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Article: A Guide To Pets At Weddings

bride and groom on wedding day holding their puppy on a leash

A Guide To Pets At Weddings

It's safe to say that we want everyone we love at or involved in our wedding, and for some of us, that means our pets. Every pet has its unique personality, so there is no one-size-fits-all option for including them in your ceremony. With this blog, we're taking you through everything you'll need to know if you're considering having your pet at your wedding.

Something you'll need to consider before you choose any of these options to incorporate your pet into your wedding is that you'll need to consider a few factors:

  • How does your pet react to the size of the crowd you'll be having at your wedding? If your fur baby gets anxious, over-excited, or something similar when they're in a group, you might want to reconsider how you include them. (There are other alternatives, and we'll cover them in this blog for you, so don't stress!)
  • Does your wedding venue allow pets on sight? You'll want to ask this question when looking at venues if having a pet is a critical aspect of your wedding day. If you're having a church wedding, it can often be unlikely that they'll allow pets inside, but it's always worth asking in advance, just in case.
  • Does your pet consistently listen to you or your partners' commands? Some pets can have a mind of their own, even if we love them more than words can express. If your pet has a cheeky, naughty streak to them, it might be best to keep that in mind when planning out their role at your wedding.

How can I include my pet in my wedding without physically having them at the ceremony/reception?

We want to take you through a handful of options here so that you have alternatives if one doesn't work for your specific wedding day.

Include them in the engagement photoshoot: If you want your pet connected to the memories of your wedding without having them at the wedding itself, involving your pet in an engagement photography session is a great option. Having your pet at an engagement photoshoot will allow you to capture images of your partner and yourself still while also getting some great pics with your pet. 

Do keep in mind that engagement photoshoots can sometimes take a few hours to complete, so come prepared for your pet as well as yourself. Having water is essential, and it might be a good idea to bring along a toy or their favorite item if they have one. I'd suggest bringing a friend along too so that they can help take care of your fur baby while you're getting photographed with your partner.

Add your pet(s) into your cake topper: The cake topper is the miniature model of the couple at a wedding that sits on top of the cake. Many couples have opted to have one made with a model of their puppy, kitten, or other pet added for that extra piece of personalizing their wedding cake.

A cake topper is an excellent way for you to give the nod to your pet in a meaningful way if you're unable to have them at the wedding for any reason. Your photographer will be taking photos of your cake, while the guests at your ceremony will be watching you cut it, so it gives your pet a prominent place at the wedding!

You can purchase cake toppers from a wide range of sources such as Etsy, bakers, and more. 

A cardboard cut out of your pet: This is an interesting one we noticed at a brides wedding in 2019 that sent us down a rabbit hole of looking at other brides online who have used them too, and it was a bride having a lifelike, printed cardboard cut-out of their puppy. The cut-out was at the entrance to the church as a fun way to greet guests, and people seemed to love it so much that it was featured in the Photo Booth photos in so many cute ways. You could also skip straight to adding a cut out of your pet as a Photo Booth prop if you'd like. That way, you can have your guests add them to photos throughout the day or night.

Accessorize outfits to include a reminder of your pet: There are many ways you can accessorize your bridal party's outfits to give the nod towards your pet's importance in your life as a couple. Some examples of this could be the groomsmen wearing cuff links created of your pet, pocket squares with your pet embroidered onto them, your pet painted or drawn under your heels, add a small pin or charm to your bouquet. Or any other way you can think of!

Getting ready: On the day of your wedding, you'll typically be going to, or staying, somewhere near the venue (or maybe even the venue itself) to get ready for your special day. You'll need to do hair & make-up, get into your gown, and spend some quality time with your bridesmaids before you enter married life. Having your fur baby there will include them in part of your big day if they're not going to be at the ceremony or reception.

Don't forget you'll need to organize someone to come and take your pet away, or look after them, once you move on to the ceremony and reception.

How can my dog be included on my wedding day?

There are several ways you can involve your dog while having them at your wedding ceremony, so we've got several for you to take into consideration.

Bridesmaid/Groomsmen squad member: You can include your pup in the wedding party and have them walk down the aisle with your bridesmaids and groomsmen, or even just on their own. If this is something you'd be interested in, it's a good idea to keep your pet on a leash for this part of the ceremony to keep things running smoothly. One great idea we've seen is the puppy's leash being decorated to match either the bride's gown or the groom's suit as a cute way to flow with the aesthetic of the wedding ceremony!

Guest of honor: One option to consider would have your fur baby in the front row at the wedding as your primary guest of honor. Having your fur baby as a guest of honor is an easy one to pull off. You'll want to have a friend or family member in the front row that the dog is comfortable with, holding them on their leash to keep them in the desired space throughout your wedding ceremony.

Ring bearer: Some couples have opted to go for their fur baby as the ring bearer at their wedding, instead of a family member or child. A great way to achieve this is the DIY (or buy) a lightweight ring box that can be attached to your pup's collar while they walk down the aisle with the rings inside.

Flower delivery: Another option to include your dog in your wedding is to have them carry the flower basket down the aisle beside the flower girl while she spreads the petals along the aisle. This is a cute way to include them and is always a hit with the audience at your wedding, seeing an adorable flower girl walking side by side with your fur baby!

Tips to prepare your dog before the wedding day:

1. If you intend to have your puppy at the venue, it could be a good idea to take your fur baby along to a walk-through of the venue (if the venue allows it) so that they can familiarise themselves with it before the wedding day.

2. Keep some of your puppy's favorite treats on hand (or with a trusted friend/family member who will attend) so that you have a backup plan if your puppy needs that little bit of motivation.

3. If you'll be walking your dog down the aisle with you or your bridal party, one good trick to start preparing for that before the big day is to practice walking the dog down a walkway of some kind. You can DIY your aisle-style walkway, or use a path at a local park, or do something similar to achieve this. Doing a dress rehearsal beforehand is also a good idea to test out how your dog might behave or handle things on the day.

Are you planning on including your dog at your wedding? We’d love to hear what you have in mind in the comments!

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