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Our furry babies are part of our everyday lives, so why not include them in your special moments, too? In fact, the cuteness overload will certainly make your celebration ten times more memorable. Planning a dog-friendly wedding is a thoughtful way to include your four-legged family members in your special day. While there may be some challenges to navigate, with careful preparation, you can ensure a smooth and stress-free experience for everyone involved.

Since a wedding is filled with strangers, unfamiliar locations, and loud noises, you must know a few things to avoid overwhelming your canine buddies. Our guide addresses everything from choosing a pet-friendly location to doing a trial run with the rehearsal dinner, so let’s dive in.

Can You Have Dogs At A Wedding

Considering that Google searches for ‘pets at weddings’ have increased by a whopping 200% over the last year, it’s no surprise that you’re considering the same for your canine, and why shouldn’t you? It’ll certainly be a beautiful highlight for the night.

So, the short answer is yes—there is absolutely nothing stopping you from having a pet at your wedding unless there’s an issue with your venue. And besides that, you must remember your pupper with every wedding decision you make to ensure everything’s smooth sailing.

How To Prepare Your Dog?

You must start by understanding your dog’s personality and creating a routine to get them used to different settings. So, if your dog of honor must fully embrace its role, here’s how to prepare it for the process.

Consider Your Pooches Behavior

As the owner, you will be keenly aware of how your pet behaves in situations where they will be around a lot of people or in an unfamiliar environment. Try to recall any parties or family get-togethers you have had at home – even though those events would be people the dog is accustomed to, it can give you a solid starting point to work with.

If your dog is easily stressed, it would be best to consult with a trainer who is used to training dogs for these types of events. Have a third person in on the training with you and your partner, as you both may end up being preoccupied with the ceremony and won’t be able to keep an eye on the dog at all times.

Before you start the training preparation, you need to always keep your dog’s best interest in mind. This will prevent any mishaps from happening on the event day.

Set Up A Training Routine Before The Wedding

You need to have an idea of how involved you want your dog to be in the ceremony. This will provide you with key ideas on what you need to train them on. Home-trained dogs are often taught the basics like sit, stay, walk, and other general commands.

Once you get a training plan, train with your dog a few times a week for a few months ahead of the ceremony. This is more imperative if you have a puppy that is still learning the ropes.

When training, don’t forget to reward your dog with treats when they succeed in following a command, this helps them adjust to the process better.

Do A Trial Run

Training your dog on the basics is only half the battle won, take the dog to the venue, or set up a space that is similar to the venue’s floorplan to perform a trial run of what you would like them to follow. This will help familiarize them with the process.

7 Steps To Include Dogs In Your Wedding

Now that the training is out of the way, we can focus on how to integrate your pooch into the wedding without any hitches

Finding A Pet-Friendly Venue

One of the first steps would be to find a venue that accommodates pets. Despite the overwhelming move towards including pets in weddings, your options will be narrowed down based on applying this requirement to your search process.

Venues closer to home may have stricter or more lenient rules, but if you are having your wedding across the country – in California for example, there may be many venue options that will be able to tick all your boxes. Just double-check with the venue, and get it in writing before you put down your deposit. This is to avoid being disappointed with any last-minute restrictions leveled at you.

Keep Guests Informed

In order for the wedding to go off without a hitch and no troubles to take place on your big day, make a note on the invitation about your four-legged friend being in attendance which is an integral part of the ceremony. This is for two reasons – people with any allergies will be adequately prepared and people will not overwhelm the dog with attention which can result in them becoming distressed.

Have A Designated Doggo-Only Section

You will want to make sure that your dog is comfortable during the entire event. A space for them away from the noise and smells will make them feel safe and stress-free so that they can put on their best behavior

Hiring A Dog Sitter

Unfortunately, you cannot be in two places at once, and because the wedding is about you and your partner primarily, you can’t keep both eyes on your fur buddy at all times. By hiring a dog sitter, not only will your dog have a friend with them at all times, but the sitter will be able to take care of and keep an eye on the dog when you are busy with the ceremony. If your dog becomes stressed, they will be prepared and knowledgeable on how to de-escalate the situation.

Logistics, Food, and Water

Having your dog at the wedding is one thing, however, you need to be adequately prepared for their presence at the event. This means having suitable transport to and from the wedding – you also have to look at kennels for the dog to stay in if you’re having a destination wedding at a vineyard or mountain area – or if you are planning on going on a honeymoon vacation directly from the wedding.

Weddings are a full-day affair, so your dog needs to be properly hydrated and fed during their time at the venue. Arrange to have your dog’s food delivered to the venue, and provide the sitter with a schedule for when to feed them and how much.

Dress Them Up

There is nothing cuter than seeing a pet dressed up for an occasion. If your dog is okay with having clothes put on them, order an outfit that either matches the groom’s tuxedo or the bride’s dress. If your dog is on the fussy side, keep it minimal by getting them a custom collar that’s lacy or resembles a bowtie – it will still be absolutely adorable.

Involve Them In Wedding Activities

There are many ways to have your pooch take part in the wedding day fun. You can have your dog either walk with the bride down the aisle or wait alongside the groom.

You can also have them walk down the aisle and they can stay next to the wedding party. If your dog is up to the challenges, you can give them the chance to be a flower pup or the ring bearer. This keeps your pet involved and within your sights.

Bonus Tip: Expect The Unexpected

Like with any other wedding, things don’t always go as planned, and the same can be said for having a pet-friendly wedding.

Out of the many happenings that can occur, your doggo might poop in plain sight, but this can be easily fixed by having someone on standby with cleaning equipment.

As it is an exciting day, the dog might feel in the mood and be overactive rather than overwhelmed.

It is also best to have allergy medication or first aid on hand to help people who didn’t note the pet’s inclusion in the event, or if any accidents happen to guests or the dog. It’s better to be safe than sorry.

To Summarize

There are many ways to involve your pooch in the entire wedding ceremony and reception, but before you do that, it’s good to ensure that your little one is comfortable in such settings. If that isn’t an issue, then having them join your special day will be so worth it.

Hopefully, the steps mentioned above will help you navigate the wagging tails and bursts of excited energy. Just keep in mind that, as long as you’re cool and calm, your doggo should be too. After all, they reciprocate energies, so keep those wedding jitters away.

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