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A Bride With Her DogIf you can’t picture your special day without Spot or Tiger, you’re not the only one. More newlyweds-to-be are finding creative ways to incorporate a beloved pet into their nuptials, whether it’s during the ceremony itself or in other aspects leading up to the big event. If you’re going to take the plunge, you’ll need to consider your pet’s personality, your venue’s rules, your guests’ comfort and a few other factors.

Can Your Companion Handle It?

It may be easier to incorporate dogs into your special day, especially if they’ve had obedience training, naturally like people and can handle large crowds. However, that doesn’t rule out bringing a cat or another type of pet into the festivities. Before setting your ideas in stone, you should evaluate whether your cherished companion will enjoy the experience of being around a lot of strangers or being exposed to a bustle of activity. If the answer is “yes” to both questions, then it’s probably safe to proceed.

Nevertheless, keep in mind that pets may still become nervous or spooked in these settings, even if they’re normally champs at interacting with people. Consider hiring a pet sitter, or follow the American Kennel Club’s recommendation of entrusting your beloved animal’s care to a dependable member of your wedding party or a family member. Also, having your furry friend on a leash or harness during the festivities is a sound strategy, as well as keeping extra treats, baggies for clean up or other supplies on hand.

Does Your Venue Allow Animals?

Bridal Guide suggests that you verify whether animals are allowed at your ceremony and reception locations. Many facilities, especially those serving food or drink, may bar your furry friends unless they’re service animals as defined by the Americans with Disabilities Act. Once you get the green light from your venues, check with your other vendors to see if they’re comfortable being around animals. Your photographers should be consulted if you plan to have your pet in your photos,  while caterers, bakers and hired entertainers should be notified in case any of their staff have phobias or allergies.

Make Sure Your Guests Are Notified in Advance

As you’re planning these celebrations, it’s important to inform attendees as soon as possible of your plans to include four-legged familiars. Just as your vendors may have phobias or allergies, giving your guests advanced notice also allows those who can’t handle being around your pet to politely decline in plenty of time. On the other hand, that may give your animal-loving friends an even bigger incentive to join in your festivities. 

Cute and Unique Ideas for Fido or Fluffy

If you’re able to include your pets in your special day, a few distinctive ideas may help make the experience more memorable. With an appropriate harness and secure attachments, they can serve as a ring bearer or flower attendant. Alternately, your junior attendants can walk them down the aisle on flowered leashes, or usher them in by pulling them inside a decorated wagon. Your engagement or wedding photos are great opportunities to incorporate your pets, using some creativity to make the final shots spectacular. Even if they can’t be present, including images of them in your décor or as part of the cake top are winsome possibilities. 

It’s important to do some extra research and planning, as well as considering the overall practicality of the idea, before including your four-legged friends. Venue and vendor restrictions, as well as your guests’ comfort and your pets’ personalities, must be taken into consideration before you cement your plans. Whether your companion animals can be present or you incorporate them in your wedding in other ways, they can be a delightful inclusion in an already unique and personalized celebration of your love.

Category: Wedding Planning Marriage


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