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How to Include Your Dog in Your Wedding

Will your dog be a part of your big day? Follow this advice for the best possible chance of their participation going smoothly.

Abbie Mood, Dip. CBST  |  Apr 18th 2017


Your wedding is supposed to be one of the happiest days of your life. Celebrating love with your friends and family obviously includes your fur babies, right? More and more people are adding their dogs to their wedding party, so it’s really no surprise that when my fiancé and I began planning our wedding, a common question was “Are your dogs going to be in it?

Which brings me to my very first point about dogs and weddings. The answer to that question for us is no, our dogs will not be at our wedding. Is it because I don’t want them to be a part of our special day? Not at all. It’s because I know they wouldn’t want to be a part of it. Between Sadie’s stranger anxiety, Buster’s overexcitement and Daisy thinking that every person in the world would be there just for her, it would not be a relaxing experience for any of us. They will be much happier waiting for us to come home afterward.

Even if your dog can't be in your wedding, they can be in your pictures. (Photo by Shutterstock)

Even if your dog can’t be in your wedding, they can be in your pictures. (Photo by Shutterstock)

How to decide if your dog should be in your wedding

If you are considering having your dog be a part of your wedding, there are a few things to think about first:

  • Does your dog have the right temperament to be around that many people? Are they friendly and confident?
  • Do theylisten to commands?
  • Does your venue allow dogs? (Many have a no-pets policy.)
  • Is there someone you trust to “be in charge” of your dog throughout the day, making sure they are in the right places, have bathroom breaks, and get fed?
  • Is there a place where your dog can safely hang out before and after?

Once you’ve figured out those logistics, the fun part begins!

What is he going to do during the wedding?

Just like everyone else in the wedding party, you need to decide what role your dog will have. Some ideas include:

  • Have them walk up with the flower girl (which is adorable, by the way).
  • Tie the rings around their collar and have them be the ring bearer.
  • They could simply be the “Hound of Honor” and walk with the Maid of Honor.
  • Have your dog walk in front of you with a “Here Comes the Bride” sign.
  • If your dog is well-behaved enough, have them sit next to the groomsmen/bridesmaids so they are truly a member of the wedding party.
With a little planning, your dog can definitely be a part of your big day. (Photo by Shutterstock)

With a little planning, your dog can definitely be a part of your big day. (Photo by Shutterstock)

Other considerations

  • While you may get really excited and want to include your dog in every part of the wedding process, have a safe place for them to hang out after the ceremony. The reception can be really loud and a little too much for even the friendliest pups.
  • It’s also important to rehearse with your dog as much as you can. The more they are familiar with the smells and sounds of the venue and the area around it, the easier things will be on the big day. Be sure to have them wear a special collar/sign/outfit before the day of the wedding, too. While it would be cute for your dog to stop in the middle of the aisle to roll around and try to get the sign off of her, I think we can all agree that it’s not ideal.
  • Also let your photographer and guests know that your dog will be there. This way no one will be surprised, and people with allergies will be prepared.
  • Make sure your flowers are dog-friendly. There are some plants and flowers that are actually poisonous to dogs.
  • And last, but not least, make an appointment for the groomer before the wedding. It may sound like common sense, but once you get caught up in everything that needs to be done in the weeks and days before your ceremony, you might forget. As much as we love our dogs, no one wants to actually smell like one on the big day.