8 Things to Consider When Involving a Pet in Your Wedding
Weddings are one of life’s sweetest celebrations—a joyous occasion for your family and friends. For those of us who are proud pet parents, family often includes our beloved fur babies as well. We may even prefer our pets’ attendance at the wedding over some actual relatives and obligatory guests!
While including your favorite canine, feline, or other furry/feathered friends on the most important day of your life may seem like a no-brainer decision, there are a few important things to consider before packing that adorable bow tie collar or flower girl headdress in your pet’s overnight bag.
1. Is Your Pet Allowed at Your Wedding?
Perhaps the most important thing to first check is whether your wedding venue allows pets to begin with. Nothing would be worse than planning for Buddy’s adorable walk down the aisle as your ring bearer, just to find out he can’t even be on the property!
While pets being a part of the wedding is becoming increasingly more acceptable with more venues accommodating to this growing trend, it’s important to be aware of any policies and regulations your venue may have around this. This will ensure that you aren’t hit with any unpleasant surprises during an already-hectic time; e.g., pets are only allowed outdoors, only pets of a certain kind/size are allowed, etc.
If you’re lucky enough to find a pet-friendly wedding venue, it’s also important to make sure your pet is comfortable with its surroundings. It’s a good idea to bring them to the venue the day before the wedding to let them get the lay of the land, as well as help you familiarize them with designated bathroom areas, the best place to feed them, an easy exit if needed, and other important things to know ahead of time.
2. Who Will Be Watching Your Pet?
Weddings, albeit celebratory, can be quite hectic with lots of moving pieces throughout the day. While you may love to have your furry friend present for all the festivities, you surely don’t want to be worrying about them the whole time, while also trying to relax and enjoy your special day.
Whether you choose a trusted family member or hire a pet sitter for the day, designating somebody else to watch over your pet on the day of—making sure they get to/from the wedding ok, have enough food and water, are picked up after, and don’t demolish the wedding cake—will give you one less thing to worry about. One recommendation: have your designated sitter watch over them during the ceremony, and then take them home before things get too rowdy at the reception.
3. What Will Your Pet’s Role Be?
If you are so lucky to have your furry best friend present for your wedding, consider what important role you’d like them to have in it. As many couples can’t imagine having their wedding day without somehow involving their precious pet, there are lots of cute and creative ways to let them play an important part. Whether you appoint them to be your ring bearer or flower girl, best man or “mutt of honor”, or just a sweet spectator—we know you will choose the most fitting role for your beloved fur baby on your big day!
4. Will Everyone at the Wedding Be Comfortable?
While it may be hard for us proud pet parents to grasp that others may not share our same affinity, the truth is some people are just not as fond of animals for various reasons—e.g., allergies, fears/phobias, etc. Though it is your big day and ultimately your call to include your pet as part of it, providing a heads up to your guests—by mentioning Buster’s attendance on the save-the-dates and invitations—is a thoughtful and considerate way to give them all a chance to prepare for it in advance.
After all, ensuring the health, safety, and comfort of your guests at your wedding ought to be just as important as ensuring the same for your beloved fur baby—which we will cover next.
5. Will Your Pet Be Comfortable?
As enthusiastic as you may be to have your favorite furry companion present on your big day, consider whether the feeling is mutual. Though your pet may love celebrating you, they may not be so thrilled about doing so in an unfamiliar place with loud, blaring music and hundreds of over-zealous guests petting them nonstop throughout the day.
Even the most social and friendly pets may be overwhelmed by all the day’s festivities, and may only be able to handle bits at a time. Either having a trusted friend or sitter bring them home after the ceremony, or having a designated quiet place for them to escape to when needed (i.e., a separate room away from the crowd and noise) is a good way to make sure your pet’s experience of your happiest day isn’t a stressful or even traumatic one.
Also important to consider is your pet’s wedding attire—more importantly, whether they will be comfortable in it all day. Though few things are more adorable than a pup or kitty in a bow tie collar, fitted tux, or floral skirt, making sure it fits your fur baby comfortably throughout the day is important to ensure a smooth and enjoyable day for both you and your pet. Most importantly, make sure no part of your pet’s wedding fit is a hazard to them in any way (e.g., too tight, choking hazard accessories, poisonous flowers, etc.).
6. How Long Should Your Pet Stay?
Weddings are often all-day events. And let’s face it, that can be too long for many, especially your pet. While the day may fly by for you two, your pet will likely feel stressed out being away from the comfort of home for that long—especially when their favorite humans are understandably busy having the time of their life!
Even with a trusted sitter and a designated quiet place to escape to, your pet may only be able to handle so much of your wedding festivities before needing to call it a day. So pick and choose the events for which your beloved Coco’s presence is a must—e.g., the ceremony, photo sessions, the grand entrance (if not too rowdy for them)—and plan out your wedding day with the timing of these events in mind.
Our recommendation: let your fur baby be part of the ceremony, which is generally the calmer and more collected portion of the day, and family photos to follow. Once it starts getting into cocktail hour, it would be best (for both you and your pet) to have them taken home so that you can fully immerse yourself in all the upbeat festivities, loud music, and dancing the night away at your reception with peace of mind.
7. What Are Some Fun Pet Photography Ideas?
One of the main reasons couples like to include their pets on the most important day of their lives is to make sure they’re part of the memories from the day. Letting your photographer know in advance that your pet will be part of the wedding will give them an opportunity to come up with some unique and adorable poses, props, and ideas to include them in your wedding photos. Imagine staging a first look with your furry bestie!
For the same reason you’d give your guests a heads up about your pet’s attendance at your wedding, notifying your photographer in advance will also give them a chance to plan and prepare for it beforehand. Again, while we pet parents have a hard time grasping who wouldn’t be equally obsessed with our adorable fur babies, you never know who may be allergic and/or wary of animals themselves.
8. What Are Some Fun Ways to Still Include Your Pet in Your Wedding Without Them Actually There?
If, for whatever reason, you aren’t able to have your beloved pet physically present at your wedding—don’t fret! We’ve got you covered with some cute and creative ways to still have their presence felt on your big day. In my 10+ years working as a wedding planner, I’ve seen couples come up with some truly too-cute ideas of including their precious pets in the celebration, such as:
- Including photos of your pet on your wedding signage
- Having your pet’s photo on a customized pocket square or in a pendant attached to your bridal bouquet to walk down the aisle with
- Creating life-size cutouts, stuffed animals, or pillows of your pet to “stand at the altar” with you
- Adding your pet’s cute little face to cocktail napkins, drink stirrers, coasters, or cups for cocktail hour
- Creating a signature cocktail in honor of your pet (e.g., “His Choice, “Her Choice”, “Roscoe’s Choice”)
- Adding your pet’s photo to details of your reception (e.g., table numbers, menu/programs, wedding favors, etc.)
- Including photos of your pet in a video montage showing some of your best memories with him/her
No matter how silly these ideas may seem to others, remember that it is your wedding day—giving you total liberty to honor your fur baby however you want, with no shame!
As the trend of couples including their pets on their wedding day becomes ever more popular, we hope our list of important things to consider will help you decide if doing so is the best choice for you (and your pet) on your big day.
While some proud-pet-parent couples wouldn’t think twice about including their pets in all the wedding festivities, making sure everyone involved is happy, safe, and comfortable throughout the day is key to ensuring a successful celebration for you and all your loved ones—two- and four-legged guests alike!