Planning a wedding is no small feat. It typically takes months of prep to book venues, select multiple vendors, finalize a guest list, and design the day of your dreams. And all of those things are just the tip of the iceberg; under the surface, millions of tiny details need to come together to keep everything afloat. One of the most important choices you'll make is who will play a special role in your big day. Of course, these are the people who often mean the most to you, but not just people; many soon-to-be-married couples also want their pet in their wedding.
Can you imagine your pet in wedding attire? Do you picture your pup prancing down the aisle or your cat strolling by your side?
Extra Considerations When You Have Your Pet in Your Wedding
It’s undoubtedly a growing trend for couples to include their beloved pets in their weddings, but it’s critical to recognize a few essential points. Before you make Fifi or Fido a part of your wedding day activities, think through various scenarios. For example, ensure your venues allow pets; even the most adorable of kittens or the most precious of pups aren’t going to get a business to ignore their policy.
Also, be honest with yourself about your pet’s demeanor. Are you sure your pet will be on their best behavior? Does your pet do okay around large crowds and lots of noise? Will your pal be able to resist the dessert table and ignore the servers carrying around tasty appetizers?
If you’re unsure about the answers to these questions, some pre-wedding, positive-reinforcement training might be in order. You might even consider hiring a professional trainer if you want as much assurance as possible that your day will go off without a hitch. (Although you always need to prepare for the unpredictable when it comes to your furry friends.)
Are you prepared to note on your invitations that your pet will be present, so your guests with allergies to animals can prepare adequately? As you can see, there are a lot of things to think about, so make sure you’ve thought them all through before making your final decision.
Use a Pet Sitter During Your Wedding
You’re not likely going to want to watch your pet 24/7 during your wedding (nor will you realistically be able to). Therefore, plan to hire an experienced pet sitter for the day. It’s best not to pawn off this job on a friend or family member, as they will want to enjoy the festivities, too.
In addition to hiring a pet sitter, ensure you have adequate supplies ready for your pet, such as food, treats, and toys. Items to help your pal stay calm are also a good idea, like a lick mat or calming sprays. If your cat is a part of the wedding, you may also need to have a litter box and scooper on hand for your pet sitter to tend to.
It’s also a good idea to plan for the sitter to bring your pet home after a short time so your pet (and you) can relax. If you don’t already have a designated pet sitter, then try sites like Rover or Thumbtack. Or, you can ask friends and family or your vet for recommendations.
5 Ways Your Pet Can Participate in Your Wedding
If, after considering all of the above, you’re still committed to including your pet in your wedding, then it’s time to think about how you’re going to do it. Provided the venues accept pets, here are a few ways to include your pet in wedding day festivities.
- Have your dog or cat be the ring bearer at your wedding. You can attach the rings to their collar or use a special pillow that you can connect to a harness.
- You can train your pup to carry a basket of flower petals and walk alongside the flower girl.
- If you have children in your wedding party, let your dog (or cat) escort one of the younger kids down the aisle. However, make sure the child is old enough to handle the leash responsibly.
- Your faithful pet can walk with you down the aisle, too. It’s worth taking some time before your wedding day to leash train your cat if you plan on your feline friend making the walk.
- If you’d prefer not to have your pet walk down the aisle, you can have them wait for you at the end. Then, your pet can stand by your side at the altar during the ceremony.
Remember, no matter how your pet participates in your wedding, ensure they are trained, well-behaved and up for the task.
What If the Venues Don't Allow Pets?
As much as you adore your fur babies, not everyone is a pet lover. So, it's not uncommon to discover your wedding and reception venues don't allow pets. While some might be willing to make an exception, most are firm with the rules. Your first step is to know these critical bits of information before booking any venues, especially if you're set on your pet’s involvement in the wedding.
6 Ways to Include Pets When They Aren’t Allowed at Your Wedding
But, if you've booked the church of your dreams or the ultimate reception hall, and there are no pets allowed, you can still make your best pals a part of your big day. Here are a few suggestions:
- Let your pet join in your pre-wedding photoshoot wherever you’re getting ready, whether it’s a home or a hotel (just make sure you choose a hotel that accepts pets). You can talk to your photographer about styling some cute wedding-themed shots that feature pets. Or, if you’re also having formal photos done before your wedding day, consider making your pet a part of the photography session (pet tuxes and dresses are so cute).
- Have your dog or cat stay with you while you get ready, and let them be your moral support.
- Have a custom-made cake topper created that features a likeness of your frisky feline or canine companion (or all your pets if you have more than one).
- Use a representation of your pet so they’re with you in spirit. For example, you can get a cardboard cut-out of your pet and position it in a reserved seat. Or, put a memorable, framed photo of your pet on your welcome table. You can even mention your pet at your reception during a toast, honoring their faithfulness and devotion.
- Create a signature cocktail for your guests and name it after your pet.
- Incorporate your pet’s image into the bridal bouquet or groom’s pocket-handkerchief (or both).
Many of these suggestions are also an excellent way to honor your faithful friend if they’ve crossed the Rainbow Bridge.
Will You Hear the Pitter Patter of Paws Down the Aisle?
Whether your pal is there in body or spirit, including your pets in your wedding is a sweet and beautiful idea. If your wedding venue allows pets and you’re willing to put in the work, then it can be entertaining and rewarding to have your pets join you down the aisle.
For more helpful tips and info on being a fantastic pet parent, check out the rest of our blog. We’re always adding fresh content so you can stay ahead of the game when it comes to raising happy and healthy pets.