It’s wedding planning time! And there’s one very special lad or lady in your life who just has to be part of your big day: your dog. If you’re inviting that second cousin of yours who you’ve met, say, twice in your life, then there’s no reason your furriest friend shouldn’t be part of your big day — and in a big way, too. In honor of the season, we’re breaking down the best ways to include dogs in weddings, and how to pull the whole thing off without a hitch.
First things first: consider your pet’s personality. Maybe you’ve got a sweet old dog, who’s happy just to lounge around and be loved by humans. GREAT! She should do just fine at your wedding. Maybe you’ve got a puppy, who has an abundance of energy and will chew on anything in sight. Say, your wedding dress. Not so great. Think, realistically, about what bringing your dog to a wedding (surrounded by lots of people) looks like. Then decide.
Going for it? Make sure your venue is cool with it before getting too deep in the wedding planning.
Ideas for involving your dog in the ceremony:
- Walking down the aisle with a bridesmaid or groomsmen before heeling at their side.
- Acting as ring bearer
- Being a doggy flower girl, carrying a basket of pretty petals
Some couples — especially those with dogs who might not be 100 percent reliable in the actual ceremony — save pet time for wedding photos, away from guests or specific, high-stress roles. The bottom line? It’s up to you, the owner, to decide how your pooch will best fit the occasion. And then, of course, reward ’em for a job well done.
What to Bring
- A pet sitter. Trust us, the day-of, the last thing you’ll want to deal with is corralling your dog, or picking up poop. Hire a sitter so you — and your guests! — can enjoy yourself all night long.
- Wedding-day attire. We’re not going to lie, we’re suckers for dogs in clothes, especially in dog wedding clothes. But only when the garb fits properly and your dog is 100 percent comfortable with it. Stray away from anything too tight, too hot, or too restrictive, and take it from us: sometimes a bowtie is all you *really* need.
- If your dog is acting as ring bearer, make sure you’ve got a secure place for the rings that feels comfortable on your dog.
- Flower girl? Try wrapping her leash in a beautiful string of flowers to include her, but let the actual humans do the throwing of petals.
- Waste bags. Hopefully you’ve hired that sitter so there’s no risk of a poop-on-dress situation, but, your dog will have to do his business sometime. And someone will have to clean it up.
- Food and water. Be sure to bring food for your dog, as well as a pop-up bowl so he can stay hydrated.
- A collar with tags, and a leash.
- It’s worth repeating that if your dog isn’t super comfortable around crowds or kids, it might be best to rethink bringing him to the wedding.
- Check your bouquet — Baby’s Breath? Lilies? Both are toxic to dogs. Make sure that the flowers at your wedding ceremony are dog-friendly, and if not, that they stay far, far away from your dog at all times.
- You and your soon-to-be spouse both have dogs? Be sure they get along before bringing them to the big day.
Did you include your dog in your wedding? We’d love hear about it (and see your pictures.)