If you haven’t already guessed by now, I really love my dog George. He accompanies me where possible, so I can completely understand when couples want to plan a dog friendly wedding. However I know that he’s not super comfortable in all situations, and I don’t want to push him out of his comfort zone. So if you are getting married, what should you consider if you want your pooch to share your day? Katie is a professional pet carer and offers her clients a pet chaperoning service for their wedding day. I spoke with Katie at Star Paws to ask her advice.
“You only have to look at pet industry trends and figures on pet care spending to appreciate how important our pets are to us. For many they are a very important member of the family. Wedding trends indicate that more and more of us want to celebrate our special day with our special four legged friend by our side, but there are many things to consider before we make that important decision.”
Your Dog’s Temperament
“Is your dog excitable, nervous, boisterous or obedient? Weddings can be pretty stressful occasions with lots of people bustling around, children running around and lots of noise. How will your pet cope with this? If your dog is nervous it might not be a good idea to give them a big role on the day, or even have them there. This is the first question you need to ask yourself going forward. Even if you don’t include them on the day, you could include them in the wedding theme – incorporate them in the seating plans, or have photos of them on the table number cards or make your wedding favours in tribute to your beloved pooch.”
Your Wedding Venue
“Does your venue allow pets? Is your reception in a pet friendly place where there is outdoor space? If having your dog at your wedding is one of your main priorities it’s worth considering outdoor venues such as farmyards, barns or marquee field type locations. Even if pets aren’t allowed inside the venue, they could feature in wedding photographs taken outside.”
“Informing your photographer that you’re planning to include your pet in the wedding photos will allow them to prepare photo ideas that work with your pet; and help to prepare them for any unpredictable pet behaviour.”
Invest in a Pet Chaperone
“Who will be responsible for your pet on the big day? It’s unrealistic to expect your guests to look after your pet and you will be far too busy to be able to keep an eye on them. Employing a pet chaperone means you have someone solely responsible for looking after your dog, allowing you to enjoy the day.”
“Notify guests that you are going to include your pet at your wedding on the save the date cards and again on the invitation. Anyone with a pet allergy can plan in advance and still enjoy your special day.”
Plan The Day
“It would be unrealistic to expect your pet to be present for the entire day. Decide what part of your special day you want your pet to be there, and consider where your pet will spend the rest of the day.”
Your Pet’s Role
“There are many ways you can include your pet at your wedding. They could be your usher or direct people to their seat. Perhaps you’d like them as your ring bearer or flower girl? Walk down the aisle with a bridesmaid? Or maybe you just want them to be there to celebrate with you. If you want to dress your pet for the occasion, keep it very simple, their comfort is paramount, make sure any accessories won’t come loose and pose a choking hazard to your pet.”
“Make sure you rehearse with your dog so they have some idea what will be expected.”
“It’s important to have a relaxed attitude as pets can be unpredictable! But most importantly it’s your wedding day – have fun! ”
Thank you to my fellow wedding photographers for lending me their images of dogs at weddings.
Thank you to Katie at Star Paws for her expert advice. Star Paws is a friendly pet care service based in Northampton. Services range from dog walking, pet home visits and a pet taxi service. Additionally the business offers a unique dog chaperone service which allows couples to include their special four-legged friend on their special day. Star Paws At Weddings provides a range of wedding packages where your dog can be groomed and pampered before attending the wedding, will be a part of your wedding ceremony and stay for the all-important pictures.
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