Dogs at Weddings

Top Tips

How to have a dog friendly wedding

Advice and tips on how to incorporate your furry best friend in your wedding day

If you’re reading this, it’s probably because like me, you have a furry, 4-legged friend who is your absolute world and is 100% part of the family. If that’s the case then you’re likely trying to find every way possible to have them be a part of your big day. Heck you might even have planned your entire day around them (definitely something I would do). Whilst this is specifically about dogs, it applies to all pets.

Put your dogs needs before your own

One of the most important things to consider is your dog’s well-being. Dogs can be pretty resilient when it comes to most things in everyday life, however, weddings are totally different. Tensions are high, people might be stressed, lots of people will be around, some of them will be children or people your dog has never met before. All of these things your dog will pick up on and they could possibly feel overwhelmed by them. A dog that has never shown any aggression before, might suddenly snap in a challenging environment.

it doesn’t mean you don’t love them

If a busy environment is likely to result in them feeling stressed, look into other ways you can incorporate them into your day. One option would be to have a pet sitter look after them for most of the day who brings them along to your couple photos. If your venue has pet friendly accommodation, consider booking it for the night so you can bring your dog along but leave them somewhere safe where you can check up on them frequently. Think really carefully about who and what will be around your dog. Don’t feel bad about them not being present at all times, the last thing anyone needs on your wedding day is an avoidable bite.

Backseat Pooch

If your dog is likely to feel too stressed in a busy environment, they can still play a huge part in your wedding, without being present! There are so many ways you can incorporate your dog into your big day, without them having to physically be at your wedding. Putting your dogs needs first is not a bad thing and you won’t be judged for it. My own dog is highly anxious and would find a busy environment far too distressing, so I completely understand if you’re in this situation too.

Here are a few suggestions:

  • Have models of your dog included in your cake.
  • Frame a photo of your dog or print their paw print out and have them on display.
  • Get dressed up again and have a photoshoot with your dog after the day.

Ok, now that I’ve got the serious part out of the way, onto the fun stuff!

wedding Photos with your furry best friend

Is your venue dog friendly?

Firstly, check that all of your venues/suppliers are dog friendly! Some will allow dogs everywhere, others will only allow dogs in certain areas and then there are those part of the anti-pooch brigade that won’t allow them at all. Find out what your venue allows so you can plan how your dog will be involved. You don’t want to realise on the day that the car you hired doesn’t allow dogs or that you can’t take them into your ceremony with you.

Roles your dog can play:

  • Ring bearer
  • Dog of Honour/Best Dog
  • Centre of attention for the entire day!

Ring Bearer

If you’re having your dog be your ring bearer, I strongly advise that you designate a member of your party, who knows your dog well, to be in possession of the ring until it’s time to do the exchange. It would be slightly awkward if your dog spotted a squirrel just before your service and chases after it like Usain Bolt, with your rings in tow (or if they just have a quick shake and send your rings flying 100mph in a random direction).

Dog of Honour/Best Dog

Nothing beats having your doggy companion by your side on your wedding day! Whether they’re walking down the aisle with you or standing by your side at the front. Always make sure you’ve got someone on hand who can look after them when you’re doing the important bits or who could take them to one side if things get too much for them.

If you’re planning on dressing your dog up in some way, shape or form, make sure you do some research first. Some flowers can be incredibly toxic to dog and other pets. Also make sure that any bandanas you’re using are attached safely and won’t get caught/snagged on anything and result in strangling them.

Centre of Attention for the Entire Day!

Ok, whilst this is a bit of a joke, it’s also a valid point. It’s no lie that if you’re a dog person and you see a dog, you want to pet them, tell them they’re a good boy/girl and be their best friend forever. This is super lovely but do you really want your dog stealing your thunder on your wedding day? Not only that, do you want to be constantly watching for where your dog is, what they’re doing and who they’re trying to pinch a chicken drumstick off this time?

Whilst it’s amazing that you want your dog to be part of your big day, it’s also important to decide which parts of the day you want to let your hair down and relax. Either have a guest that your dog is familiar with available, who can watch them throughout the day (but remember, they’re not able to fully enjoy your day if they’re watching your dog) or arrange a pet sitting service who can look after your dog once the parts of the day you want them involved in are over.

Let’s also not forget that not everyone loves dogs. Be mindful of guests who might be frightened of dogs or who may have allergies. Make a note in your invitations to ensure there’s no issues with your dog being around your guests.

Finally, don’t forget about the routine parts of dog ownership!

  • Make sure you bring plenty of poo bags and don’t be surprised if they poop half way down the aisle.
  • Have plenty of food and water available to them throughout the day.
  • Provide a safe/comfortable space that they can take themselves off to if they need a rest or a break.

Thanks for looking,

Are you having a wedding in the Peak District? If you’re looking for a wedding photographer, you can find more of my work here or contact me here.

Struggling to plan your wedding day? Why not have a read of my blog all about ‘How To Plan Your Wedding’

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