they can feel like a part of the festivities (and curious guests can say hello—at a safe distance).

Other Things to Consider

No matter what kind of pet you have, there are a few things you’ll want to consider before deciding whether to incorporate them in your wedding:

  • Allergies. Before you include your pet in your wedding, it’s important to confirm none of your guests have severe pet allergies. If they do, bringing your pet to the wedding can, at best, be a huge inconvenience for them—and, at worst, can put their health in danger.
  • Your guest’s reaction. You should also confirm that none of your guests have a significant fear of animals. If they do, it’s something to be aware of—and make sure that you create plenty of distance between them and your pet.
  • Shedding. Some pets shed—and if you have a pet who sheds, it’s important to keep that in mind. Otherwise, you might find your wedding attire covered in pet hair (not a great look!).
  • Your venue’s pet policy. You might want nothing more to include your pet in your wedding—but if your wedding venue has a policy against it, that’s a no-go.

How To Include Pets Outside Of Your Wedding Day

If for some reason, you can’t include your pets in your wedding day, there are still ways to include them in the fun!

  • Include pets in your engagement shoot. If you can’t have your pet at your wedding, they won’t be in your wedding pictures—but you can have them in your engagement photos. Including pets in your engagement shoot is a great way to include them in the excitement of your upcoming nuptials.
  • Include framed photos of your pet at the wedding. Add a few framed photo of you, your SO, and your pet on your welcome table or by your guest book to showcase the love you feel for your pet on your wedding day—even when they’re not there.

Your pets are a huge part of your life and they can be a huge part of your wedding, too. Consider your guests and put the comfort and safety of your pets first to make it a success.

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