What would your wedding be without your fur baby, right?
For many couples, dogs are like family members, and we’re seeing more and more pups involved in the big day. But if you’re thinking about incorporating your pooch into your “I dos,” there are a few things you need to consider before the big day. Take a look at these tips to make your beloved dog happy, safe, secure, and ready to celebrate with you.
Check your venue’s pet policy.
Touch base with the coordinator at your wedding day space to see if pets are permitted. If you have your heart set on including your dog in the wedding, it’s best to ask before you book! Some locations may allow animals but ask to see updated shot records or dog licenses before you can proceed with your plans, so find out what’s required.
Make sure your dog can handle a long day.
Weddings are a stressful time for people and can be even more overwhelming for dogs. If Rover tends to be shy or anxious, it is probably best to leave him or her at home. Also, if your dog is too rambunctious around lots of people (or just not so well-behaved), having them attend may be a total headache.
Utilize your dog’s strengths.
If your dog likes to sit still, place him or her near the entrance where he can greet guests or have your furry friend stand at the alter. Will she walk flawlessly by leash if someone’s got a treat in hand? Have someone in your bridal party walk her down the aisle (and remember to use a short leash, since the walkway tends to be narrow). Stick to something you’re confident your dog can do, instead of pushing for something that might not play out well.
Have a day-of plan.
Designate someone to handle your dog before and during the ceremony, and make sure to provide plenty of treats, food, water, and toys. This will allow you to focus on what you need to do, rather than worrying about whether your dog is behaving or not. Since receptions tend to be loud and crowded, consider having someone take the dog home after the ceremony concludes. You might even want to leave your pooch a new toy or a special treat to thank him or her for being a part of your big day!
Consider your guests and wedding party.
Don’t forget to factor in your wedding party, and anyone else who will be around the dog during the ceremony. If your best man has a severe allergy or your flower girl is seriously frightened by your pup, including him or her might not be the way to go. It’s better to take extra precautions to ensure that everyone is happy.
Practice as much as you can.
Rehearse as many times as you can and reward your dog as you would in any other training situation. Also, make sure the handler is able to practice with the dog so they feel comfortable with one another. Remember that pups (especially young ones) need way more practice than humans do.
Make them look their best.
Book an appointment at the groomer as close to your wedding day as possible, so your dog gets some added attention like the rest of your big day party. A trip to the doggie salon will leave your best friend smelling fragrant and looking polished for the “I dos” and special photos.
Plan on a pre-wedding walk.
Forgive us for the potty talk, but don’t forget to make sure your dog goes to the bathroom before the ceremony begins. You do not want your pet stopping halfway down the aisle to relieve him or herself. Unless, of course, you want some seriously awkward and hilarious snapshots!
And, don’t get too bummed if your dream venue is not pet-friendly or if rover is a little too unruly to attend your ceremony. There are many other ways to include your four-legged friend without him being physically present. Include your pooch’s paw print on custom save the date stamps, put her sweet silhouette on your escort cards, or find the perfect pup-themed cake topper! We promise you won’t be in the doghouse…