Would your pet be excited to walk down the aisle, or is it best to leave them at home? 

By Madison Pincombe
June 17, 2021
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Bride and Groom holding hands with dog standing in front
Credit: JovanaT / Getty

Couples have many decisions to make before they can walk down the aisle, and adding a beloved furry family member to the festivities is becoming an increasingly popular trend. If your pet has been by your side throughout all or most of your relationship, it's understandable that you can't see yourself taking this next step without them!

Although we can't argue with how adorable your dog looks in a bow tie, he might appreciate being left at home in the comfort of his dog bed versus in the company of strangers. Your courageous canine or fantastic feline loves you, but that doesn't necessarily mean they want to walk down the aisle with you. Before making any final plans, take a minute to consider what will be best for your pet-and won't stress you out! You can still find a way to include them in the festivities without having them actually present.

7 Questions to Ask Before Including Your Pet in Your Wedding

1. Does Your Venue Allow Pets?

First and foremost, ask your venues about their pet policies before deciding your dog will be your ring bearer. If a venue prohibits pets, it is likely based on health and legal requirements that you should be aware of. If your venue does allow pets, make sure you know if they have designated places for potty breaks, and figure out the best location for water and food for them during the event.

2. Does Your Pet Enjoy Large Crowds?

Chances are, no. "Most dogs, and especially cats, won't delight in the dozens upon dozens of strangers that will be enjoying your event, especially if they will be a bit crowded in an indoor space," Daily Paws' pet health and behavior editor Haylee Bergeland, CPDT-KA, CBCC-KA, RBT, says. Even for the most people-loving pets, meeting tons of new humans and being constantly touched can be really overwhelming. Be sure you provide your courageous pet with lots of opportunities to rest and recuperate alone. Bergeland suggests setting up a quiet, cool space for them in a spare room or beside a trusted family member and not letting lots of people crowd around them if you do choose to include them in the day.

3. How Long Will the Day Last?

Are you wanting your pet at the ceremony AND reception? Wedding days can be all-day events, and for many pets, that is just too long of a time away from the comfort of home. Think of where they will be and what they will be doing during the times you want them at the wedding. You'll be understandably busy, so someone else will have to be on pet duty the whole time. Narrow down your list of events you want them to attend to just the ones you can't imagine without them. We'd advocate for including them in your photo session(s) so you can have adorable family photos for years to come. Need inspiration? Check out the best pets in weddings on Instagram. Definitely notify your photographer if your pet will be joining you.

4. Will There Be Loud Noises?

Ceremonies tend to be calm, collected events, but we all know receptions can get loud and crazy quickly. While this is exactly the environment you're looking forward to, your pet will likely not enjoy how chaotic receptions can quickly become. As much as you love them, you won't want to have to worry about them while you are dancing the night away. 

5. Do Any of Your Guests Have Pet Allergies?

Lots of people love dogs or kitties but can't have them due to pet allergens such as dander and fur, or other types of pet-related allergies. On your special day filled with close friends and family members, it's important to consider the health and safety of your loved ones. No one wants to spend the day stifling sneezes or avoiding a friendly pet. Double check that no one with allergies will be present that day.

6. How Will Your Pet Get to and From the Wedding?

Booking transportation for the wedding party is a no brainer, but don't forget a transportation plan for your pet! Once you've decided if your pet is attending your wedding and if so, for what events, think through how they will arrive at the events and where they will go at the end of the celebration. If you want your pet there to celebrate with you, consider having them present during the ceremony but then have a trusted family member, pet sitter, or close friend take your furry companion home before the reception starts.

7. What Will Your Pet Wear for the Big Day?

Last, but certainly not least, your furry friend needs a statement outfit to fit in with your stunning gown or handsome tux. Have no fear, there are tons of wedding-worthy pet wedding attire options, from accessories to full ensembles. You can go as big (dress, tuxedo, tie) or small (flower collar, dog tag) as your pet's comfort level allows. Make sure whatever you choose doesn't restrict their movement! A bow tie or a fancy collar, leash, or harness could be great options for pets who aren't as excited about rocking a full pet outfit.