How to Include Your Dog in Your Wedding

May 7, 2019

If you have a pup in your life, you no doubt want to include your precious furbaby into the framework of your big day!

Indeed, incorporating a pup – or pack – into your wedding makes for good vibes and exceptionally fun photos. Here are our tips and tricks to planning a dog-friendly wedding. Considering these details will make for less stress on you, your partner and pup when you want to be enjoying sweet moments together…without muddy paw prints.

Incorporate your dog from the beginning

Include your pup in your engagement session and Save the Date mailers. If your furry friend is going to be a guest of honor in the main event, they might as well be represented in the journey from the beginning.

Ask yourself, is your doggo up for the job-o?

Sure, they’re familiar with you and your partner, but can they handle the chaos of the wedding day? How many people are attending and how will your pet respond? Take off your mommy or daddy hat (the one that makes you think that your dog can do no wrong) and get real for a sec. Does your dog get excited or nervous around crowds? Does he or she have crazy puppy energy that could wreak havoc to dainty table settings? Might any anxiety or behavioral problems pop up that make it not worth the effort? Hopefully your pet passes these questions with flying colors, but it’s worth taking a second to really consider this before going forward.

What wedding venues allow dogs?

If you decide that your pup is good to go to be in your wedding party, you need to choose a venue that allows dogs. If your ceremony is indoors, your options are likely far more limited. My recommendations for pet-friendly wedding venues include: TO BE FILLED OUT LATER AND LINKED WITH WEDDING VENUE ARTICLES

Review other venue considerations and limitations

Ask specific questions of the venue about limitations to including your pet. These include if dogs are allowed all day or not. Sometimes venues only allow dogs as part of the ceremony and they must be taken off site during cocktail hour and the reception (times where there is food). You should also make sure there is adequate shade for your furry friend, access to water and the potential to cool down indoors if it’s a scorcher outside. Also think about the possibility of your dog taking a dip in a muddy creek and then giving “souvenirs” in the form of a wet shake or paw prints all over your guests. Finally, consider investing in wedding or pet specific insurance policies to protect from any damages that could be caused.

Designate a handler

When it comes to your wedding day, things go smoother if you have a plan of action set in place and everything falls right in line. Designate a handler for your pup for times when he or she needs to be on leash. Ideally this is a trusted friend who your dog knows but isn’t someone in your wedding party or a VIP guest. You could also consider inviting your dog sitter or dog walker to your wedding and pay them to take good care of your pup.

Consider doggy daycare or a pet sitter for part of the day

Whether the venue allows a dog to be there for a full day or there are limitations, you still might consider giving your pup a break from all of the stimulation by taking him or her to doggy daycare, hiring a sitter or taking them home for half the day. Make a game plan for the handler to get the pup from point A to point B.

Make sure your dog is dressed to the nines (and comfortable)

Don’t forget the details – dress your dog up to standards in a collar and leash that match the wedding color scheme! If it’s a winter wedding, you’re in luck, because your pup gets to wear a dog sweater, and there’s nothing cuter than that.

Get training and dog obedience classes beforehand

Hey, you are taking dance lessons! Why not use the wedding day as a reason to give your dog the training that will help him or her know the rules of the house (and wedding)?

Have plenty of treats on hand

Don’t forget that bribery and rewards make the world go round. You may also consider treats for unruly guests and parents, but that’s a different article all together.

Puppy can’t make it? Have him or her there in a different way

Have a designated time where the whole wedding can FaceTime with your pup …. OK that’s ridiculous. Don’t do that. If your ideal venue won’t allow your dog, you can find other ways to incorporate them into the fun! You could create a puppy emblem for your invitations, use photos of him in the table centerpieces or other décor or even add a dog figurine to your cake topper. This shows your guests how important your dog is to the family while adding memorable personal touches.

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