The Dos and Don'ts for Including Your Dog in Your Wedding
Yes, your pooch can be part of your big day. Follow these tips to keep things stree-free.
Gone are the traditional pet practices of baby boomer newlyweds who waited to purchase a home and start a family before adding a puppy in the mix. The NOW generation believes adopting a dog is a natural first step in joining the adult world- practice makes perfect parenting is the mindset. Millennials have added a new depth to the phrase "our pet is a member of the family." Even bars and restaurants hoping to attract young professionals have realized the importance of creating pet-friendly establishments. So, it's no surprise that more and more young couples want to include their fur-babies on the most important day of their lives! Here, our friends at twobewed gave us a few important dos and don'ts to having your four-legged friend join in on your wedding day.
DO confirm that your venue allows dogs. Ask the venue about their pet policy before you sign a contract. Some couples think they can ask for forgiveness rather than permission and just show up on their wedding day with their dog in tow, but this is not a wise strategy. It would be a bigger inconvenience if you were asked to send your dog home just before your wedding. If a venue has a "no dog" rule it is likely based on health and legal requirements that you should be aware of.
DO create a wedding day schedule specifically for your pet and assign a family member or friend to be their handler. Plan out how they will arrive at the venue, where they will be stationed at different times of the day, and how you will provide them with the bare necessities- food, water, bathroom breaks, etc. The best person to assign as their handler is someone who is already involved in the wedding day, but has a flexible schedule. This means that bridesmaids and groomsmen are really not the best handlers because they are usually preoccupied with day-of outings and celebrations, hair and make-up appointments, photos, and tending to the bride/groom. Ushers and members of the house party could make great handlers, but choose your handler wisely- preferably someone who loves dogs and will give them the attention and love they deserve.
DO consider your dog's temperament and understand what you are asking of them. If your dog doesn't do well with strangers or children, or is easily riled up, it may be best to not include them. Not having your "best friend" at your wedding may be disappointing, but if you are personally unable to tend to your pet (who only responds to your commands) it could cause you and those around you undue stress. Even the most well-trained dogs can be startled by all the moving parts of a wedding day.
DON'T trust your dog to walk down the aisle by themselves. If you want your dog to participate in the ceremony and walk down the aisle you should have them walk with someone, whether it be with the groom, groomsmen, the flower girl or ring bearer, or even the person you assigned as their handler. The last thing you want is your dog to make a bee line down the aisle and cause a commotion during the ceremony.
DON'T forget the treats! It is likely that someone your dog doesn't know (like your wedding planner) will need to give your dog commands that day. Much like dealing with small children, a little bribery can go a long way! Pack treats and be sure to teach your handler key phrases and commands that your dog will respond to.
DON'T attach your real wedding rings to your dog, even if he is your ring bearer. For goodness sake just don't do it. Your pet should be a pleasant addition to the festivities not the center of attention. Let them play a small part in the ceremony and keep the focus on the two of you saying I do.
This story originally appeared on SouthernLiving.com.