From a ‘dog of honour’ to a ring bearer, the possibilities of including your pet are endless. However, while bringing your dog along to your wedding can be rewarding, it can also be complicated. From the preparation beforehand, to who is going to take care of your pooch on the day, there’s lots to think about to make it work. To get you started, here’s our list of things to consider before saying yes to involving your pet on your big day!
Ask yourself whether your dog is suited to a wedding environment
Weddings can be busy, noisy and overwhelming – especially for your pooch! If your pup isn’t used to big crowds, is uncomfortable with strangers, or doesn’t adapt well to new surroundings, consider whether it may be kinder to leave them at home on this occasion.
Of course there are many dogs who thrive from attention and company that might enjoy the excitement at your wedding, but bear in mind that no doggy is guaranteed to behave perfectly on the big day. Be prepared that they may cause distraction or disturbance, especially as crowds of people can bring out our dog’s playful and vocal side!
Make sure that the venue is dog friendly
Once you have established whether your pup has what it takes to attend your big day, the next step is to check whether your venue is pet friendly. It might sound obvious, but some venues may have a strict no pet policy, so it’s always good to check before you book!
When viewing wedding venues with the plan to involve your pet, it’s always good to keep your pet’s needs in mind. Think about the following questions:
- Is there a safe space for my dog if they want to take a break?
- Is there an appropriate space for my dog to toilet?
- Is there space to take them for a walk during the day?
- Are dogs only allowed in certain rooms?
- Are there likely to be other dogs around on the day, for example walking through the grounds?
While your wedding day will be magical, it’s important to remember that it’ll also be long and tiring – especially for your four-legged friend! When deciding on a venue, make sure there’s a quiet and private space to take your pooch if they begin to get stressed, over excited or just exhausted. Providing them with a quiet space or room where other guests can’t enter, will allow them to calm down.
On the big day, remember to look out for the signs of stress in your dog’s body language. If they are tucking their tail underneath their body, pinning their ears back or hiding away, it is likely that they need some space and quiet.
Think about their role
From a ring bearer and ‘dog of honour’, to a simple wedding guest, there are many ways that you can include your pet on your wedding day. Once you decide, you can start to plan what aspects of your day you would like your pooch to attend.
If you have a mischievous doggy, perhaps they’d be more comfortable joining once the ceremony has ended, such as during the photos. This will allow them to be included without any pressure to be calm and quiet during the vows.
Prepare them beforehand
Letting your dog become familiar with the wedding venue before your big day is really important. If you are having a rehearsal before the wedding, be sure to take your pet with you for a practice run. Letting them sniff out their new environment not only gives your four-legged friend some familiarity, but it can also give you an indication of how things might go on the day.
If your pet has a specific role, it can also be a good idea to do some reward based training in advance, so both you and your dog feel comfortable in what you’re doing.
Find a designated doggy sitter
Inviting your four-legged friend to your wedding day can be joyous, but also be a little stressful. Keeping them out of mischief is a lot to think about when you’re getting swept up in the celebrations of the busy day! It can helpful for both you and your dog to have a designated pet-sitter – this could either be a professional dog-sitter, or a trusted guest.
Knowing someone is keeping an extra close eye on your pooch, giving them regular breaks, taking them to the toilet and feeding them, can take away the worry. If your pet becomes stressed or tired, your dog sitter can also get them settled back at home without causing any disruption.
Be mindful about potentially harmful items
Delicious fruitcake, chocolate and alcohol are all likely to be part of the fun celebrations – but don’t forget that they are highly toxic for your pet. Before the wedding, ensure that your guests know not to feed the dog – no matter how convincing your mischievous pup may be!
Even with the best planning, it’s likely that some food will be dropped during meal times. If you are planning to have your pet around while your guests are eating, it’s a good idea to keep them at a safe distance from the tables and think about taking some of their own treats, puzzles and toys to help keep them distracted.
Remember that there are also many plants that are poisonous to doggies, so be mindful about the type of decorations, confetti and flowers that you use – it’s always best to keep them out of reach from wagging tails and curious paws!
Get creative when they’re unable to attend
If your dog doesn’t like crowds or noise, or you just don’t think they’ll enjoy the wedding, don’t worry – there are many other ways that you could include them!
Perhaps you could theme your table names around your beloved pets, include them on your wedding cake topper, feature them on your wedding invites, or involve them as part of an engagement shoot.
If the ceremony environment isn’t quite right for your pooch but you still want to celebrate with them, you could even take them along for a relaxing ‘doggymoon’ in a pet friendly holiday accommodation. From long country walks to strolls along the beach, there’s no better way to spend your honeymoon than with your four-legged best friend!