Calling all dog owners! No doubt you’re head-over heels in love with that pooch of yours, and you may even be looking for a creative way to include your beloved dog in your wedding. Whether that means a nod to your pet on your save-the-dates or your dog in a fancy dog collar walking down the aisle.
If you are thinking about including your favorite four-legged friend in your wedding ceremony, here are some tips for you:
- The first thing to consider is the personality of your dog. Does she do well in crowds? Is she social or shy? How old is your dog? Will this be physically challenging for her? If the event will be more stressful than fun for your dog, you may want to weigh in how important it is to include her. There are lots of fun ways to honor your pet at the wedding without actually having her there.
- If you’ve decided that Fido is in fact going to make an appearance, the next thing you want to do is make sure that dogs are allowed at your wedding venue. For example, a restaurant wedding would not be an option for you if you wanted to include your pooch. Talk to the officiant of your ceremony as well as the venue to make sure all are comfortable and aware of your plans. You may need to follow some specific rules or pay an extra fee to include them.
- Another place to check in with is your hotel. If you book with a hotel that is dog-friendly you’ll have a place where your dog can relax and get some space from the hustle and bustle of a crazy wedding day. If your dog will tolerate a crate, make sure they have one so they can feel safe.
- Think about what role your dog will play. Will she carry a ring-bearing pillow around her neck or will she simply accompany you down the aisle? Will you want your dog to wear a special collar or leash? There are lots of fun companies such as Mode Dog that can help with fancy dog collars so your dog will feel right at home with the rest of the well dressed attendees. You can find all sorts of collars online to match your wedding colors and styles…here are a few of my favorites.
Your pup will feel like a diva in this Luxurious Bling Collar
Have fun with Pink Polka Dots
Flower Collar Accessory
Isn’t this dapper Bow Collar cute?
- Before the wedding day, it’s a good idea to take your dog to visit the space a day or two ahead of time, so you can both be comfortable with how they will behave there, and check out any foreseeable trouble spots.
- Make sure you arrange for care before, during, and after the ceremony and reception, so a handler has specific responsibility for your dog at all times. This should be someone she trusts, so she feels comfortable in an unusual environment. You don’t want to be worrying about your furry child on your wedding day. Make sure the handler has supplies for any accidents, such as doggy bags and paper towels, and that the handler allows for many potty breaks. Also, bring their favorite treat and toy to help distract them if they get upset or squirrly.
- You’ll need portable food and water on hand and to feed and water your dog early and often, since dogs can easily get over stimulated at events like this.
- Make sure to have an exit plan if they can’t sit through the ceremony, or things don’t go as expected on the wedding day.
- Always make sure your dog is on a leash, even if she is very well trained. This will make the guests more comfortable as well as eliminate the dog getting lost during the reception. You also want to be aware of guests with allergies or a fear of dogs.
- One last thing is you might consider wedding insurance, especially with a dog in attendance.
If you choose NOT to bring your pooch to the party, you can still honor her in a number of significant ways. Perhaps she can be part of your engagement shoot, and you can include portraits of the three of you to decorate the reception, put in your save the date cards or wedding announcements. One bride included her dog in a sweet pendent she attached to her bouquet. Another used their dog as inspiration to decorate their wedding menu and napkins, and another used the image of their dog to light up the reception dance floor!
There are so many fun things you can do to include your dog as part of your wedding day festivities, whether or not she is able to actually attend.