Our furry friends mean a lot to us. They’re our loyal companions that stick with us when we’re sad, laugh with us when we’re happy, put up with us when we’re annoying (“look how cute you are in those reindeer antlers, Charlie!!!”), eat popcorn with us always (oh, just me?? oh okay, never mind). If you’re a dog-lover, it’s only natural for the “gosh, how fun would it be if Scruffy could be a part of the festivities??” thought to occur at some point during the course of wedding planning. Sometimes that thought is quickly tucked away under the umbrella of “no, that would be too much work”, “no, it’s not worth the hassle.” What if we told you that the idea isn’t so far-fetched?? Would you believe us if we told you it’s not so impossible to include Fido in the festivities? Hopefully, these 8 tips will convince you. And, if the tips alone don’t, the ADORABLE photos just might 🙂
- Know Your Pup
Our first nugget of advice is to know your pup. If he or she isn’t a people person and/or gets anxiety around large groups of people, having them walk in your wedding probably isn’t the best idea. (Read: dragging a dog down the aisle doesn’t do great things for an aisle runner and can be traumatizing for the little guy.)
- Is Your Venue Pet Friendly?
It would be so disappointing to start planning on having your dog in your wedding to find out later that your venue doesn’t allow dogs. If you know ahead of time that including your pup is a must, use that in your criteria when choosing a venue. If you’re going to be getting ready at a hotel on the day-of, opt for a pet-friendly hotel.
- Practice Makes Perfect
If you don’t take the time to practice, you’re not giving your four-legged pal a fair chance to shine! Take some time to practice walking them down a make-shift aisle in a straight line and have them sit beside you for a few minutes. Increase the amount of time you have them sit next to you each practice session and reward them with treats and lots of positive encouragement! Added bonus: practice a few times with the person in charge of walking your pup down the aisle so that your pup can get familiar with them. Have that person give your pup treats + encouragement as well, so that they’ll be used to this by wedding day.
- Pack for Success
Make sure the packing list for your pup includes the essentials: water bowl, food bowl, food, treats, leash, 1-2 toys and bed. You’ll want to make sure your pup has everything they need to be comfortable on the day-of.
- Designate a Puppy Captain
Invite a family member, close friend or member of your bridal party to be Puppy Captain (best. job title. ever.). Your pup will need to be taken out for potty periodically on the day-of and that’s not something you want to have to worry about in your long white dress and/or fancy tux. Have this person also take your dog on a short walk or have a short play time with them sometime in the morning before the ceremony to help release some of their energy before their big entrance. Our Puppy Captain recommendations: person walking pup down the aisle or person in charge of puppy daycare (see below).
- Arrange for Puppy Daycare
Arrange for someone to pick up your dog or secure someone come to the venue to take over puppy watch. Chances are your pal is going to be pretty tired and will welcome a chance to go rest and play elsewhere. Plus, you don’t want to have to worry about taking your dog potty in the middle of Uptown Funk (because who wants to miss Uptown Funk?!?!)
- Give them Glam
This is their big moment! You want them to look their best. Our faves? Have your gal-pal in a flower crown that matches your bouquet or have your little champ in a bow tie that matches the groom!
- Commemorate the Moment
Your wedding is a day you’ll want to remember for a lot of reasons, and including your best four-legged friend is definitely on that list! You’ll have the photos, of course, but you can also recognize their involvement in other ways. Some fun ideas: create custom postage stamps with their image to use on your invitations, have them tag along on your engagement shoot and use some of those photos on your wedding website, include them in your bridal party list on your program as “Best Dog” or “Pup of Honor”, have Puppy Chow (recipe here) as favors or as the Late Night Snack.
Photo at top of page by: Farrah Brianna