Whether you got your dog as the “can we, together, keep something alive” baby test, or your pooch was your sidekick well before your fiancé, dogs are a huge part of many soon-to-be-wed couples’ lives. Lots of people want to find a way to make man’s best friend a part of the big day. We bet there are even some of you out there who owe your “meet cute” moment to your dog, making it less about “if” you want them involved and more about “how much.” We are here to give you five logistical pointers on including your dog in your wedding day. And, hey, if your dog is a cat same rules apply, we don’t discriminate.
1. The world is not your oyster.
This one should be pretty obvious, but make sure to choose a venue that will allow pets--same goes for the hotel you stay at or anywhere else you might need to take your pooch. This might thwart your dreams of having your wedding in a national park, über fancy hotel, etc. Unfortunately there are limitation on where you can bring your fur-kid so try to be realistic in planning as you may have to make some compromises.
Do you want to be scooping poop in your white dress and heels? Probably not. See if you can hire a dog sitter (or walker) for the day to be your dog’s human companion--unless you have some very generous family, but they probably want to enjoy the party, too. That way you won’t have to worry about taking care of the dog at every turn. They can handle everything from transportation to treats to poop-scooping. It might be wise to have them collect Fido the night before, or morning of, and drop him/her back off with you the day after the wedding. If you’re flying out for your honeymoon immediately, they might be able to take them straight to a boarding facility or wherever they’ll be vacationing while you’re off traveling.
3. Keep it clean.
Many people see a dog and instantly want to pet it. Making sure your dog is clean for the occasion is another thing you might have to coordinate into the weekend. If they’re staying at a boarding place, there are probably groomers on staff that can give them a quick bath and blow dry so they’re perfectly soft and hug-able. Can your florist make a special “collar” or crown for your dog that uses some of the same florals as your bouquet and boutonnière? That would be a great touch for photos as they’ll look especially primped for the big day.
4. Cheese it up.
Okay, having your dog in the ceremony might not be for everyone. The cheese-factor can quickly go through the roof. However, if that’s you then go for it! Who cares? It’s your wedding day and your pictures and if you want to tell your photographer that you want your dog in literally every single photo then that’s your prerogative. These are the memories you want to have 30 years from now, and no one can tell you that you’re not picking the “right” ones, there is no correct/incorrect way to conduct your own wedding.
5. Don’t have them at the wedding at all.
This might seem counter productive to the entire post, but we promise it isn’t. Sometimes, no matter how much you want to have them there on the big day, it just can’t happen. Maybe you can’t find a venue that will allow it, maybe dear Aunt Viv is deathly allergic to dogs. Plus, it can be a nightmare trying to coordinate everything and you just might not want that headache the day of your wedding. Doing a special photo shoot with them the day before or after might be your best option. They still get to participate in your weekend, and you will have beautiful photos to cherish, but the day-of affairs might have to be relegated to two-legged party animals only.
Whatever you decide to do, make your best effort to keep everyone organized by taking as much of the guess-work out as possible. Know what you will and will not have time for on your wedding day and delegate as much of the dog-wrangling to someone else as you can if you think it would lighten your load. And if you do get stressed, remember that petting your dog helps to release dopamine--the happy-feeling chemical in your brain--so be sure to give out plenty of belly-rubs.