Southern Utah Wedding Planner, SunRae Planning, is sharing her ultimate wedding planning tips on how to include your dog on your wedding day.
They're always by your side, so why shouldn’t they stand beside you on your wedding day? The day when you make one of the most important decisions that you’ll make in your lifetime, to get married, your fur bestie should be there!
You’re promising to spend your lives together…which also includes spending those years with your four-legged friend.
There are so many fun ways to get your best furry friend involved in your special day, as well as a handful of considerations when deciding what role they will have, how your vendors and venues will accommodate your pooch, and how to best care for their needs, as well as your own, on your wedding day.
Let's dive in and discover the delightful ways to include your dog on your wedding day!
Include Your Dog on Your Wedding Day
Including your furry friend in your wedding can add an extra dose of joy and love to the celebration. From adorable photos to heartwarming moments, having your dog by your side can make your wedding day even more special.
But, how exactly can you include your dog in the festivities?
Questions to Consider
First, you’ll want to consider what role they will play on your wedding day. For example, Pup of Honor, Flower Dog, Ring Bearer or Guest of Honor, etc.
Deciding this depends a lot on your dog’s temperament like are they friendly or aggressive? Do they respond to basic commands in case they need correction? Will they sit still long enough to not be a disturbance while you get married? Are they good on a leash?
All in all great questions to ask yourself before assigning a role to your best furry friend!
Secondly, consider your personality!
If there is a disturbance due to your pup needing extra care, a potty break, etc. will that rock your wedding mojo? Or, are you relaxed enough to let it slide? Will you need a backup person to take the reins while you focus on your beloved? Most importantly, if having your pup involved may cause added stress, are you okay with that?
Talking to Your Venue & Vendors
If you are interested in including your pup on your special day, check with the venue before you book them. You’re going to want to ask what are the venue's rules about pets.
Are they allowed inside or outside? Are there special “relief” stations throughout your venue for when nature calls? Will you be lodging at your venue and if so, do they have pet-friendly accommodations? Will they allow you to familiarize your pet with the venue ahead of time so they can get used to the scents, where to pee, etc?
It’s great to get these questions out of the way first before booking so you don’t run into any surprises on your special day.
When it comes to talking to your vendors, it’s important to let them know your pup is included in your day.
First, let them know in what capacity your pup will be involved and if that will be an issue at all with them servicing your wedding. Is your photographer skilled in making sure your pet can be involved in photos of your choosing? Will your vendor have forms for you to sign in case of an emergency like a bite wound, or a ruined rented item like a peed-on rug, for instance?
Open communication and transparency between you and your vendors will go a long way in making sure your day goes smoothly with your pet included.
Styling Your Pooch
Just like you and your beloved are dressed to the nines, so will your best four-legged friend! So to get them looking fresh, will you take a trip to the groomer ahead of time or groom them at home?
Based on your dog's role on your wedding day, will they be required to wear an accessory, like a ring bearer pillow? And if so, will they keep it on long enough to get down the aisle? Does your dog have a personality for “the full getup” or will they only tolerate a simple collar?
Practicing ahead of time is key.
You know your dog so you know how long it’ll take for them to get comfortable with the styling.
Having a Back-Up Plan
A key to a successful wedding regardless if your pet is included is to anticipate possible issues. However, having your pet involved on your wedding day comes with extra precautions.
Consider: Are any of the flowers or plants used in your wedding or around the venue possibly toxic to your best pal? Are there any local animals or wildlife that might pose a threat to your pooch before, during, or after the ceremony? Are there any foods that may be served at your reception that are toxic to dogs like chocolate, nuts, alcohol, bones, etc.? And how will you prevent guests from feeding your pet?
Consider a Pet Handler
Although you know your pet the best, having a pet handler takes away the stress of worrying about them all day. A pet handler lets you enjoy every part of your wedding day knowing your pet is taken care of.
So, do you have someone that’s comfortable around your dog? Maybe a family member or friend that spends lots of time with you and your pooch? Can they step in for the day to make sure he or she is fed, watered, has some appropriate playtime, and can take bathroom breaks? Are they willing to leave with your pooch, if necessary, if it becomes too much for them during the day? In any case, make sure they are stocked with all the essentials like their favorite toys, treats, a water dish, and some kibble.
What If You Decide that Including Your Dog on Your Wedding Day Isn't a Good Fit?
After all the considerations above, maybe you’ve decided it’s best to leave Fido at home. But, you still want your day to reflect how important they are to you…how?
There are so many options available to honor your best mate...
Include him/her in a photo on your save-the-date card or invitation. Find a cake topper that displays a dog and a happy couple. Use dog-themed accessories like paw-shaped confetti, name a cocktail after him/her, or incorporate their photo into decor elements. Send post-wedding thank-you notes from all three of you including a photo. Wear a piece of jewelry or cuff links celebrating your dog’s breed. Use a variety of photos of them as table cards. Have a custom pair of socks made with his face on them!
All in all... GET CREATIVE
In a perfect scenario, on your perfect day, your four-legged friend is decked out to the nines, well-behaved, and a welcome and revered member of your wedding party!
But let’s be honest…
Dogs are gonna be dogs.
It’s up to you to decide whether or not it will be okay on your special day if they sprint up the aisle during the most tender part of your ceremony, jump on your gleaming white dress with muddy paws, or marks his territory on your groomsman’s shoe. Take a deep breath, take it in stride, and with a good dose of humor. If nothing else it will provide stories for guests and your beloved for years to come.
Happy Planning Lovers!
Jacqueline and The Sunrae Planning Team
INTERESTED IN WORKING WITH SUNRAE PLANNING?