Weddings are a time of joy, unity and celebration for families. It’s natural to want to include our beloved four-legged family members in the festivities. Pets often play a big role in a couple’s pre-wedding life, and couples are increasingly choosing to make their furry kids part of their wedding ceremonies. If your dream wedding doesn’t seem complete without your pooch, we have some tips on how to best include him on your big day.
Tip #1: Think carefully about your dog’s temperament
If your dog is easily startled, agitated by crowds, becomes anxious in new situations, or has tons of energy, he—and, consequently, you—may not end up having the dream wedding experience. You may be able to accommodate your dog’s quirks if you find a venue suited to him, or give him only a brief, albeit shining role in the wedding. But if your dog’s temperament really isn’t ideal right for a wedding, it might be better to get creative and find other ways to include him, like posing with him for a special wedding photo, or creating some dog-themed wedding accessories that feature his name or photo.
Tip #2: Choose an appropriate venue
Research your ceremony and reception venues thoroughly to ensure they are dog friendly, and right for your specific dog (they will easily accommodate a large dog, an energetic dog, or a nervous dog, for example). There are plenty of indoor and outdoor venues happy to host pets. Many restaurants with outdoor seating areas welcome pets. In addition, many breweries allow pets inside!
Tip #3: Assign “doggie duty”
You will be pretty busy on your wedding day. Ask someone—a dog-loving nephew or kid sister, perhaps—to walk your dog before the event, walk him down the wedding aisle (if need be), ensure that he has plenty of water to drink, keep him from helping himself to unattended dinner plates, and ensure that nobody feeds him something he shouldn't eat. If your dog is only going to play a small role in the wedding, you may also need someone to bring him to the event and then take him back home.
Tip #4: Be flexible, stay calm, and have fun!
Like little kids, dogs can be unpredictable. No matter how well-behaved your pup may usually be, or how many precautions you might take, there is no guarantee that he won’t try to mark the wedding tent post, sniff a perfumed guest inappropriately, try to sneak a goodie from the buffet table, or simply decide he’d rather investigate the church pews than trudge the ring directly up the altar. Expect the unexpected, roll with the punches, and—whether things go flawlessly, or whether Rover insists on jumping in Aunt Sally’s lap and licking cake off her face—know that your day will be much more memorable and special because you chose to include your beloved furry family member.
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