If you’re anything like me, your pup is your life. It’s hard to imagine celebrating such an important day without your furry best friend included somehow. So I made a list of tips and ideas on how to include your dog in your wedding, whether they’re there in person or included in other ways.
- Check with your venue(s)
First things first, make sure your venue(s) allow pets. Some places don’t allow them at all, other places allow them if they have a specific role in the wedding and have someone to watch them all day.
- Play to your dog’s strengths
If your dog doesn’t do well around tons of people, take that into consideration when planning their part in your day. Or if they’re well-trained, let them shine!
Possible roles for your dog
• Pupsmaid or Pupsman – if your dog is well trained, an awesome role would be in the wedding party. They can walk down the aisle with the party and sit next to them during the ceremony. Definitely keep them on a leash because you don’t need the extra stress of making sure they doesn’t get distracted by something (SQUIRREL) and run off when you’re about to say “I do.” You can also decorate the leash!
• Flower pup – she can wear a flower necklace/collar or carry the basket of petals in her mouth while the flower girl spreads them. Just be sure any flowers used are not toxic for dogs!
• Ring Bearer – Only give your dog the rings if you trust him 100%. You can tie them to his collar or make a ring holder for him to wear. Or you can give the rings to the best man and it can be a more symbolic role.
• Guest – if your pup isn’t up for walking down the aisle, or needs a calmer role, let them sit up front with family and watch their favorite people get married.
- Assign or hire a pupsitter
Either assign a friend or family member to watch your dog or hire a pup sitting service. Rover.com is a great place to hire a sitter to come watch your pup during the wedding. Or they can help during the ceremony and then take your pup home and hang out with them for the night.
If you want your dog to stay for the reception, make sure they can handle the amount of people, loud music, food, and just general business around them. It’s a good idea to make a safe space for your dog if they get overwhelmed. A back room or somewhere away from the reception with their kennel, bed and/or blankets so they can relax.
- Practice makes perfect
Be sure to practice with your dog. It also helps you see if your dog will do well in their role. Try to bring your dog to your venue(s) and have them practice with the people they’ll be walking with or sitting with on the wedding day. Make sure they seem confident enough to do it without you around.
- Prepare a Doggy bag
Prepare a “diaper bag” if you will, for your dog. Treats, water, food and bowls if they’ll be there during meal times, toys, poop bags, and anything else you think they’ll need.
- Hire vendors with dog experience
And the final tip for including them in person, hire vendors who have experience working with dogs.
• Dogs can be difficult to photograph, it takes patience and the ability to make weird noises that get the dog’s attention. Hire a photographer who has worked with dogs before.
• If your dog will be wearing flowers, make sure you work with a florist who knows what flowers aren’t good for dogs and can create custom fitted floral pieces for your dog.
• Even making sure your DJ knows your dog will be there is important, so they don’t crank the music too loud and hurt your pup’s ears. Basically communication is KEY!
- Get ready together
If your dog won’t do well at the actual wedding, have them around during the getting ready portion of the day. There will be fewer people, and probably people they already know.
Other ways to include your dog in your wedding
If you don’t want to have your dog physically at the wedding, here’s some cute ideas for including them in the day:
- Bring them to your engagement session
We all love pictures with our doggos, why not include them in your engagement session? Bring them to a park or have part of your session at your home where they’re comfortable.
- On your save the dates
Use the pictures from your engagement session on your save the dates
- Dog-themed accessories
• Socks with your dog’s picture
• Coasters with your dog’s picture
• Signature cocktail named after them
• Jewelry with their name or picture (idea 1) or (idea 2)
• Small picture of them on your bouquet
• Cake topper (idea 1 $$$) or (idea 2 $)
• Cardboard cut out of your dog (can be walked down the aisle and/or a prop in the photo booth)
• Wood cut out of your dog, or a framed photo as your guest book
• Napkins with your dog’s picture
• Koozies (favors) with your dog’s picture
• Custom pocket squares with your dog’s picture
• Custom cufflinks with their picture
• Incorporate them into table numbers: little figurine card holder, framed photo with numbers edited in, custom illustrations on the table number cards
Instead of giving out favors, make a donation to your favorite animal rescue in your guests’ names.
• Groom’s cake shaped like your dog
• Cookies shaped and decorated like your dog