Main image by DMC Photography
Animal lovers far and wide have a lot of the time got an unquestionable, non-negotiable request for their day. ‘Can I bring my dog to my wedding?’
Of course, the answer comes with a huge tick (no pun intended) from the celebrant, who naturally is there to facilitate the wants and needs of the client. For some, family and friends are the most important people in attendance, For others, it’s their dog. With dogs being one of the most popular pets in the UK, it’s no surprise that so many people want nothing more than to have their four-legged best friend by their side as they say their vows.
What Roles Can Dogs Have at Weddings?
There is a ton of ways you can involve your dog in a wedding. The options are endless really and nothing should be off the cards providing it is safe to do so and the dog is happy.
Your dog could act as ring bearer with the ring being attached to a collar or harness (or carried in the mouth in a bag if they’re super-dog), Ring Security, Dog of Honour, Chief Barks Maid, Best Dog, Flower Pup or even walking one or both clients down the aisle. An idea that is fun is having the dog help sign the wedding certificate using a paw print and acting as a witness.
Some couples, however, just want the dog to be present, with no formal role. Just having a lovely time and looking cute as ever.
Dog Friendly Venues
Most basic of things, and the first thing to do is always check with the venue if it is pet friendly, and if are there allocated areas where the dog can or can’t go? Of course, this will most likely be something that has been checked already but be sure to not make grand plans with the client before knowing the facts.
Not all dogs are used to big groups of people. The best advice to be given may sound obvious, but prior to the day, try and get them used to larger crowds. Quite often a nervous or needy dog who hasn’t been used to several people may just bark throughout or want to be as close as possible to its owner rather than sitting nicely and being relaxed.
Pet friendly festivals are great to see whether your dog is comfortable at big events.
If you can, try and see if the clients and venue are able to have a practice run. It will indicate if there are any triggers for the dog which could be an issue. For example, (speaking from my personal experience) the dog may not like walking on certain types of floors, meaning walking up the aisle with them might prove problematic.
How Will Your Dog React?
Nobody knows your dog better than you, so it is important to make sure your dog is also comfortable around loud music, clapping, loud noises, children and can handle rows of people sitting close to them. All these things can be sensory overloads for your four-legged family member, and they may become frightened, withdrawn or even snappy in this unfamiliar situation.
There will be different smells which could alter your dog’s behaviour, especially if they smell food cooking. Crying children, prams, wheelchairs, or guests with walking aids can frighten your furry friend.
Some dogs have been frightened by the wedding dress and the Bridesmaids. It is also important to make sure any confetti or petals throw aren’t toxic or hurtful to dogs.
If your dog is likely to spend their time begging for food or needs to constantly mark their territory, this can be a massive problem. No Bride wants their wedding gown to double up as a dog’s toilet post.
Aside from being a celebrant (obviously), this has probably got to be one of the best jobs ever.
When the dog has done their bit for the ceremony, maybe had a few photos, the chaperone can pet sit with them at the venue to keep them chilled out and fully occupied if needs be.
On any day that isn’t a wedding, lots of dog owners will take their dogs for walks at least once a day. Sometimes the structure of a wedding day won’t realistically allow for that, so having a dog chaperone there will take the pressure of that away to. Your dog will potentially need a wee many times during the day and making sure there are frequent toilet trips will prevent any indoor accidents from happening.
Sometimes, the dog chaperone can take Fido back to their home where they can remain for the night living in the comfort of a house. The next day the owners can come and collect knowing they have had a peaceful and stress-free evening.
Pack Their Favourite Things
Some dogs need to be constantly entertained whereas some just enjoy mooching about with the occasional nap and cuddle.
Perhaps advise to the client to pack the dog’s favourite toys, treats and a blanket or bed. This will make sure that the dog is as happy and comfortable as can be. Check they aren’t hot or cold and make sure they always have fresh water to drink.
It’s all in the Outfit
Nothing says PAW-some like a dog in a wedding veil or an adorable suit. There are loads of companies about that cater to making dog accessories such as bow ties, harnesses, flower crowns, bows to name but a few things.
Whilst the outfits are epic, just check with the clients that the dogs aren’t going to be too hot, uncomfortable, nervous, or any other kind of detrimental emotion. It will allow for a much happier pet and a much smoother running ceremony. You may long to see your dog in a matching flower crown, bow tie or a ‘Ring Security’ outfit, but your dog must be happy to be dressed up.
So many options, so many ideas, and so many ways in which to include a dog(s) in what is going to be one of the biggest days of the client’s life, only adding to their Happily FUR-ever After.