Can I Have My Dog At My Ceremony?
All of your special people will be with you on your wedding day.
So why not have your dog at your wedding too.
Including your dog on your wedding day
As you’ve heard me say often, a celebrant led wedding ceremony is about having the day you want, with who, and what you want at your wedding ceremony.
One of the questions often asked is, “can I have my dog at my wedding?”
Or it might be another type of pet, but it’s mainly dogs for me.
And, my answer is always yes; you most certainly can have your pet at your wedding ceremony.
I am mum to 3 fur babies myself, so I love to meet your pets, never mind you guys.
However, my dogs tend to interrogate me when I get home from my couples meetings if they have dogs. – “Where you been, mum?” “Who’s been sitting on your knee?”
Dogs are our best friends and our favourite family members, so why would they not be with you on your big day?
So let’s look at ways to include your dog in your wedding ceremony.
What Can My Dog Do At My Wedding?
We all know that animals are good stress relievers, so if you suffer from anxiety, having your dog around you might help with that as you get ready for your wedding ceremony.
Some couples want their dog to take part in their ceremony, like walking you down the aisle or being a ring bearer, for instance.
They could stand with the groomsman as you make your way down the aisle. (I can see the tail wags now)
Or what about them carrying down your hand fast ties?
Perhaps you want them to be the MOH or mini maid instead of having flowers girls, or page boys.
And we can so do that in a celebrant led ceremony.
How Does Your Dog Feel?
But there are a few things you need to think about first, all in your dog’s best interests, of course.
- What kind of personality does your dog have? Will they get stressed out in big crowds?
- Do they like to speak? By that, I mean will they bark at strangers or loud noises such as the band.
- Will any of your guests be allergic to your dog?
If any of these give you cause for concern, then perhaps reconsider having your pet with you on the day.
And if there are causes for concern, that doesn’t mean you can’t have them with you for at least part of the day.
You could include them in
- Your wedding photos
- Have them with you as you get ready; petting your dog is an excellent way to relieve stress, so if you’re going to get anxious, it might be nice to have your dog with you to calm those nerves.
- And if you’re having a wedding cake, you could have a cake topper made as your dog, so he’s with you in spirit at least.
Could you take them along for the essential bits and have some care arranged for them after that?
Are they attending as a guest only on the day?
If he’s attending as a guest, make sure that he’s with someone he knows, somebody who knows how to keep him calm.
Let them spend some time together before the wedding and build a relationship between them if necessary.
Make sure your go-to person can read your dog’s body language; they need to know if the dog needs some time out if he’s getting stressed about anything.
Things To Consider
Is Your Venue pet friendly?
Whilst I have no problem including your dog in the ceremony, have you checked with your venue first that it’s pet friendly.
Will they let you have your dog there all day, for instance, or even just for the ceremony.
If you have to leave your dog in your room for a period to chill out, will they be okay with that?
On the day, make sure he’s had an opportunity to get rid of some of his energy with a nice long walk.
Keep them on a lead though; if you are somewhere new, you don’t want them to get lost.
It doesn’t have to be you that does the walking, although that can help to calm your nerves.
What about booking a dog walker for the morning?
They will know where to take him, so he gets enough exercise without getting muddy or lost. Or book one of your local dog fields, so he can run as much as he wants with no chance of getting out.
Like the rest of us, we all want to look and smell the best we can on a wedding day.
The same goes for your fur babies.
Why not book them into a grooming parlour the day before the ceremony, so he’s smelling lovely and fresh, no tangles in his hair.
Dressed For The Occasion
Not every dog likes to get dressed up, and you’ll know your dog best.
Does he like to wear a hoodie, for instance?
You could get them a wedding hoodie or an outfit to match the groom if he does.
If they don’t like wearing a hoodie, would they wear a Bow tie or a floral crown, maybe?
If push comes to shove, you could settle for ribbons on his collar or even a bandana to match your colour scheme, which would be okay.
Whatever your dog is comfortable with is good for us.
Dogs tend to get overheated when they get excited, and they’re gonna be excited for a wee while at the start.
All those new faces to lick is a thirsty job, you know.
Ensure you have a bowl of water placed somewhere that he has access to when needed.
Like, little children, dogs may need some timeout during the day.
Is he crate trained?
Is there an area where you can put his crate so he can take himself off when he needs a bit of space to relax?
Is there somewhere cool that he can sit if the wedding is outside and it’s a hot day, or cover if it’s raining?
It might sound like a silly question but does your photographer like dogs?
Will they be happy including your dog in your photos, too?
Have you been flicking through Pinterest and found some lovely wedding photos that you might like with your dog?
Make sure you show them to your photographer too.
Practice Makes Perfect
Once we have worked out what part your dog can play in the ceremony, you might need to practice with them before the day.
If your dog is anything like mine, he’ll be wanting to say hello to everyone in their seats.
So, find a way to keep him glued to you till you get to the alter, but don’t stress out about it if he’s not perfect on the day.
Everyone will love to see him there, and I don’t mind if we have to wait for him.
My pockets are always full of doggy treats and poo bags!
So yes, your pet is allowed at your wedding ceremony.
But, as much as you want to include your pet in the ceremony, please always think about your dog’s needs first;
- will he be happy being amongst all those people all day?
- Will he cope with the littlies around him all day?
If not, then perhaps he shouldn’t be going to the wedding no matter how much you’ll miss him.
You know your dog best, so if you decide he’s going to be fine at the ceremony, I’m good with that.
We can discuss all the options you have to include your pet in your wedding ceremony.
Perhaps you have a way you want to include them that I’ve not mentioned above.