Including Your Pets in Your Big Day
Updated: Apr 8
When it comes to celebrating your special day with all your friends and family, a lot of couples hope to include their pet in the festivities. However, as any animal lover knows, pets can be unpredictable. We’ve gathered a few key tips to help include all your favorite paws, claws, and hooves into your big day without a hitch.
Announce the Paws
When deciding to include your favorite pet in your big day, letting everyone know is key to ensuring your day runs as smoothly as your favorite pet. First, you’ll want to confirm the venue allows pets and approves of your particular pet’s involvement. Some venues may naturally be better equipped to handle certain pets like having a fenced in pasture for horses or easy access to outdoors for dogs. Planning for your pet as early as booking your venue can save you a lot of stress and possible disappointment in not checking policies beforehand. Next you’ll want to let your photographer know so they can plan for some extra special shots and prep for unpredictable pet behavior. This will also help you decide when your pet should arrive and how long to plan for their stay. If your photographer decides snapping some pre-ceremony pictures with your pooch might be the best option to take advantage of the calm before the crowd arrives, you’ll need to plan for that. You’ll also want to let your vendors know if there will be an animal present, as they may need to plan for their presence. Lastly, ensure all your guests know your pet will be present. This will allow anyone with allergies to come prepared so they are able to enjoy your special day with you.
Heads or Tails
Even the most well-behaved pet can have a hard time in new surroundings, and in the midst of a large group of people. When planning to include your special pet, consider their personality and match their role to what they can handle. If your best paws are too shy to scamper down the aisle as a ring bearer, include them in other areas of the ceremony. Have them walk down the aisle as a companion to one of your groomsmen or bridesmaids or designate a handler to stay with your pet in the audience to watch the ceremony. Having a designated handler stay with your pet at home or in a less stressful area of the venue until their time to shine can also help ease stress on your pet and you. Part of your planning should also include transportation to and from the venue for your pet.
Post Ceremony Plan
Just like planning for your own departure, you’ll also want to plan for your pet’s departure after their special role is complete. If you plan on arriving to the aisle on your favorite horse, you can’t expect them to find their own way back to a pasture and wait for you and their next appearance. Have an exit strategy planned and communicated to all your designated pet handlers and make sure they are up to the task before the big day. If your pet starts to feel overwhelmed, your handlers should also have a plan to ease the stress or remove your pet. Between the enticing food smells and bustle of the reception, your pet may need a break to chance to get away from the excitement. Have extra treats and water available to them throughout the day to keep their tummies in check and attention more manageable.
A day as special as your wedding is meant to be shared with all your loved ones…including your favorite four-legged ones. Whether you’re planning a special photo shoot or having your pet play a special role in the ceremony, there’s lots of ways to include your pet on your special day. With the right planning, your pet will enjoy the day as much as you!