Calling all dog owners! No doubt you're head-over heels in love with that pooch of yours, and you may even be looking for a creative way to incude your beloved dog in your wedding. Whether that means a fully tuxedoed pup walking down the aisle, or a nod to your pet on your save-the-dates, there are endless ways to show your love for Fido. To help bring a few tips to the table, today I'm excited to have a guest post from by Joy Bianchi Brown. She's the business partner, sister, and biggest fan to wedding photographer Jules Bianchi, who has a deep love for dogs and photographs them often...
From Joy: If you have heard of Jules Bianchi, you have probably heard of Olive, Jules’ four legged side-kick (This sweet duo is seen above!). Jules’ love for her dog is well known, and many brides who feel the same way about their furry children have commissioned her to photograph their weddings.
If you are thinking about including your favorite four-legged child to your wedding plans, here are some tips for you:
The first thing to consider is the personality of your dog. Does she do well in crowds? Is she social or shy? How old is your dog? Will this be physically challenging for her? If the event will be more stressful than fun for your dog, you may want to weigh in how important it is to include her. There are lots of fun ways to honor your pet at the wedding without actually having her there.
If you’ve decided that Fido is in fact going to make an appearance, the next thing you want to do is make sure that dogs are allowed at your wedding venue. For example, a restaurant wedding would not be an option for you if you wanted to include your pooch. Talk to the officiant of your ceremony as well as the venue to make sure all are comfortable and aware of your plans. You may need to follow some specific rules or pay an extra fee to include them.
Another place to check in with is your hotel. If you book with a hotel that is dog-friendly you’ll have a place where your dog can relax and get some space from the hustle and bustle of a crazy wedding day. If your dog will tolerate a crate, make sure they have one so they can feel safe.
Think about what role your dog will play. Will she carry a ring-bearing pillow around her neck or will she simply accompany you down the aisle? Will you want your dog to wear a special outfit? There are lots of fun companies that can help with custom made collars or other wedding accessories so your dog will feel right at home with the rest of the well dressed attendees. Just make sure that you give the outfit a "trial run" before the big day, especially if your dog isn't used to wearing extra clothing.
Before the wedding day, it’s a good idea to take your dog to visit the space a day or two ahead of time, so you can both be comfortable with how they will behave there, and check out any foreseeable trouble spots.
Make sure you arrange for care before, during, and after the ceremony and reception, so a handler has specific responsibility for your dog at all times. This should be someone she trusts, so she feels comfortable in an unusual environment. You don't want to be worrying about your furry child on your wedding day. Make sure the handler has supplies for any accidents, such as doggy bags and paper towels, and that the handler allows for many potty breaks. Also, bring their favorite treat and toy to help distract them if they get upset or squirrly.
You’ll need portable food and water on hand and to feed and water your dog early and often, since dogs can easily get over stimulated at events like this.
Make sure to have an exit plan if they can't sit through the ceremony, or things don’t go as expected on the wedding day.
Always make sure your dog is on a leash, even if she is very well trained. This will make the guests more comfortable as well as eliminate the dog getting lost during the reception. You also want to be aware of guests with allergies or a fear of dogs.
One last thing is you might consider wedding insurance, especially with a dog in attendance.
If you choose NOT to bring your pooch to the party, you can still honor her in a number of significant ways. Perhaps she can be part of your engagement shoot, and you can include portraits of the three of you to decorate the reception, put in your save the date cards or wedding announcements. One bride included her dog in a sweet pendent she attached to her bouquet. Another used their dog as inspiration to decorate their wedding menu and napkins, and another used the image of their dog to light up the reception dance floor!
There are so many fun things you can do to include your dog as part of your wedding day festivities, whether or not she is able to actually attend. I hope these images give you some fun ideas!
Thanks so much Joy! And thank you to Jules Bianchi for all these fabulous wedding dog photos!
Readers, stay tuned this afternoon for more doggy wedding fashion and decor resources!