Our dogs are our best friends. Though they’re in our lives for such a short time, the relationships we have with our pups are unique. What better way than to celebrate one of the most important days of your life than by planning a dog-friendly wedding?
Before you leap into adding your dog to your wedding plans, consider these issues.
Make a joint decision
Talk to your partner. You may have always dreamed of having a dog ring bearer or a dog flower girl, but that idea could be a deal-breaker for your significant other. This should be one of many decisions you make together as you plan your big day.
Be prepared to compromise. Rather than have your dog front and center while you take your vows and cut the cake, consider options to have your dog attend a portion of the festivities.
Consider letting your dog greet the guests as they arrive and then have a pet-sitter whisk your pup home when the ceremony starts. If you’re having a casual, outdoor reception, consider having a pet-sitter bring your dog for that portion of the event. Maybe you’ll decide to include your dog in your wedding photos.
Whatever you choose, if you decide to include your dog, be sure to have someone there who is responsible for caring for your pup. You’ll have enough on your mind.
Choose the right venue
If you decide to include your dog, make sure you select a dog-friendly wedding venue. Before you sign any contracts or pay any deposits, be sure the wedding venue allows dogs.
Some locations, like churches, may prohibit dogs or limit areas where they can be.
But many wedding venues, including hotels and resorts, now welcome pets and offer amenities to make their stay more enjoyable, too.
If you’re getting married outdoors, your dog should be welcome, but double check to make sure the park or beach you plan to use doesn’t prohibit pets.
Find a dog-friendly photographer
Wedding photos and videos are a big part of your day and are designed to help preserve your happiest memories. If you are planning to include your dog in wedding photos, make sure you choose a photographer who is comfortable working with animals.
Let’s face it. Some dogs are hams and welcome the chance to be the center of attention. Other dogs have trouble sitting still and waiting for a photo to be taken.
If you plan to include your dog, again be sure to have a pet-sitter or handler there to wrangle the dog. Let the photographer focus on the people and slip your dog in the frame at the last second.
And don’t get upset if everything isn’t picture perfect. Those pictures that show your dog looking worshipfully at you and your partner rather than at the camera might end up being your favorite.
Be sure to let your guests know if your dog will attend your wedding. Your pup might be the sweetest dog in the world, but some people are afraid of dogs. Others suffer from allergies and will be miserable if they end up sitting too close to your dog.
Be aware of your guests’ needs and have a plan that will accommodate both your guests and your dog. If your pup is part of the wedding party, then those guests may have to sit five or 10 or more rows back.
If you have nervous or fearful guests, you may need to commit to keeping your dog on a leash or having a handler by the dog’s side at all times to monitor your dog’s actions.
Choose dog-safe food
When you select your menu, be sure to avoid foods that are dangerous for dogs like chocolate or grapes. Keep an eye on other risky items like alcohol and nut. Dogs are opportunists. If they see an opportunity to snatch some food or take a few sips from an abandoned wine glass, they usually will.
Make sure your guests know not to feed your dog. It’s all too easy to imagine your dog roaming from table to table scoring treats. Having a designated dog handler will reduce this risk.
So your dog doesn’t feel left out, consider baking a dog-friendly cake just for your pup.
Know your dog
Recognize and respect your pup’s limitations. If your dog is nervous and shy around new people, she likely will be miserable at a dog-friendly wedding ceremony and probably will be happier staying at home.
Even if your dog is outgoing, several hours of activity may be too much.
Focus on enjoying your day and let the dog handler worry about taking care of your pup.
Dog-friendly wedding inspirations
From morning preparations to after-ceremony photo ops, use these visuals to help you prepare to add your best friend in your big day!