Dog of Honor? – Including Your Dogs in Your Wedding Ceremony

Tips for including your dog in your wedding ceremony. The bride and her dog. Photo credit: Tammy Pressnell

Well, after 23 years of planning weddings, Weddings From The Heart experienced a first.

Earlier this month was the first time that one of my couples included their dogs in their wedding ceremony.

And things could not have gone smoother!

Their dogs, Molly and Kava, were the sweetest, most well behaved pups ever! (Molly even gave me doggie kisses!)

Tips When Including Your Four-Legged Family Members

Our pets are our family, so for many people it makes sense to include them in their big day.

The following are some tips to help make things go smooth for everyone involved.

1. Before you start in on planning for including your pet, make sure your ceremony and reception venues permit pets.

Confirm that pets are welcome. The last thing you want is to arrive on your wedding day only to find that your dogs can’t be there.

Let the folks at the venues know in what capacity your pet will play. Will they just be present for the ceremony? At the ceremony and reception? On a leash or free range?

2. Consider your pet’s personality.

Are they shy? Social? Vocal? Quiet?

Are your pups comfortable around a large group of people? You don’t want them to be overwhelmed.

Does your pet have good “doggie manners”? Your wedding day is not the time or place for friendly little Fido to be greeting people by jumping on them, or begging for food.

Does a little hunter come out in them at the sight of a squirrel, or will they ignore it?

3. Are any of your key people (parents, wedding party members, photographer) allergic to dogs?

If so, are there precautions they can take that will alleviate their allergy symptoms without leaving them drowsy?

4. Are any of your key people afraid of dogs?

Discuss with them what you have in mind for including your dogs and see if that may be acceptable to them. Or consider limiting your dogs’ participation to ceremony only, on leashes.

5. Consider the role you want your pet to play.

Are they merely guests of honor or will they play a more active role such as being the ring bearer?

Have them practice at the rehearsal too.

6. Have a designated handler for the wedding day.

You’re going to be busy with everything else going on to have to be the one to feed, walk, or clean up after your pets when “nature calls.” Also they can keep an eye on your four-legged babies in case some chocolate cake or wedding favors accidently gets dropped on the floor (don’t want them getting into that and getting sick – or worse!)

7. Do you want your pet to wear a special little outfit?

Make sure your pet in comfortable wearing a little doggie tux or hat. (As handsome as my dog would look with a hat, he’d paw it off the second it was placed on his head). You don’t want them to be tugging at it trying to get it off during your vows.

Keep it simple. A little bow tie or flower attached to it’s collar will look adorable!

8. Have some familiar items on hand.

Unless you typically have a hundred or so people around, your pooch is going to be out of his element. Bring along a favorite toy, dog bed, and treats. Your pet will be in an unfamiliar environment (different location, different people), so having some familiar items on hand can make things more comforting for your pet.

Hearts, Joy, Love!
Jean

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For more wedding planning tips contact me today at jean@weddingsfromtheheart.net, 937-235-2586 or 937-581-3647!

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2 thoughts on “Dog of Honor? – Including Your Dogs in Your Wedding Ceremony

  1. I’ve always wondered how couples pull this off! Thank you for the terrific tips on how to include your favorite pups in your wedding!

    1. With pets being more like a family member than just “an animal” it’s not unusual for couples to want to include them on their wedding day. The key is the animals personality. They can’t be reasoned with or bribed to behave. Glad you liked my post. Thanks.

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