How to Plan a Dog-Friendly Wedding

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dog-friendly wedding human hands with dog pawIt’s time to tie the knot in front of your loved ones and, of course, that means your beloved furry friends too! Have you considered having a dog-friendly wedding? Your pet is as much a member of your new family as anyone else. There’s no reason they shouldn’t be there on your special day!

How to Plan a Dog-Friendly Wedding: What You Need to Know

From puppy ring bearers or flower girls to four-legged bridesmaids and groomsmen, there are plenty of fun and unique ways to include dogs in your wedding. But, how do you ensure everything goes off without a hitch? What aspects should you consider when planning a dog-friendly wedding? Here’s everything you need to know!

First Things First: What Type of Wedding Venue Should You Choose?

A dog-friendly wedding can provide a calming ambiance to your wedding venue. A good scratch behind the ear or wag of the tail brightens everyone’s day.

Already decided early on that you want to host a wedding that includes your furriest friends? Your next decision will be choosing an appropriate venue for the ceremony and reception.

What to Consider with an Indoor Venue!

When you think of an indoor wedding ceremony, you likely imagine it taking place inside houses of worship or large banquet halls. Indoor venues aren’t always receptive to pets roaming their premises, however, communication is key when planning a dog-friendly wedding. Simply call ahead and check with venue officials to make sure your dog can participate in your nuptials.

If you’re hosting a traditional wedding ceremony in a religious venue like a cathedral, temple, or mosque, it’s unlikely that more than one or two dogs will be allowed to accompany you.

Loud, indoor receptions are also generally unsuitable for most pets, as a dog’s ears are far more sensitive than our own. However, there are a wide-ranging collection of noise-canceling headphones designed specifically for dogs of all breeds.

Protect your pooch’s ears if you plan on having a raucous wedding after-party! Enclosed environments with a DJ and a dance floor can put undue stress on your pup and make it difficult for them to enjoy the festivities.

What to Consider with an Outdoor Venue?

Outdoor venues are really the ideal location for a dog-friendly wedding. The wide open spaces associated with beach or rustic-themed weddings tend to be the perfect location to let your doggos run around and relax in the shade.

Designate an area that is secluded from the rest of the wedding activity, so pets have a place to go to the bathroom.

Consider hiring a pet sitter to watch over and pamper your pup. Particularly if you know that your guests are bringing their pets along too. Consider getting a professional to keep an eye on the pack. They can make sure the dogs don’t sniff around someplace that they shouldn’t. It’s a small expense when you realize just how much you’ve spent on everything else.

You will be way too busy to do it yourself, after all!

scottish terrier at family dog wedding

Have Dog, Will Travel: Do You Have an ESA?

There is much to consider in terms of choosing the right venue, as a bride and groom planning a dog-friendly wedding. The same can be said if you plan on attending as a guest and want to bring your own pet to the ceremony.

When traveling to another city, be sure to check if hotels allow pets to stay inside the room. If you need to book a plane ticket in order to get to the wedding location, research the various airlines’ pet travel policies carefully. Air travel may not be the best option for your individual pet.

If you qualify for an Emotional Support Animal, airlines are obligated to reasonably accommodate yourself and your support animal, under the Air Carrier Access Act.

There Will Be Dogs: Informing Your Guests

Not everyone will be excited to attend a wedding with dogs, whether it’s due to allergies or a general fear.

Extend your guests the courtesy of informing them of your dog-friendly intentions. Including a sentence on your wedding invitations. Explain that you plan to allow pets at the ceremony and reception, is all it takes.

You can design a cute wedding invitation that gives guests (and their +1s, if you’re allowing them) space to select if they would like to be seated away from any animals that are present. This way you can accommodate everyone! 

Get Your Pups Involved!

You would never dream of going anywhere without man (and women’s) best friend, and your wedding day is no exception. There are cute wedding activities to incorporate your dog in your wedding and make this special occasion even more memorable.

Include your Pup in Your Save-The-Date Reveal Photos

A save-the-date photo shoot is a classic wedding tradition and a great opportunity to involve your canine companion in your wedding preparations.

Professional wedding pictures are a superb way to include dogs with a shy personality or those that tend to be overly excitable. You, your fiance, and your best friend! Together you can tell the world exactly when you plan to get married (and in adorable fashion)!

Doggone Costumes

If you’re throwing a themed-wedding, there’s no better way to melt hearts than dressing up your pooch in a corresponding costume.

Picture this: We’re at your Kentucky Derby-inspired southern wedding and your cute-as-a-button ring bearer, dressed as a horse jockey, is leading your Great Dane “thoroughbred” down the aisle!

Meet and Greet the Fuzzy Doorman

Put Fido in charge of the guest list and let his friendly demeanor greet your guests at the door. This is an unbelievably charming way to involve your dog in your wedding and adds to this already joyous occasion.

Older dogs that tire easily or dogs with affable personalities, that aren’t prone to jumping up on people? They make the best wedding doorman! 

Who’s Hungry?

Caterers have likely been booked to feed all the humans at your wedding, but what about the pups?

esa dog prepared for wedding

If your canine guest list is particularly large, consider designating a special food and water station for all the dogs. Set up a small table adorned with the same wedding decorations as your guests’ tables. Place name cards next to fancy food and water bowls for each pooch so they know where to sit!

Treats and Gift Bags for the Pet Enthusiast at Your Wedding

It’s common for the bride and groom to hand out gift bags to departing wedding guests. Don’t leave the doggos out!

Prepare a small bag filled with dog treats, a sturdy leash, and a chew toy (or two). It’s is a great way to tell your furry friends, “Thanks for coming!”

Another neat gift idea would be to pass out customized frisbees! 

Congratulations!

Hosting a pet-friendly wedding is one of the sweetest and most sincere ways to show the animals in your life just how important they are to you.

Getting the critters involved with your big day is just one way to make your wedding an unforgettable experience for everyone! Congratulations, newlyweds!

About the Author:

Sophie Darling is a wedding expert and community manager at WeddingDresses.com. Sophie is known in the industry as a professional who knows how to create the perfect wedding day without breaking the bank.

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