How to Include Your Dog In Your Wedding

Yes, I had some friends and family members who thought I was crazy when I told them that our dogs would be part of our wedding day. 

The reality is that they are a BIG part of our life and an important part of our family. We celebrate their birthdays. My husband and I have 18,493 (and counting) photos of them on our phones. When we moved we got a king sized bed so that they could have more space. Some might call it being obsessed, but it was a no-brainer that we would include them when we said “I do.”

However, before we said “I do’s,” I prepared the to do’s. With a little help from friends, we ensured that all three of our dogs could comfortably be a part of our wedding day. So if you couldn’t image your wedding day without your dog(s), here are some things to consider when planning your big day.

Consider Your Dog’s Personality

While having your dog at your wedding might be your ideal wedding scenario, it might not be for your dog. Is your dog aggressive, reactive? Are they shy and don’t like being around people? Or maybe a crowd has your dog going into a frenzy of excitement. Then it may not be the right fit to have them as part of your wedding. 

Check With Your Venue

I know this feels obvious, but make sure to check with your wedding venue to ensure that dogs are allowed. Some dog-friendly venues may only allow dogs outdoors, which is perfect if you’re having an outdoor wedding. However, don’t assume dog-friendly means indoors…check and ask questions before you book. 

Hire a Dog-Sitter

Trust me, you need a trusty dog-lover who knows your dogs and can help the day of. Not just during photos or as they play their main role in the ceremony, but someone who can help keep your dog occupied throughout the day. Sorry, but I’m not sharing our dog sitter. She kept our dogs calm, occupied and after they walked down the aisle, she guided them away without anyone noticing. She is absolutely amazing (but still not sharing).

Have a Game Plan

You’re going to need a game plan for your dog and not just one for the ceremony. So work through the details. Who will be picking up and dropping off your dog? Will your dog be part of the ceremony, reception, or both? 

Your dog is going to need to be entertained, especially if staying for hours on end, so you’ll want to pack their favorite toys. Just like your guests, your dog will need food and water. Check if the venue provides water bowls or will you need to bring?

Make sure to include some fun for you dog…these are some of the moments that I remember the most. We scheduled photos with our dogs prior to the ceremony as we knew that we were only having our dogs at the ceremony. As part of the photos, we included a doggie wedding cake that said “We do” for them to enjoy. Cake thanks to Petlicious Dog Bakery.

Prepare Your Pup

While we didn’t do a full rehearsal with our dogs, we did take them several times to the outdoor venue for our ceremony before our wedding day. This not only gave them a chance to sniff and explore, but we got to see if there were any triggers that might be an issue the day of. 

If your dog isn’t accustomed to groups of people, take them to as many opportunities as you can with larger crowds so that you can see if your dog will be comfortable. 

Most Important…Be Flexible

Despite your best laid plans, be prepared to roll with the punches and embrace the quirky canine moments that will happen. We knew that Ginger may decide to bolt down the aisle and she did. I have to love my matron of honor who planned accordingly and had shoes she could gracefully run in. Trust me these are the moments that will make the day more memorable and will be the stories that you share. 

Would I have my dogs in my wedding if I could do it again? YES! (though, no plans on having another wedding).

Photos thanks to Stromme Weddings who didn’t blink an eye when we talked about organizing the photography schedule around our dogs!





How to Include Your Dog In Your Wedding

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