How to Include Your Dog in Your Wedding

June 6, 2024 | riley

Pet parents know just how important their furry friends are to them. For many, these animals are like family, and the idea of including them on your wedding day is just another step you can take to make your celebration truly yours. While we know that many–especially those hosting a wedding far from home–can’t bring them along to celebrate, we also know that more and more couples are opting to incorporate them into the big day in some way, shape, or form. 

Junebug has an extensive vendor directory full of professionals who see weddings day in and day out. So, we thought it would be worth asking them how to include your dog in your wedding. Jamie of Brisbane Celebrants and Brisbane Wedding Decorators kindly put together ten tips to ensure that bringing Fido into your wedding goes as smoothly as possible!

How to Include Your Dog in Your Wedding

1. Groom them

Chances are you and your partner spend quite some time preparing for the wedding–your pets should do the same. When creating your to-do list for the week leading up to the big day, include a professional cut and bath for your pet. This way, they are freshly groomed and smell good on the big day.

2. Assign a dog concierge for the day

You’re going to be pulled in a hundred different directions on your wedding day, and the last thing you want to do is add more stress to your plate. While pets don’t require too much attention at home, they are going to need constant attention when at a special event. That’s where a dog concierge comes in.

Your dog concierge is responsible for watching and caring for your pet throughout the day. For some, this may be a family member or friend. We understand, though, that for some, you may not want to add that work to your loved one’s plate. That’s when you may want to consider hiring a professional pet wedding assistant who solely focuses on the animals. Not only will this allow your friends and family to enjoy your special day, but a professional can also ensure that your pet is returned home safely after the ceremony.

We understand that finding a professional you trust may be difficult, so if you’re unsure where to look, ask your officiant for recommendations. 

3. Dress to impress

As we mentioned earlier, we’re going to bet that you spend a lot of time and money looking your best on your wedding day. Your dog deserves that same treatment. We’re not saying you need to spend hundreds of dollars on an outfit. However, consider a flower crown, lei, mini dress, bow tie collar, or a full-on ‘black tie’ tuxedo. You can find quite a few outfit ideas for pets on Etsy.

4. Organize transportation

You’re going to have your hands full from sunrise to the end of the day, which is why it’s wise to organize transportation for your pup. Of course, this is about choosing who’s going to drive them. But it’s also important to consider whether or not you want them in a crate, booster seat, etc., when in the car. 

5. Keep essentials on hand

Though dogs aren’t going to require too many necessities, there are a few things to have on hand to help the show run smoothly. Ensure whoever is watching your furry friend is well equipped with a leash, water bowl, a large water bottle (you will most likely be able to get water from the venue for them; however, it doesn’t hurt to be prepared), some wipes to clean their paws should they want to say hi to guests, and of course, some treats to reward them for being so good.

6. Choose a dog-friendly ceremony venue

If you know early on in the wedding planning process that you want to include your dog in your wedding, it’s important to set yourself up from the very beginning. When touring venues, be sure to ask whether or not they are dog-friendly. Even if you are unsure whether or not it’s something you want to include, you’re better off asking ahead of time versus finding out it’s not an option closer to the big day. 

7. Maintain your dogs routine

Dogs can be unpredictable, so it’s crucial to keep them happy and relaxed as much as possible.  Maintain their current routine as much as you can, including meal times, walks (particularly pre-ceremony), etc. This helps keep them on their best behavior and reduces the chance of an unscheduled bathroom break. 

8. Ensure the florals are safe

If you’re including florals for your pup or you know that they’re going to be spending some time near your decor, it’s essential that you research how “dog safe” your preferred blooms are. Many flowers can be highly toxic and dangerous for dogs to ingest, so err on the side of caution. Let your florist, planner, and/or designer know that you will be including your dog, so their health is a priority for your florals. 

If the flowers you’re dreaming of including are toxic to pets, you’ll want to discuss this with your pet concierge or whoever is responsible for watching your dog on the big day to ensure that they’re not getting into something potentially life-threatening. This may require the petsitter to keep an even closer eye on them.

9. How to include your dog as the ring bearer

If you’ve decided to include your pup as the ring bearer, Jamie has found that the safest way to include them is as follows: 

The officiant will ask, “Can [dog’s name] please present the rings?” The petsitter then walks the dog up to the couple, and the couple gives the dog a pat, hug, or kiss on the head. The dog concierge hands over the rings, or the couple unties the rings from the dog’s collar. 

This makes for some pretty incredible photos that we know you will cherish for years to come.

10. Include them in your wedding photos

Lastly, make the most of having your dog present by bringing them into some of your wedding photos. While you should get some of you and your pet with just your partner, it’s also a lot of fun to include them in group shots with your wedding party. Talk with your photographer beforehand to let her know that these are some must-have photos for you, and they can make sure to find the best location and include it in their shot list. 

With the help of the right vendor team, including your furry friend in your big day is an easy way to personalize your ceremony and create memories that you’ll have for a lifetime. To help them get dressed to the nines, we’ve rounded up some of the best wedding dog attire and accessories on Etsy!  

Email [email protected] to advertise on Junebug Weddings

Leave a Comment