Should We Include Our Dog at Our Wedding? - Expert Wedding Planning Advice
I love dogs.
My sweet terrier came to me as a rescue, and I cannot imagine life without her!
Anytime you want to chat dog, I’m all ears.
A lot of my clients have asked about including dogs in their wedding. Dogs are family, right?
So today we are chatting about whether or not this is a good idea, and if it is, I’m dishing out a few tips and tricks for you to make the day amazing for you and your pup(s).
Should We Include Our Dog at Our Wedding?
Having your best furry friend at your wedding can be both a blessing, and a giant headache.
You know your dog best. If any of these apply to you, it may be best to leave your dog at home or minimize their time at the wedding.
Your dog is generally fearful or anxious.
Your dog is fearful of children or strangers.
Your dog has a history of aggression or reactivity.
Your dog is unsure and cautious in new places.
Your dog struggles to listen and stay calm in busy environments.
Your dog is more likely to run off than she is to stay near you (escape or flight risk).
Your dog requires your attention at all times and cannot settle otherwise.
Your dog has health or medical issues that might make a long day difficult (especially concerning mountain weddings at altitude).
Your dog does not travel well and dislikes ‘going with’.
This may seem like a long list and may be common sense, but it’s important.
There is nothing more heartbreaking than seeing a dog who is clearly uncomfortable, being forced to be part of the typical wedding-day environment!
It’s even worse if your dog freaks out and runs off. The last thing you want is to lose your pup on the day of your wedding. As much of a bummer as it may be, some dogs are better off staying home.
If your dog (or dogs) love the excitement, the people, the outdoors, and the long day, read on!
Venue Considerations When Bringing Your Dog to Your Wedding
Not all wedding venues are dog friendly. Some may require an additional deposit and proof of registration and rabies vaccination.
For health reasons, most (if not all) cannot allow the dog to be in the reception or cocktail hour areas either.
(I’ll address dealing with that below).
Make sure to chat with your venue coordinator about your desire to bring your dog. Don’t just show up on the day of your wedding and hope that they won’t mind. That’s the fast track to derailing your plans and stressing your dog (and yourself) out!
If you have the green light to bring your dog, and your dog is going to be comfortable and happy in the environment, it’s time to look at ways to make the day easy and special for all of you!
Meet your dog’s needs
Make sure to pack a water bowl, extra leash, several poop bags, some high-value treats, and food for your dog. You would be amazed how many people forget that their dog needs water!
When the wedding day gets busy and exciting, you don’t want to be scrambling around for this. Have it ready and make sure anybody handling the dog knows where it is.
Make sure your dog will have access to shade and a quiet place to rest.
Off leash…ON leash!
Even if your dog is generally great off-leash, bring a long line and/or a regular leash so that you have a little security if you find out that your dogs recall is forgotten in the face of all of the excitement. This is especially important if your wedding venue is near a busy road, or in a place where your pup could easily run off and get lost.
You can find beautiful leashes online and in speciality pet boutiques. No need to use your go-to worn-out nylon lead for your wedding! Find something beautiful just for the occasion.
Dress to Impress
Plan to have your dog groomed and/or bathed the week of the wedding.
If you look on Etsy, you can find all kinds of beautiful and unique things for your dog to wear, too! Everything from collars, to shirts, to bandanas with cute sayings on them is fair game.
Your florist may even be able to make a custom floral collar for your dog to wear.
Hire a dog handler
It is not your mother’s, your wedding coordinator’s, your uncle’s, or your photographer’s job to watch your dog all day. They should be focusing on other things (namely, YOU!).
It is not always ideal for your dog to be tied to a tree or to have to sit in the car while everybody goes into the reception either.
There are people that actually specialize in wedding-day-dog-handling!
They will meet your dog before hand. On the day of the wedding they will pick your dog up, bring her to the venue, make sure her needs are met (food, water, poop, treats, shade), and take her back home, too.
This service is reasonably priced and will make sure that your dog stays safe and YOU get to spend the day celebrating.
If your dog isn’t going to be a great candidate to spend the day with you, you can hire dog handlers to bring your dog just for photos.
You, your new spouse, and your pup can run off and take beautiful portraits together, and your hired dog handler will take your pup back to your home when it’s over. Win-win!
Are you thinking about bringing your dog to your wedding? I’d love to hear about it, meet your dog, and help you plan the most beautiful Colorado wedding of your dreams.