Hey there, fellow pet lovers! When I got married, I didn’t have my rescue dog Sasha by my side. But if I could do it all over again, I would definitely include her. I truly understand why couples want their beloved pets to be a part of their special day. After all, pets hold such an important place in our lives, so why not have dogs in your wedding party?!
So here’s my advice to all you lovebirds out there: If you’re considering having your furry friends by your side, go for it! Just remember to keep an open mind and understand that not everything may go exactly as planned on the day. As long as you remain relaxed and go with the flow, including your pets can be the best!
However, let’s not forget the most important aspect – your pet’s well-being. If you suspect that your dog may not enjoy the experience due to anxiety or easily getting overwhelmed, it’s essential to prioritise their needs over your desires. Their comfort and happiness should always come first.
Let me share a heartwarming story from my journey as a celebrant. When I was training to become a wedding celebrant, I was told to steer clear of including pets in ceremonies due to their unpredictable nature and potential for distractions.
But life always has a way of surprising us, doesn’t it? In my very first booking as a celebrant, the couple insisted on having not just one, but all three of their adorable dogs participate in their special day. I found myself at a crossroads. As a celebrant, my role is to guide and facilitate, not to impose my own preferences on couples. So, the dogs got the green light!
On the big day, those furry bundles of joy walked down the aisle alongside the bridesmaids, behaving impeccably for the most part. We even had a little trick up our sleeves to keep them well-behaved – a stash of doggie treats hidden cleverly in a nearby flower pot. It worked like a charm! Although, at one point, Birdie the Staffy couldn’t resist seeking some attention from her owners. It didn’t distract from the ceremony; it only added to its authenticity and charm.
There are so many fun roles your dog can play, and it all depends on their abilities and personality.
First off, imagine your dog confidently strutting down the aisle, stealing hearts as they take on the role of a flower girl or page boy. It’s a sight that will melt even the coldest of hearts, especially when they give you or your partner a hug at the end of the aisle! Keep in mind that this might require some training, and not all dogs will be suitable for this task.
Another option is to have your pup on a lead, walking alongside one of your beloved bridal/wedding party members. They’ll add an extra touch of charm as they make their way down the aisle. Don’t forget to inform your bridal party about your plans in advance. This way, they can be prepared, especially if any of them have allergies and need to take necessary precautions.
If you’re feeling extra adventurous, why not go all out and crown your dog as the “best man” or “maid of honour”? After all, it’s your wedding day, and you have the freedom to do whatever you want.
Before finalising your plans, double-check with the venue to ensure they are pet-friendly. It would be a total buzz kill to arrive on your wedding day only to find out that pets are not allowed. Confirming this beforehand will save you from any last-minute surprises. Additionally, take a moment to think about where your dog will spend the night. If the venue doesn’t accommodate pets, you’ll need to explore nearby pet-friendly accommodation.
Having a rehearsal is key to ensuring a smooth-running ceremony. While it won’t guarantee perfection on the big day, it will certainly help identify any potential issues in advance. For example, during the rehearsal, you might discover that your dog has a strong desire to be with their owner instead of sitting in their designated position or that they tend to bark frequently. Addressing these challenges beforehand will make the actual day much smoother.
Consider how you’ll transport your furry friend to the venue. Ensure that you have a secure and comfortable method of transportation for them. This might involve having a designated person responsible for their safe journey or making arrangements with a pet transportation service if needed.
Your furry friend deserves to be treated like the VIP they are on your big day. Just like any other crucial member of the wedding squad, your doggie should have their very own emergency kit. Think of it as their canine survival pack, ready to tackle any unexpected woof-tastrophes.
Start with water and snacks to keep their tails wagging and tummies satisfied. Throw in some drool-worthy treats because, hey, it’s a celebration. You’ll need their lead. Next, don’t forget the waste bags! We all know nature calls at the most inconvenient times, and you wouldn’t want your pup’s potty break to turn into a fashion faux-paw. Don’t overlook any medications your four-legged buddy might need.
It’s a good idea to have them well-exercised before the ceremony to help manage their energy levels and ensure they’re calm and content throughout the day. Give them a solid dose of exercise to keep their paws on the ground and their excitement in check. A tired dog is a content dog.
When including dogs in your wedding, it’s good to consider the comfort of all your guests. While many people adore dogs, some guests may have allergies, fears, or simply feel uncomfortable around them.
Maybe let your guests know your plans beforehand, either on the invitations or just by chatting with them, about the presence of dogs at your wedding. This way, they can make informed decisions and take necessary precautions.
Tell your photographer so they are prepared and don’t miss any crucial shots. They may even have some ideas on how to incorporate your dog into your photos.
Choose photo locations that are safe and comfortable for your dog. Opt for spots that allow your dog to move freely and explore their surroundings while still staying within the frame.
Plan your photo sessions with your dog in mind. Dogs, like humans, can become tired or overwhelmed, so schedule breaks for them to rest and recharge. This will help keep their energy levels up and ensure their cooperation throughout the photography sessions.
Consider incorporating props and accessories that highlight your dog’s presence in the photos. For example, you can have your dog wear a flower crown, a special bandana, or even a tiny tuxedo or dress. These little touches can add an extra dose of cuteness and help your dog stand out in the pictures.
DON’T forget to have treats, treats, and more treats! Treats are like magic wands for dogs. Use them to reward good behaviour, redirect their attention, or bribe them (yes, I said it!) for those perfect photo moments. Additionally, bring their favorite toys or squeakers to grab their attention and encourage them to look in the right direction for those adorable shots.
Some of the most heartwarming and authentic photos come from capturing candid moments between you, your partner, and your dog. Let your photographer know that you value these natural interactions and emotions. Whether it’s a playful chase, a gentle snuggle, or a walk together, these candid moments will beautifully showcase the bond you share with your furry companion.
Let’s talk about the absolute cuteness factor of dog wedding outfits! There’s something undeniably heartwarming about seeing a pup all dressed up, especially in a dashing tuxedo or a charming bow tie. The key to a successful dog wedding outfit is a balance between style and your dog’s comfort.
Take into consideration the weather conditions on your wedding day. If it’s going to be a warm or hot day, opt for lighter fabrics and breathable materials that won’t cause your pup to overheat.
When it comes to adding a touch of natural beauty, floral accessories can be a wonderful choice. Consider a delicate flower wreath or a collar adorned with a single bloom. It’s a lovely way to incorporate your dog into the floral theme of your wedding. However, it’s crucial to inform your florist about your plans. Some flowers and berries can be toxic to dogs, so your florist can recommend safe options that will keep your furry friend out of harm’s way.
To ensure your dog looks their absolute best, schedule a grooming session close to the wedding day. A fresh haircut, trimmed nails, and a clean coat will make them shine in their outfit. Plus, they’ll be smelling delightful.
On your wedding day, the last thing you need is added stress, especially when it comes to your beloved dog. To ensure a worry-free day, consider hiring someone to take care of your furry friend’s needs. This dedicated person can handle various tasks, such as dressing your dog in their wedding attire, ensuring they arrive at the ceremony on time, and providing them with food and water throughout the day.
In addition to the logistical responsibilities, this designated caretaker can take your dog on a nice, long walk before the ceremony. This will help burn off excess energy, making it more likely for your dog to remain calm and well-behaved during the ceremony. A tired pup is often a well-behaved pup!
Having someone responsible for your dog’s well-being will not only alleviate your concerns but also allow you to fully relax, knowing that your dog is in capable hands and receiving the attention they deserve.
When selecting the right person for this important role, choose someone who knows your dog well and understands their needs. It could be a trusted friend or family member who has a close bond with your furry friend or an experienced pet handler. Make sure this person is familiar with your dog’s behavior and can handle any unexpected situations that may arise.
For recommendations on professional pet handlers in Newcastle and the Hunter, see my Little Black Book.
In conclusion, including your dog in your wedding party is a heartwarming and delightful decision that adds an extra layer of love and joy to your special day. However, it’s important to approach it with thoughtful planning and consideration.
Keep in mind that dogs have their own unique personalities and agendas. They may not always follow the script, and that’s perfectly okay! Embrace the spontaneity and go with the flow.
Trust in your photographer’s expertise to capture candid and heartwarming moments.
With proper preparation a flexible mindset, you’ll create a day filled with beautiful memories that will warm your hearts for years to come.