If like us, you consider your dog to be more of a family member than just a pet, then the idea of including them in your wedding day is high on your list. Some people are totally shocked by the whole idea of having a pet at a wedding, but it’s your wedding and you can do anything you like. They may not be there for the whole day, but they can be there for some part of it.
So here are some tips to help you include your “Fur Child” at your wedding.
The Best Man
A dog is mans best friend, so why not have him as the Best Man. We’ve seen it… and it looks awesome!
The Ring Bearer
I’ve never actually shot a wedding where the dog walks the rings down the aisle… but how CUTE would it be!! Walking down the aisle with a flower girl, page boy, brides maid, or even the bride. Naturally the dog would need to be trained and well behaved. And it’s probably a good idea to practice it before the day. The Groom can have a treat or a favourite toys so the dog has someone to walk to.
You will need to have someone dedicated to caring for your dog. A family member or friend might be happy to do this, otherwise professional services are available to. Some dog walkers will pick you dog of from your home bring them to your ceremony or photo location and then drop them home. In the Hunter Valley some pet minders will bring your pet to your wedding and then either care for them at your accommodation if it is pet friendly or offer boarding at their property.
Find out whether or not your wedding ceremony, photo location, reception venue are pet friendly. And google pet friendly accommodation in the area of your wedding, because there is pet friendly accommodation available everywhere; you just have to find it. Also inform other vendors who may need to know, like you celebrant, photographer, videographer and florist if you plan on putting flowers on you dogs collar. This can be especially important as some flowers and berries used could be poisonous to dogs and is something to be careful of.
Food & Drink
Make sure they you have plenty of water and some food available for your dog. Particularly important on hot days. Treats could also be helpful in getting them to do what you want on the day. If they are attending your reception or canapé hour, keep them in an area people aren’t likely to slip them food as those delicious onion tartlets, meats with cooked bones or skewers and chocolates are very dangerous for you fur baby.
Have someone take you dog for a nice long walk before they are needed for the wedding, as a well exercised dog that has burnt off some excess energy is more likely to behave.
Dress for the Occasion
Dress them up, is there anything cuter them a handsome dog with a bow tie! A pretty flower collar, ‘dog of honour’ bandana and bow ties are perfect and not to much for most dogs. Dog tuxedos and dresses are also available and very cute but some dogs might be resistant, it may also be a little much for a hot summers wedding.
Sites like Etsy have amazing option for pets in weddings. There is heaps of beautiful signage options from ‘Here comes the bride’ if your dog is walking down the aisle, a customised ’Save the date’ sign in your engagement shoot, there is even a “Will you marry my dad?” sign for an adorable proposal.
The Wedding Cake
Your dog can also make an appearance in the wedding cake. Get a wedding cake based on your dog or have them a part of the cake toppers. It makes a nice personal touch to your wedding.
No Pets Allowed
Sometimes you just can’t have your pet with you on the wedding day due to venue restrictions. So what can you do?
Include them in your Engagement photo session instead. Do the engagement shoot at a dog friendly park or beach that you normally take them so the photos are extra special for you.
“Never work with Kids or Animals”
Bear in mind that while you may envision your dog sitting sweetly with you at the ceremony or walking beautifully down the aisle, they may find all the guests and the situation overwhelming. They could get distracted by birds or something in the surroundings of your outdoor wedding or just choose an inopportune time (like when you are saying you vows) to bark and jump up to get you attention. So keep their carer nearby and ready to step in a take them away if need be and don’t be upset or disappointed.
Remember, it will be an unusual situation of your pet and not part of their daily routine. And just like children, you never really know just what they will do on the day. Which is actually fun and may make for a great candid moment.
They are really special to you and them being there with you will make your wedding day that much more special, especially when you look back on your wedding photos in year to come.