Including Your Pet in Your Wedding

Photo via Algo Azul Blog
Photo via Algo Azul Blog

Your pets are often like members of your family, so why not include them in your wedding with the rest of your loved ones? More and more couples are including Fido and Fluffy in their big day, so here are some tips on how to make your furry friends a part of your wedding.

Photo by Jason & Anna Photography via Style Me Pretty
Photo by Jason & Anna Photography via Style Me Pretty

If you’d like to include your cat, dog or other pet in your wedding ceremony and/or reception, be sure your pet is comfortable in a crowd. You won’t want your pet to get nervous and cower in a corner, or get overly excited and jump on your nicely-dressed guests. A well-trained pet can add joy to your wedding; a wild pet can ruin it.

Photo via The Guardian
Photo via The Guardian

If you decide that your pet can handle the wedding masses, you’ll want to have a game plan, no matter how calm and well behaved your pet is. Choose someone that your pet is comfortable to be ‘in charge of it’ for the day. This person can make sure your pet gets walked and fed so that you can focus on your guests. (Bonus tip: you may want to delay the pet’s afternoon meal to prevent a call of nature from interrupting your beautiful ceremony. Ahem.)

Your helper can also make sure your pet gets taken to someone’s home later in the evening if need be. No matter how much you love your pet, you won’t want it to be a distraction on your wedding day.

Photo by Justin Hankins
Photo by Justin Hankins

Be considerate of your guests. You may love spending time with your pets, but your guests may not. A few things to consider:
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Make sure no one has severe allergies.
-Make an effort to keep your pet away from anyone who is not an animal lover.
-If there will be little ones at your wedding, make sure your pet is good with children.

Photo by Matt Biddulph via flickr
Photo by Matt Biddulph via flickr

Think of your pet’s safety as well. You don’t want your pet to ingest anything that may be hazardous, such as certain plants and flowers, chocolate or spilled alcohol.

Photo via New York Daily News
Photo via New York Daily News

Ask your venues if they allow pets well in advance. You may also want to ask your caterer if there are any rules about having an animal present where they’ll be serving food. And of course, keep the pets away from the buffet tables.

Photo by Luster Studios
Photo by Luster Studios

If you want your pet to participate in the wedding – as opposed to just being led on a leash by an attendant or appearing in photos – you’ll need to practice. If your dog, cat, ferret, turtle, rabbit or anything else is expected to walk down the aisle, be sure it can do so without getting distracted. Have a back-up plan in case your pet gets performance anxiety.

Ellen DeGeneres and Portia Di Rossi
Ellen DeGeneres and Portia Di Rossi included their dogs in their 2008 wedding

Finally, the fun part: your pet’s wedding attire. You may be called crazy if you dress up your pets on the other 364 days of the year, but even Rover is entitled to look spiffy on your wedding day!

Photo at left via www.spoilurpets.com Top right: www.Doggieclothesline.com Bottom right: www.weddingtshirtsandgifts.com

Here are some other fun suggestions for dog wedding accessories from the Aisle Say blog at Brides.com.

How many of you are including your pet in your wedding?