When it comes to including your furry family members in your wedding day, the possibilities are endless! Your pups could walk down the aisle, join you as you get ready for your special day or be the inspiration for your signature cocktails. No matter how you decide to feature them, here are some tips for including your beloved pets in the celebration:

Ask your venue about their pet policies

First and foremost, make sure that your venue allows pets at all! Some venues may allow certain animals but not others, so confirm that your dog will be allowed before you plan any further. If you’re eloping or having a destination nature wedding, check any parks and recreation resources to ensure that your fur babies are permitted in the area.

Consider what’s best for your pets, you and your guests

Remember that what’s best for your dogs may not be aligned with what your vision of the day looks like. Some pups may be too anxious or reactive to attend, and unfortunately, it may be best to leave them at home and include them through your reception decor instead. If you have an excitable pet, work on training them so that they don’t jump up on your–or anyone else’s–formalwear. If your ceremony is outside, mud and grass stains are a liability, and even if you’re celebrating indoors, your pet’s paws can damage formal apparel.

Let your guests know in advance that your dog will be there. This is especially important if you have kids coming or if anyone has allergies that you may not be aware of, as people may need to take allergy medicine to prepare, even if your event is taking place outdoors. Consider how your pets do with large groups of people, and assess whether having them there makes sense for them as well as you.

two dogs wearing floral garlands around their necks wait patiently while their moms marry each other
Photo by Morgan Caddell Photography

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Choose a good pet attendant

Choose the right person to be the dog watcher, ideally a friend outside of your wedding party or a professional pet attendant who your pet has met ahead of time. Many marriers choose to book a pet sitter for the day so that the dogs have one point person to keep them company before, during and after the wedding. Look into local pro attendants in your area at least a few months prior to the big day, and set up some practice time for them to meet your dogs and establish rapport.

Decide when they’ll make their appearance

Depending on your vision for the day, your dogs can make their entrance walking down the aisle as a ring bearer or keep you company as you get ready and take couple’s portraits. If you want your pups to join you for the ceremony, make sure you establish who will be holding their leashes during your rehearsal, so there are no awkward moments when it comes time to hand them off. If your dogs are up for the reception, decide in advance how long they’ll be there for so that everyone’s stress levels can stay low and you can focus on the party.

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Dress them to impress

From tiny tuxedos and flower crowns to custom-made tutus and personalized collars, there are plenty of ways for dogs in weddings to look their absolute best. Don’t forget to get them groomed the morning of or in the days before to ensure that your fur babies are clean and fluffed for your wedding photos.

Incorporate your pets in other ways

If having your dogs at your wedding isn’t feasible, don’t worry! There are lots of creative ways to incorporate pets into your special day, all of them sure to add an extra bit of cuteness:

  • Include your pups in photos on your save-the-date card, invitation and website
  • Find a wedding cake topper that looks like them
  • Use dog-themed accessories, like place cards, photo holders or paw print confetti
  • Wear a piece of jewelry celebrating your dog’s breed
  • Create a signature cocktail inspired by your pet and hire a watercolor artist to paint pics of your dogs for the drink station sign
watercolor paintings of two dogs as a sign for signature wedding cocktails
Photo by Morgan Caddell Photography

Get inspired with more pets at weddings here!

Featured image by Alyssa Frost Photography