Ask any pet owner and they’ll tell you that their furry friends are more like family. So when it comes to one of the biggest milestones in your life, it’s a no-brainer that couples would of course want to share their big day with their dogs as well!
Like any aspect of wedding planning, working Fido into the day’s events is doable, but it’s important to do a little legwork in advance to make sure you and your pet are set up for success. Here are some dos and don’ts for including your dog in your wedding (plus some adorable pictures snapped at our venues showing that it can be done!).
Do Think About What is Best for Your Dog, and Not Just for You
Sure, you want your pup right by your side on your wedding day. But before you get too far into planning his grand entrance, think about what the experience will be like for them (and your guests!).
Does your pet get stressed easily in unfamiliar situations? Do they have anxiety or become aggressive with people they don’t know? If the answer is yes, putting them front and center at an event like this is probably not the best thing for them, or for you.
Remember, you’re going to be pretty busy that day, so you will most likely be entrusting another person to be their main caregiver. So even if you’re always able to calm down your pet, think about how it will be for them when you’re off getting ready or taking photos.
If you ultimately decide not to bring your pet to the venue, you could always consider dressing up in your wedding garb afterward for an outdoor photo shoot with your photographer and have a do-over with your doggo. Just think – it will give you another chance to wear that dress again!
Don’t Forget to Ask Your Venue What Their Rules are When It Comes to Pets
If you’re tying the knot in your backyard, you certainly won’t have to deal with any restrictions on where your dog is allowed. However, most venues will have some sort of rules in place of what they require when bringing a pet onto the premises.
Here at Saphire Event Group, we happily allow couples to have their dogs participate in their wedding ceremony and photos, as long as both take place outside. Due to health code restrictions, we’re not permitted to have animals inside the buildings (except for service dogs), so we require that someone is assigned to look after the dog while it is on the property, and take the dog home after the formal photos are concluded.
Make sure to check with your venue to see what they require when it comes to having pets on site, as it could differ from one place to another.
Do Choose the Right Person to Take Charge of Doggy Duty on the Day Of
While taking care of your furry friend is an extremely important job, you also might want to consider having someone who isn’t an essential part of your wedding as Fido’s keeper on the day of.
Your wedding party will be busy throughout the day and risk getting pulled in a million different directions, so having a groomsman or bridesmaid be responsible for your “dog of honor” may not be the best idea. Also, as cute as it may be for a young member of your wedding party to take the leash, you may want to refrain from having a flower girl or ring bearer as the sole keeper of your pet. Consider choosing someone that you trust, but who doesn’t already have a super important role in your big day (making sure they’re comfortable with dogs would also be a big requirement!).
You probably also want to meet with them prior to the wedding to discuss the details, especially if they haven’t met your pet previously. Better yet, consider hiring a reputable pet sitter so that all your friends and family can just relax on the day of!
Do Go with the Flow
Dogs are like babies in a way – they’re unpredictable! By including your pup in the ceremony, you’re accepting the fact that they may not be a completely sweet and perfectly behaved angel all day (and that’s okay!).
Make sure to manage your expectations for your pet and be willing to laugh when something doesn’t go exactly how you thought it might. You may have spent some extra dollars from your floral budget on a beautiful collar for your dog to wear that they could end up hating and shake off within minutes, or you might have been dead set on having them perfectly posed in your photos and all they want to do is pull off in another direction.
We’ve seen some pups that get so excited when they see their owners coming down the aisle that they can’t help but jump up practically in their arms! While it makes for a great pic and is sure to give your guests a laugh, some couples may not be so keen on having their dogs pounce all over their wedding dress or suit.
Just keep in mind that even the best-behaved animal can go rogue, so it’s important to laugh it off and enjoy the moment with your furry friend and not worry too much about them delivering a perfect performance.
Don’t Miss Your Chance to Incorporate Your Pet in Other Ways
Bummed that you won’t be able to canoodle with your canine at the wedding? There are lots of other ways to celebrate your pet from afar but still have them be part of your celebration!
Consider working them into your stationery or signage, like your invitation or menu card. On the day of the wedding, you could have custom coasters or cocktail napkins adorned with your pup’s adorable face (we love The Emerald Hound’s line of fine paper goods and decor focused on cute pooches!).
Or consider ordering a cake topper that features a cute nod to your dog – Etsy has a ton of options for a variety of styles.
Having a signature cocktail? Do your hound the honor of naming it after them, complete with a cute sign at the bar.
Finally, send your guests home with a sweet treat for their canine companions with a dog treat to-go station. A play on a traditional candy bar, you can stock different-sized jars with an assortment of doggy treats, complete with custom bags adorned with your dog’s insignia.
Ultimately when considering dogs at weddings, what matters most is the comfort and safety of not only your pet, but you too!
Featured Image: Lauren Dobish Photography
Dog Wedding Photo Gallery
All photos taken at Saphire Event Group wedding venues