Adorable Ways To Include Your Dog In Your Wedding Day
Roger Caras, television personality and President of the ASPCA from 1991 to 1999, said “Dogs are not our whole life, but they make our lives whole.” It’s true that our canine friends often complete our lives. When you get married, it’s no wonder that you want to include your fur-baby on your most special day. Unfortunately, it’s not as simple as just bringing your dog to the wedding and expecting things to go well.
It’s going to take planning and foresight to make sure that your dog doesn’t disrupt your special moment and has a good day. Here are some ideas on making your dog part of your wedding and some things to think about before you get too far into the details.
Your wedding day is about you, so remember to consider that your dog may steal the show. It’s natural to want to make your four-legged fur-baby part of every moment of your life.
If you’re taking pictures for save-the-date or wedding announcements, dress up your dog and make them part of it. Add accessories that match your outfits. Get the dog groomed before the pictures to make sure he’s photo-ready. You might also want to practice beforehand with an amateur photographer to help your dog learn to sit still and figure out how to get him to respond to the camera. Treats will go a long way toward helping him look up and look energized.
Include your dog on your invitations, either in a picture or making them part of the announcement. You could create custom postage stamps at one of the official vendors of the United States Post Office. If you use a seal, have one custom created of your dog’s face or paw print. It will look as if Spot has given you his stamp of approval.
In the Ceremony
There are many ways your fur-baby can take part in the wedding ceremony:
- Spend a few quiet moments with your dog before you walk down the aisle. Dogs relieve stress, so these few minutes could help calm you.
- Get ready together. Have your fur-baby in the room while you’re getting dressed. Dress up your little guy to be picture and video ready and match your attire.
- Have your dog carry the rings or the flowers. Let them walk with the flower girl or ring bearer. Make sure everyone practices ahead of time.
- Carry your dog instead of a bouquet.
- Have your dog escort you down the aisle. If you have warring parents or no parents, this could be an acceptable happy medium where no one’s feelings get bent out of shape.
- If your dog can’t be with you, carry a photo of your dog with you.
- Wear a piece of jewelry that remembers your dog.
You’ll want to have a go-bag for Fido that includes potty bags, water, bowls, food, treats and anything that will help him be more comfortable during your wedding. It could be a long day, so remember to plan times for him to nap.
At the Reception
Even if your dog attends your wedding, you may not want or be able to have him at the reception. It might be nice for your dog to be able to go to a room and relax after all the excitement. Of course, if your dog is a party-animal, he might enjoy attending the reception.
- Include your dog in your first dance.
- Have a cocktail or appetizer named in honor of your dog.
- Include a picture of your dog at the bride’s table or somewhere in the hall.
- Offer dog-related photo props at your photo booth to honor Fido.
- Give your fur-baby his own table and food, with lots of water to make sure he’s comfortable.
- Look for a wedding cake topper that displays your dog’s breed along with a happy couple.
After the wedding, send thank-you notes that include a family photo that includes your dog.
Things to Consider Before Bringing Your Dog to the Wedding
If you want your dog to be part of your ceremony and/or reception, then you’re going to have to do some research and consideration. Even the most well-trained dogs may have problems in a ceremony with hundreds of people in a strange location. Here are some things to think about.
Does the Venue Accept Dogs?
Check with both the reception hall and the venue of the ceremony to make sure you can bring your dog. A cathedral may have reservations about pets being inside while you’re getting ready. The reception hall may have regulations that prevent animals. There may also be legal considerations. Don’t assume that your venue is pet-friendly.
Even a pet-friendly venue could have hazards. Your outdoor wedding next to a beautiful lake is the perfect playtime for your Labrador or retriever. What dog doesn’t love chasing squirrels? He won’t care that it’s your special day as he takes off after some wildlife. You may avoid the mud puddle, but your dog won’t care about getting his paws wet. Then, he’ll want to jump on your immaculate, white dress.
Is Your Dog Suited to a Wedding?
Think about what your dog will be subjected to at your wedding. Is your dog’s temperament going to make the day more or less stressful for you? A high-energy dog may not be able to sit quietly while you get ready and go through the ceremony. If your dog is shy, it might be difficult for him (or her) to enjoy your day.
Who Will Attend to Your Dog During the Wedding?
Your wedding party and immediate family may be very busy taking care of wedding things and can’t help with your dog. Will your dog accept commands from someone else or just from the people he knows? You may want to hire a dog handler or appoint someone specifically to manage dog walks, meals and other issues that will come up.
You don’t want your dog getting sick from eating chocolate cake or trying to drink a glass of punch that got spilled. Think about how you will manage your dog amidst the dozens of hazards that will come up. People may try to feed your dog food off their plate. Your dog may want to eat the flowers or pee on the trellis. The venue may have put pesticide down that isn’t safe for pets. Think about all the ways it could go wrong and anticipate the risks.
Put Your Dog Through Training
When your dog knows a few commands, sit, stay, shake and heel, it makes it a lot easier to get your dog to do what you expect at the wedding. You’ll need to rehearse for the big day and let the handler work with your dog. Remember that no matter how much training you do, your dog still has a mind of his own and may do exactly what you aren’t expecting.
Tell Your Wedding Party
It might be hard to believe, but some people are afraid of dogs. You need to make sure that the flower girl, ring bearer, officiate and everyone in the wedding party will be comfortable around your canine buddy. You may have grand plans of having your canine buddy walk beside the flower girl, but the flower girl may have different ideas. It’s a good idea to bring Fido to the rehearsal to let him sniff around and practice his cues and let everyone get comfortable around him.
Have a Game Plan With Alternate Arrangements
Whether you’re having a destination wedding or not, you need to think about Plan B. What if your dog gets sick on your wedding day? What if he seems anxious and uncomfortable when you’re walking down the aisle? What if your handler gets sick? Keep your vet’s number handy. Have an alternate handler who has plenty of treats.
Expect the Unexpected
Dogs will be dogs. If Fido doesn’t act appropriately, just take a deep breath and relax. You’ll have a great story about the time your best friend pooped while you were lighting a candle at your wedding.