Image of dog at wedding
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10 tips for a dog-friendly wedding

You want all your loved ones surrounding you and your future spouse on your big day and sometimes that includes the canine variety! Thinking of having your four-legged best friend in on the biggest day of your life? Check out these 10 tips for a dog-friendly wedding!

bridesmaids scratching dog's head

1. Assess your dog’s personality

Of course you love your pet but if they’re the type that gets shy or nervous around big crowds of people, it might not be worth the stress they’d be under to include them in the actual ceremony. If your dog is easy going and enjoys attention from lots of different people, then they probably won’t have an issue walking down the aisle with you.

If your dog is the type that would be stressed out, you might consider having them included in your engagement photos, save the date cards, or even give them a nod with your wedding favors – something like cookies shaped like your dog or like dog treats.

2. Choose a dog-friendly venue

A pretty important factor of having a dog-friendly wedding is having a dog-friendly venue! Talk with your venue’s representative to make sure pets are allowed and can be included in your big day.

3. Include them in the rehearsal

Though it would make for amusing photos we bet you don’t want your dog wandering off and smelling everything when s/he is supposed to be walking down the aisle! Bring your pup to the rehearsal and practice walking them down the aisle a few times so it’s familiar to them.

Italian greyhound in crate

4. Identify a dog-friendly space for downtime

Dogs sleep about 12 – 14 hours per day so it’s important to have a place for Fido to nap when their part in the ceremony is over. Whether that’s finding a pet-friendly accommodation at your venue that they can relax in or having a designated doggie space near the reception, have somewhere where your pet can be by themselves and recuperate after their time in the spotlight.

5. Have a dog sitter

Ask a friend or family member to watch your pooch or even hire a dog sitter. You’ll already have enough on your mind that it’d be best to have someone else hold the leash and get him or her to where they need to be. They’ll also be in charge of checking on your dog and making sure they get their bathroom breaks.

6. Bring plenty of food and treats

You’ll have your cake, but your dog shouldn’t eat it too. Bring Fido plenty of food, water, and treats for his or her good behavior during the ceremony and photos.

7. Select a photographer that’s worked with animals

Some photographers love working with both people and animals and some dislike the pressure of working with animals that typically don’t hold still for shots. Talk with your photographer to see how comfortable they are working with your pet. On the day of your ceremony, let your photographer get to know your pup so they’re both comfortable and familiar with each other.

golden retriever with bow tie

8. Accessorize your pup

Color coordinate your pup with the wedding party with a colored collar, bow tie, or bandana! If your pup lets you, you could also go with a dog-sized tux for a more traditional look.

9. Let your guests know ahead of time

Your pup will definitely get some smiles on your wedding day from your guests (especially if they’re in that tux) but some of your guests might also be getting the sniffles or sneezing their way through your ceremony due to allergies. Let your guests know in advance that your dog will be in the ceremony so they can plan ahead to have the right allergy medication on hand or even pass on the day if they must.

10. Determine if guests can bring their pooch

For many couples, they want their dog in the wedding as they’re an important part of their family but that doesn’t mean that they’re looking for their wedding to be a party for the dogs. Tell guests if your dog is the only one at the wedding and they should leave their pets at home or if you’re encouraging people to bring theirs along too.

Starting to plan the best day of your life? We invite you to check out our wedding venue in Northern Idaho as you begin planning your special day!