We are a biiiig fan of weddings involving four legged fur babies. But, as wonderful as it is to have your pet dog at your wedding, it also requires some careful planning and consideration. Let’s face it, hard as we try with obedience training, they can often just have a mind of their own.
Throw in an unusual setting, lots of unknown faces, food smells galore and lots of loud noises, and you’ve potentially got the recipe for a stressful experience – for both you and your pet. So, to help you involve your dog in your wedding without any headaches, we’ve pulled together our tip tips to help ensure things run smoothly.
The first step to involving your dog in your wedding is to choose a dog friendly venue. Many venues have a strict no-pet policy, so you may have to be flexible with what kind of wedding you have in order to get your pet involved.
You might, for example, forgo the fancy manor house in favor of a magical wedding day in the forest. To get you started, here is a list of pet friendly wedding venues in the UK, and here’s one for the US. Be sure to tell the venue upfront that you’re planning to bring your pooch so that they can ‘OK’ it from the get-go.
Before you let your dog roam free around your wedding area, first check if any of your guests have allergies. The last thing you want is for your guests to be uncomfortable on the day, or worse-still! – to have an allergic reaction. Tell your guests beforehand that you are planning to bring your dog so that they can plan ahead with allergy remedies.
It’s also worth remembering that not everyone is a dog-person and might not be that keen on sharing the day with a four-legged guest. You could therefore consider designating a specific area where your dog is allowed, and then keep the rest of the venue pet-free. This might also help to keep your pooch out of trouble or running off if you’re having an outdoor wedding.
Designate a few dog sitters
You will have more than enough to think about on your day, so plan ahead and designate a few people to be on pup-watch. Divvy out the task of keeping an eye on your pet to several people throughout the day so that they can still enjoy the celebrations.
Perhaps one person can be on dog-duty in the morning, another in the afternoon, and someone else in the evening. You’ll also need to assign someone the task of taking them home and taking care of them overnight. You could also hire a pet sitter for the day to take on this responsibility so that you and your guests can focus fully on the day.
Despite your best planning, even weddings without pets involved go a little off-piste. So if you’re planning to involve your dog in your day, you should definitely expect that things will go a little awry.
If you expect the unexpected with your dog, then it won’t be such a shock if they act up on the day. So what if they steal a bit of food or get some mud on your dress? Don’t sweat it. These are exactly the kinds of memories and anecdotes that you’ll be talking about in years to come, so treasure them!
Make sure they can handle it
You might really want your pet at your wedding, but the reality is that some dogs will find it extremely stressful. This is particularly the case for dogs who are shy, or uneasy around unfamiliar people and places. If this sounds like your dog, then the kindest thing would definitely be to leave them at home where they feel most safe and secure. Even if you have a sociable dog, you should still make sure to bring along some of their favorite toys and chews to keep them entertained during the day. A bored dog will quickly start to act up!
Be careful with your flower choices. Lots of flowers and plants are toxic for dogs. So before you decide on a bouquet made out of lilies, first just be sure that you don’t have a pooch that’s likely to eat them. You definitely don’t want an emergency trip to the vet to be on your wedding day itinerary! Here is a list of the 10 most common poisonous plants for dogs to help you minimize the risk.
Give them a plenty of exercise beforehand
Even if you have the most obedient dog in the land, it’s still a really good idea to tire them out a little before your festivities kick into full swing. This will help to keep them calm and well-behaved, and might even mean they just sleep through some of the day.
Remember, as much as it might be super cute to have your dog be your ring bearer or sit in your wedding photos – they aren’t props. If your dog is likely to get stressed by having to wear an outfit, or sit still in one place for an extended period of time, then give it a miss. Your pup in a tux might make a great photo for the wedding album, but it might also be unpleasant for them. No-one knows your dog better than you do, so trust your judgement and find ways to involve them in your day without overwhelming them.
However you choose to involve your pet in your special day, we hope you have the best, most paw-some (sorry….), day ever! Enjoy.
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