Everyone pictures their dream wedding at some point. For some it includes beautiful flowers, great food, a romantic first dance or special moments with the bridal party. Some others — like we dog lovers — picture their dog wearing a bow tie and walking down the aisle. Who said you can’t have it all? With planning and preparation, your dog can join you on any adventure, even your destination wedding. Wherever your heart takes you, you can find a place that will take your dog, too. These three beautiful dog-friendly wedding destinations across the country are ready to welcome you and your furry friend in luxury wedding fashion.
1. A dog-friendly wedding destination — The Alfond Inn at Rollins in Winter Park, Florida
Recognizing that requests for dog-friendly weddings were on the rise, the already dog-friendly boutique hotel The Alfond Inn fully embraced brides and grooms who want to make their dogs part of the big day. Located in the dog-friendly town also known as Winter Bark, the Alfond Inn offers a great option for those looking to make their wedding a true dog destination event.
The Inn starts things off on the right paw with a sweet dog greeting. “Carlisle and Bentley welcome our wedding guests along with their four-legged pups,” says concierge Patricia Clifton. Offering a variety of outdoor locations for dog-friendly photos and vows, the Inn has thought of everything, so you don’t have to.
After your dog has helped you say I do, your pup will be in the caring hands of the on-site doggie day care. Weddings are a great time to get indulgent, and if you want to treat your dog, too, you can sign up for the VIP — Very Important Pup — package, complete with keepsake water bowls, treat-filled turndown, complimentary dog walk and a donation to the Pet Alliance of Greater Orlando.
(No weight restrictions on pets. Hotel requests a $50 nonrefundable pet fee per night.)
2. A dog-friendly wedding near the beach — Hotel Maya in Long Beach, California
If you and your dog are feeling beach wedding vibes, then the Hotel Maya is for you. Located minutes from the beautiful beaches and many of Southern California’s best shopping, dining and entertainment destinations, this dog-friendly hotel is in the heart of sun, fun and a good time.
Dogs cannot be left in rooms unattended here, but you won’t want to leave your dog behind. With dog-friendly beaches, dining and more, your schedule will be packed full with outdoor activities. Make sure to squeeze in those wedding vows, of course, at one of the Maya’s unique waterfront venues.
Hotel Maya is a DoubleTree by Hilton hotel. (Hotel allows dogs up to 50 pounds and requests a $50 nonrefundable pet fee.)
3. A dog-friendly wedding with classic vibes — Hotel Monteleone in New Orleans, Louisiana
If you’re looking for classic romance with more than a touch of dog-friendly fun, then the Hotel Monteleone is the perfect fit. A beautiful hotel and wedding location in the famous French Quarter of New Orleans, the hotel welcomes dogs as members of the family. Dogs are greeted with their own in-room package of bowls, chew toys, treats and a map to the doggone best spots in the city.
After your “I do’s,” your dog can take a well-deserved nap and relax in the comfort of your room. (Hotel requests a $100 nonrefundable pet fee and a $25 per night charge.)
What to think of before planning your dog-friendly wedding
Including your dog in your special day takes just a little preplanning that can make for one of the most touching wedding memories.
“We will always remember having Sasha as our flower dog/ring bearer on our wedding day,” says recent bride Lindsey Hollaar. “When the reverend said ‘You may kiss the bride’ Sasha let out a big ‘Arroooooo’ of approval as the guests smiled and clapped along.”
Checklist for a dog-friendly wedding:
- Consider your dog’s temperament before involving him in the ceremony. Your dog should be comfortable with travel and new destinations, as weddings days can be a lot of excitement for everyone.
- Appoint a dog-friendly person as your dog’s handler for the day, preferably someone your dog already knows and likes, to see to your dog’s needs that day.
- Take a training class. With a wedding in an unfamiliar location, even the best behaved dogs need a little guidance. Get your dog up to speed with some obedience training and include the person who will be handling your dog.
- Create a backup plan. Don’t put too much pressure on yourself or your dog if he’s just not feeling it. Have an exit plan or a complete backup for where your dog will go or be if the I do’s bring up too many feels.
- Let your wedding team know how much you want your dog involved in your day, and prep for any specialty details like flowers or any other practical items like dog treats for making it down the aisle.
- Pack up your pup. Bring your dog’s usual food, collars and leashes, as well as any special ones for the big day. Also bring up-to-date medical records with you in case of emergency or if you opt to bring your dog to a doggie daycare during your stay. Your dog’s collar should have tags with the most current information.
Tell us: Did you have / are you planning a dog-friendly wedding? Where? What are your top tips / pointers for having a dog-friendly wedding?
Thumbnail: Photography ©amportraits | Getty Images.
Samantha Meyers is a dog lover, writer, baker, crafter and Instagrammer. When she’s not writing, she’s decorating cookies at her blog SugaredandIced.com or Instagramming her dogs @FrenchHuggs_ and @Quinnstadoodle.
Editor’s note: This article first appeared in Dogster magazine. Have you seen the new Dogster print magazine in stores? Or in the waiting room of your vet’s office? Subscribe now to get Dogster magazine delivered straight to you!