A couple getting married in Scotland with dog.

How To Include Your Dog in Wedding| 13 ways to Include Bride’s Best Friend

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With more than 65 million American households owning fur babies – it will probably come as no surprise to you to hear that more and more engaged couples who are dog owners are choosing to include their adored pooch in their wedding day ceremony! After all, the photos with your furry friend would be utterly dreamy!

In fact, showing that dog love at weddings is becoming more common than ever before. Perhaps you’re thinking about having your dog in weddings and civil ceremonies?

If you can’t bear to leave your four-legged friend at home when you say “I do”, then we’ll tell you how you can create a game plan to include your furry pal in your nuptials and your wedding party, so you feel that your day’s complete!

Get Married With Your Pooch at Your Side

It’s time to get your guest list out, set your wedding date, send out a save the date and include your furry friend, the doggie on the list.

After all, what better way to celebrate your nuptials than with your dog right by your side?

Dog in wedding in Scotland

Good Organization Helps Your Dog in Wedding

While it’s a fantastic idea – and most wedding venues will agree to having a couple’s dog there, it still needs planning.

You can’t just turn up at your wedding venue with your dog in tow and expect it all to go swimmingly.

In this piece, we’ll talk about how you can include your dog in your joyful wedding day so that everything still goes to plan and is as stress free as possible.

So, take a few moments, snuggle up with your four legged friend and let’s dive in!

Can You Bring Your Dog to Your Wedding Day?

First things first.  Can you even bring your furry friend and indeed any pets (such as a feline friend) to your wedding day?

Well, technically you can but there are a lot of things to think about before you pack your best friend in their basket and have a dog in wedding.

What Should You Consider – Wedding Ideas for Bringing Your Dog in Wedding

We’ll talk about the different things to consider here.

1. Do Any Guests Have Allergies?

You do need to think about this.  There’ll be nothing worse than Great Aunty Dora breaking out in itchy hives during the ceremony due to your four legged best friend being present, or Uncle Norman sneezing through the wedding speeches.  If in doubt, send a pre-wedding email to all your guests to check whether anyone would be affected or not. Even one wedding guest with a fear or allergy can change your mind.

A dog in a wedding can replace a flower girl and ring bearer.

2. Do Any Wedding Guests Have a Fear of Dogs?

Even though your pup might be your best friend, some people just don’t like dogs, fact!  They might be few and far between but they are around.  Children, for example, may be frightened by dogs and some people just have a dog phobia.  Do check with your wedding flower girl and bridesmaids too before they walk down the aisle on your big day with your pup.

3. Does the Wedding Hotel or Other Allow Dogs?

Really, this is the most important question to ask.

If you’re dead-set on having a dog in wedding ceremony, you must check that your dog wedding venue is pet friendly and will allow it.

Some simply don’t, although outdoor wedding venues are usually very amenable to this type of request.  Of course, if you’re having a wedding at home, then you’re the boss!

4. Is Your Dog Well-Behaved?

You won’t want your dog yapping through the wedding ceremony or chewing on the fabric chairs – worse still, pooping on your wedding dress.

Be sensible, if you know your dog doesn’t like big crowds or is mischievous, then leave him or her with a trusted dog minding service.

Equally, puppies are a big no-no because they’re notoriously difficult to control when they get excited. You’ll get bonus points for NOT including a young pup while you walk down the aisle!

5. Do You Have a Trusted Dog Minder?

If you decide you’re going to have your pet at your dog wedding, get a dog sitter to come with and take full responsibility for your doggie.  That way you won’t have to worry about whether or not your dog is behaving – it will be down to them to keep your pet occupied during important parts of your wedding day.

Don’t choose a stranger, make sure your dog sitter is someone that your dog knows and is comfortable with.

6. Make Sure Your Dog is Walked Before the Wedding Takes Place

It’s easy to get swept up in the emotion and excitement of your big dog in wedding day and forget the little things – such as walkies!  Your dog still needs exercise and if this is forgotten, he or she may decide to sprint up the aisle or get extra frisky at the reception.

Make sure he or she has at least one dog walk before hand so they’re calm enough to behave beautifully.

7. Have You Got Pet Food?

Don’t forget to bring food with you for your dog.  Give it to the dog sitter or ask the dog in wedding venue to organise pet food, pet friendly food or a sweet treat.

If not, when your dog gets hungry, he or she will start begging for food out of cocktail napkins which you don’t want when a four-course, lavish meal is about to be served! Even worse – your dog could steal the wedding cake toppers and ruin the cake!

8. Does Your Dog Need to Be There for the Duration?

It’s a long day, for you, for your partner, for your family and friends – so imagine how long it will be for your pet?

You won’t need your dog there for hours on end. Perhaps your pets’ sitter can take your pet home after a couple or hours, and then you’ve got the best of both worlds. You’ll have your dog there with you during the important bits and then you can relax, safe in the knowledge that your pet has gone home, fed, watered, walked and still was a part of your day.

9. Don’t Forget Your Pet’s Toys!

Again, with everything going on, it’s easy to forget important, little extras – such as your pet’s favorite toys.

Make sure you have two or three with you, give them to the person in charge of your pooch and keep a separate “Dog Wedding List” so you don’t forget anything. This means remember other necessities such as a pet blanket, pets’ snacks and even a pets’ bed if getting back home for your dog is just too much.

10. Will Your Dog Wear Anything Special?

Some wedding couples like dogs to look as much a part of the day as they do!  You can buy little pooch dog wedding outfits (such as a flower girl outfit or ring bearer outfit) online (check out Amazon, for wedding ideas), but even just a cute bow, pocket square or floral collars in your colors. Alternatively, bow ties will suffice if you know your dog won’t like to be dressed up!

As an aside, remember, dogs get hot too, so if you’re getting married and it’s really hot, be mindful of your dog’s comfort.  Sometimes, it’s just not worth considering some wedding ideas, leave the duties to the flower girls instead.

11. Dog in Wedding Ideas – Try a Trial Run

We’re not suggesting that you hold a big dog wedding especially for dogs as a trial run, but take him or her with you to events, such as family BBQs, parties and other events where there will be a lot of people.  You also might want to try out a family photo too, beforehand (you could use it as a cake topper or for printed cocktail napkins and table numbers later on, just another of many wedding ideas!).

See how your pooch reacts, if it doesn’t go well, then perhaps have a rethink – your dog can always see the wedding photographs or wedding video, which might not be ideal but remember, this is a big day and you want it to play out perfectly.

Bride with her puppy on her wedding day.

12. Do You Want Your Pooch as One of the Ring Bearers?

If you like the idea of your cutie-pie walking up the aisle and bearing the rings, then practice first.  How good is your dog at commands and being trained?

Take a few moments to practice with other items to see if your dog understands what’s required.

Or, if you have a dog trainer – get them to teach your dog this spectacularly clever trick!

 13. How Will Your Dog Feel Being At Your Dog Wedding?

Of course – before you absolutely decide if you want your dog to be there with you on your wedding day, think about how your pooch will feel.  You know your dog well after all.  If you know he or she is a shy type or doesn’t like crowds or is nervous at new places then don’t put yourself through it.  You must be certain that your dog in wedding will behave and will enjoy the day.

When You Do Have Your Dog At Your Wedding

If you’ve covered off all of the above, and everything ticks your boxes, then there’s absolutely no other reason why your dog can’t be a part of your day.

Perhaps you want your dog to accompany you down the aisle?  That’s great – but check with your officiant that they’re ok with this.

If you think your dog might become agitated, you may want to ask your dog minder to walk your dog up the aisle (and ask them to dress appropriately, politely of course!).

Roles for Dogs at Weddings and Pet Wedding Ideas

You may not want your dog to walk up the aisle, so how else can you include your four-legged pal in your nuptials? Here are a few no brainer pet wedding ideas ideas:

  • Make a grand entrance during the ceremony as the ring-bearer (as mentioned).
  • Bridesmaid, one of the flower girls or best man (dog!), or even dog of honor!
  • Part of the dog wedding photographs, definitely when taking photos for the family photo (try a trial run with engagement photos first) – just imagine the surprise your guests will have when you send thank you notes depicting your fur baby in their wedding attire!
  • Your pet as a witness (with other human witnesses of course!), for a more formal role.
  • Add your beloved pet pup to your wedding cake topper! A quality cake-maker will capture your dog’s likeness in cake form for you.
  • Just for cocktail hour – and you could even include a signature cocktail to mark having your cute pup with you! Get your venue to create a signature drink on your behalf.
  • Photos of your dog as table numbers.

Some Final Words

So there you have it – a multitude of ways for your pup to be a part of your special day.  As long as your venue allows you to bring your pooch, you’re super-organized with pet food, a dog sitter, dog toys, blanket etc and your dog has been fed, walked and watered before the nuptials, then there’s no reason why your pooch can’t be with you, even if it’s just for the photos.

Is Your Pet Personality Right?

Just make sure your pet’s personality is right for dealing with a dog in wedding event, other events and lots of people and that none of your wedding guests have allergies or fears (not all dogs are suited to a wedding).  You could even give out doggie bags for wedding guests’ home time, for a little extra fun!

Show Your Pup Some Big Love!

For over 65 million American households and even more pup owners, dogs are seen as part of the family – a treasured family member. So why shouldn’t you show your pup love, make sure they get an invite so they’re a part of your wedding photos and take part in your amazing day too! Martha Stewart weddings show that it can definitely be done – if it’s ok for a celebrity wedding, then it’s perfectly ok for your dog in wedding too. So sit your dog down and tell them to save the date!

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