9 Things to Consider When Including Your Dog in Your Wedding Ceremony
Thinking about having your dog in your wedding ceremony? You’ve come to the right place for advice!
Dogs aren’t just pets; they’re family. If you’re reading this, then you know that as much as me. They’ve been with us through thick and thin, and it only makes sense to think about including them on one of the most important days of our lives.
As someone who has helped many couples include dogs in their weddings, I have quite a few practical insights to share that will help you decide if including your furry friend in your big day is the right move for you.
In this article, we’ll go through everything you need to consider when bringing your dog into your wedding festivities, from guest comfort to the possibility of hiring a pet wedding attendant for it all to go off without a hitch. Keep reading to learn all about including your dog in your wedding ceremony!
Dog in Wedding Ceremony: 9 Things to Consider
Now, choosing a venue is an important part of planning your wedding. But it also can affect whether your furry friend can be involved in your big day or not! You really have to consider a venue’s policies regarding pets.
Unfortunately, not all venues are pet-friendly, and those that are often have specific rules and guidelines that you have to follow. Be sure to check ahead of time to make sure that your venue is accommodating of your dog to avoid any unexpected issues or complications.
If you’ve not selected a venue yet, then try to reach out and ask specific questions about pet policies for the ones that you’re considering. Here are some questions I recommend asking:
Are dogs allowed in all areas of the venue, or are there restrictions?
Are there suitable spaces where the dog can relax and calm down if needed?
Are there spaces outdoors for bathroom breaks and exercise during the day?
Understanding the venue’s rules will help you to plan more effectively, ensuring that your four-legged friend will have more of a comfortable and enjoyable experience.
Managing your pet is a whole other topic of discussion if you’re considering having your dog in your wedding ceremony. It can be challenging between the activities, emotions, and excitement your pup may have by being around other guests.
This is where the consideration of hiring a pet wedding attendant becomes invaluable! Here at Wags Down the Aisle, we offer pet wedding attendant services so you can rest assured that your pet is well looked after, safe, and where they need to be at all times.
Pet wedding attendants will often also manage all of your pet’s needs, like feeding, bathroom breaks, and general comfort, allowing you to focus on your special day without constant worry about your pet’s wellbeing.
Having a dedicated attendant for your dog also adds an extra layer of flexibility and adaptability. Let’s be honest; unexpected situations are bound to arise during your big day, and having a professional who can quickly help to manage any pet-related surprises or changes in plans can be so beneficial.
As a dog owner, you’ve probably come to realize that, unfortunately, not everyone feels super comfortable around your furry friend. Each guest at your wedding is going to come with their own unique comfort levels and feelings towards dogs, ranging from enthusiastic affection to those who may want to keep a little bit more distance, and that’s okay.
Striking a balance that respects all attendees’ feelings is crucial for your celebration. To fully take into consideration your guest's comfort, be sure to communicate beforehand that a dog will be part of the ceremony. This way, guests will be able to prepare themselves. Transparency helps in managing expectations and allowing guests to make personal adjustments to help their own comfort for your event.
You can also consider creating a few designated “human-only” spaces throughout the venue where your dog won’t be allowed. This can let guests who might not be 100% comfortable around dogs navigate the space and enjoy the ceremony and reception in a pet-free zone.
There are so many ways to include your dog in your wedding ceremony. Defining a clear role for your pup makes sure that their presence really enhances your big day! Some things to consider when deciding on your dog’s role include their personality, obedience, and how they interact with other people.
Defining a role for your dog during your wedding day can range from being a cute, lively presence (like walking down the aisle with you) to a more passive role (like attending but sitting with a pet wedding attendant).
After you decide on your dog’s role, be sure to communicate this with any relevant vendors or other parties, like photographers, the officiant, venue coordinators if needed, and, of course, a pet wedding attendant if you’ve hired one. This can help to ensure that everyone is on the same page and can plan accordingly.
One of the best parts when it comes to considering if you should have your dog in your wedding ceremony is the doggy attire! Luckily, there are many fun wedding outfits for dogs out there, so really, the world is your oyster.
Deciding on the perfect attire for your dog is essential. Will you have them wear floral collars (a personal fave of mine), or will you have them go all-out and wear something like a mini tuxedo?
Be sure to consider the weather, attire, and duration your dog will be wearing the outfit. Make sure it’s comfortable and breathable and doesn’t restrict their movement so they can stay comfy!
It’s important to consider your dog’s temperament. This includes their general attitude, adaptability in various situations, and behavior. Understanding whether your dog is normally calmer, sociable, and adaptable, or more aggressive, anxious, or overly excitable, is important when deciding their overall role in your big day.
As an example, a dog that’s calmer and loves meeting people will be able to handle the noise and excitement that a crowd will bring, which might mean they can have a more involved role in your wedding, like as a ring bearer.
Meanwhile, a dog that may be over-excitable or isn’t that used to being around other people may find a wedding environment overwhelming, which could lead to some unexpected stress. A more low-key position will be better for them.
Safety & Comfort
Next, be sure to be aware that if you do involve your four-legged friend in your big day, you’ll need to make sure their safety and comfort are paramount. Safety also is a lot more than just making sure your dog is physically well.
While it’s important to make sure that you minimize risk at the venue (by keeping any harmful foods or decorations out of your dog’s way), it’s also important to think about emotional comfort.
How does your dog interact with crowds? Can they handle lots of humans giving them love throughout the day? These are things you’ll want to think about!
Just as you sit and meticulously plan out the menu for your human guests, you’ll want to make sure that you can accommodate your dog’s eating requirements on your wedding day. (Again, this is a lot easier with a pet wedding attendant who will take care of this for you!)
Be sure to consider what your dog will eat, where they will eat, and who will be responsible for ensuring they eat. Be sure also to make sure that they’ll have access to fresh water throughout the day.
Another consideration is wedding photography. Be sure to chat with your photographer ahead of time and make sure that they are experienced, or at least comfortable, working with pets. An understanding of animal behavior and patience will be key to getting snapshots of your pet on your wedding day. (A pet wedding attendant can also help with this!)
Discuss and plan any specific moments or shots that you want to include your dog in, like the ceremony, group photos, or even more intimate shots with you and your partner. Having a clear outline can really help your photographer to prepare.
Final Thoughts: Should you have your dog in your wedding ceremony?
Incorporating your furry friend into your wedding ceremony is truly a big decision and shouldn’t be taken lightly. But if you and your partner spend a lot of time with your pet, then make sure you put in a lot of extra planning to make sure that they are there with you. It will bring the three of you so much joy, and the memories will really last a lifetime!
Remember that clear communication is key; this includes your vendors, guests, and pet wedding attendant if you choose to hire one.
If you’re located in the PNW, and you’re looking to have a pet wedding attendant help you with your big day, we’d love to help! Click here to learn more about our services, and click here to get in touch.