Figuring out how to include dogs at weddings can be tricky. If you’re able to have your pup at the actual wedding, then there are a lot of logistics to be figured out! If you can’t have your dog with you, then you will probably want to figure out how to incorporate them into your special day. After all, they are a beloved member of your family!
Did you know that millennials are the biggest group to be pet owners currently? Millennials are also the generation that is most getting married right now, so it’s no surprise that we are seeing more and more dogs at weddings!
Dogs at Weddings: Our Tips & Recommendations
Here are some ideas for incorporating your dog into your wedding day!
Ask yourself some necessary questions
Before you decide that your dog is attending the wedding, it’s really important that you are 100 percent certain that they can be there. There are some questions that you should ask yourself, including:
- Is the venue close to your house?
- Does your ceremony venue allow dogs? What about your reception venue?
- Does your dog do well around large groups of people?
- Does your dog behave well in new environments?
- Do you have someone that is willing to take care of your dog throughout the day?
- Will there be other animals at your venue that your dog will try to chase or eat?
- Will your dog try to get to your decorations or food?
- Do you know if all of your guests have no allergies or issues with dogs?
If you answered “no” to multiple questions, then it might not be the best idea to have your dog attend your wedding. We know that it may be important to you to have them there, but you have to keep the comfort and safety of both your dog and your guests in mind. You want to keep the day as stress-free as possible!
If you feel as though it’s not the best idea to have your dog there, don’t worry! We will suggest other ways to include your dog in your special day throughout this post.
Does your venue allow dogs?
A very important aspect to consider is whether or not your venue allows dogs. Many venues will allow dogs to attend the ceremony only — especially if they are outdoors.
However, it will be difficult to find a venue that will allow your dog to be at the reception. You may be able to do this if you are having an outdoor reception or if you are getting married on private property. But, consider if the reception is really the best place for your dog to be. There is a lot of commotion and loud noises during a reception — will your dog be able to handle that well?
If you are interested in having your dog be a part of your ceremony, here are some local venues that allow them. Keep in mind that each one has their own specific rules and regulations regarding dogs at weddings, so be sure to contact them.
- Vignon Manor
- Rosewood Farms
- Kent Manor Inn
- The Winslow
- Mt. Washington Mill Dye House
- Frederick Douglass Maritime Museum
- Bohemia Overlook
Have a dog-sitter
If you decide to have your dog attend any part of your wedding day, we highly recommend hiring a dog-sitter. This could be a guest that is very familiar with your dog, but you might not want to put that burden on them — especially if they are a family member!
There are some professional dog sitting companies out there that can do this for you. There are even ones that specialize in weddings!
Locally, we recommend Furever & Fur Always Wedding Day Dog Care. They offer various packages to help you with exactly what you’re looking for!
Notify your vendors and guests
If you decide that you want to have your dog attend any part of your wedding, it’s important to notify both your vendors and guests. Some people have dog allergies and some people have a fear of dogs. Be up front with them so that they can figure out what they would like to do ahead of time!
How will your dog play the part?
If you are having your dog attend the wedding, there are a few different ways that you can go about this.
- Dog of Honor/Best Dog: Have your dog be a part of the wedding party and have him or her walk down the aisle! If your dog is very well-behaved, they could walk down by themselves. But, we suggest having a member of the party walk your pup down the aisle just in case!
- Ring Bearer: Of course, a dog won’t be able to physically carry the rings in their paws. However, you could attach a pouch to his/her collar!
- Flower Dog: You could have the dog carry a basket of flowers in her mouth while the flower girl spreads the petals from it. Make sure that the flowers are nontoxic, in case they end up in his/her mouth! Or, if you want your dog to be the only flower girl (no human with them) — decorate her collar with flowers and have her walk down the aisle!
- Honored Guest: If you have a shyer, more reserved dog, then you might not want to have them walk down the aisle with all of those people around. Give them a special spot right in the front row and have them sit with someone that they are familiar with!
Bring your dog to the venue before the big day
An issue that sometimes comes up with dogs at weddings is that the dog is not familiar with the space, so he may act out or become timid. If at all possible, bring your dog to the venue for a visit before the big day! Let your dog sniff around the property and even pee around it. That way, he will be familiar with the property on your wedding day.
What’s the best way to include your dog in your photos?
Whether or not you are able to bring your dog to your wedding day, it is still possible to have him or her in some photos! If your dog is not coming to your wedding, but you are getting ready at your house, you can have him pop in a few photos.
We also recommend trying to choose a photographer who has some experience with photographing animals! They will be able to capture your pup in the best way possible.
Prepare a doggie bag
Make sure that your dog has all of the essentials on the big day! This includes:
- Poop bags
Ways to incorporate your dog if they are not attending
If you decide that it is not the best idea to have your dog come to your wedding, there are a lot of ways that you can incorporate them into your special day! Here are some of our ideas:
- Have a chair reserved for your pup at the ceremony with a framed photo of him/her on it
- Create a signature drink named after your pup (and have a picture of him/her on the menu!)
- Donate to an animal shelter or rescue organization (this could be in lieu of favors) and have a sign at your reception to tell your guests
- Include him/her in your cake topper
- Include photos of him/her on your save the dates, invitations, and more
- Incorporate your dog in your decor (table numbers, photo booth props, a cardboard cutout, etc.)
- Offer koozies with your dog’s face on them as favors
- Include small dog treat bags for your guests who have dogs to take home with them, including a sticker on the bag of your dog’s face!
Dogs at weddings can be tricky to figure out. We hope that this post helped you start to figure out what you’re going to do! Keep in mind that, as your planner, we will work with you every step of the way in planning — which includes whether or not you are including your dog in your special day! Click here to set up a free consultation with us.