On your wedding day, you want to be surrounded by those you love the most: friends, family, and often the furry friend who has been your stalwart companion during your single years.
It’s only natural to want to include your dog as you celebrate starting this new chapter in your life.
With a little preparation and planning, you can include your dog in your wedding.
Make sure your dog is a welcome guest
Once you’ve decided you want your dog in your wedding, make sure the venue you choose is puppy friendly.
After all, you don’t want to show up on the big day, dog in tow, only to find out your dog can’t be included on the guest list.
If your dog’s presence is a dealbreaker, be sure you run their presence past any potential venues before signing anything (or putting down a deposit).
In addition, make sure the wedding location is somewhere your dog wants to be.
Getting married at sea? Make sure your dog handles boats well.
Destination wedding? Look into the pitfalls of traveling with your dog (especially if you’re going out of the country).
Include dog in your wedding grooming plan
You’re not the only one who’s going to want to look their best.
While you’re getting your hair cut and styled, your dog can benefit from a thorough bath, brushing, nail trim, maybe even add some fragrance and a fancy outfit.
A nail trim and buff, especially, can be beneficial; after all, an excited puppy can jump on a bride (or unsuspecting guest) and damage the dress.
An appointment with the groomer can even help with planning for the big day — you can get your groom groomed and your puppy pedi’ed at the same time.
Include dog in your wedding photography
When choosing a good wedding photographer, take into account things like budget, style, previous work and personality.
Another big thing to discuss? The presence of your pet.
You want to make sure your photographer of choice is comfortable with dogs and with the challenges of photographing an animal (who may or may not have the best attention span or ability to sit still).
Weddings can be full of unexpected surprises, and pets can be unpredictable. You don’t want to risk your precious memories to an unprepared photographer.
Appoint a wedding day dog handler
Designate a friend or a member of the wedding party who knows your dog to be his handler during the wedding and reception.
This frees you up to enjoy your first dance, cutting the cake and other big moments.
You want to enjoy every moment without having to cut out every now and again to make sure your pup is walked. Not only should the handler be someone you and your dog trust, the person also should be someone familiar with your dog’s needs. This is especially important if your dog is on medication, or has a special diet (after all, some wedding guests might be tempted to feed your adorable friend under the table).
You also want to make sure the handler is someone you’d enjoy having in your immediate orbit all day. If you’re headed straight for the honeymoon after the wedding, your handler should either be the person who will be dog sitting for you or know the protocol for handing off your dog to the sitter.
Wedding day doggy dining
Your wedding will be filled to the brim with fabulous food but don’t forget to feed your dog!
If you plan on giving your pup his own plate of your carefully chosen dinner, make sure to double check with the chef that it’s dog-friendly.
Otherwise, bring your dog dinner from his food stash or a pre-made special meal he can enjoy while your guests dine.
If you don’t want your dog to eat wedding food, make sure you tell your guests not to sneak him any treats. And be sure to keep him away from any chocolate cake!
A little extra prep and your furry friend will celebrate your big day right by your side. If only the honeymoon could be that easy!
— A. Lynne Rush