• Six Ways to Include Pets in Your Wedding

    Six Ways to Include Pets in Your Wedding

    Ideas for including your four-legged friends.

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You’ve asked your best friends to participate in your special day as bridesmaids and groomsmen, but now you feel like you’re forgetting someone… We’ll give you a hint: he or she waits for you to get home every day, loves treats and is covered in fur. That’s right, it’s man’s (or woman’s) best friend.

There’s no “best way” to include your pet in your wedding; it depends on the type of animal and its personality. These ideas and considerations will get you started and help you figure out how to make your furry companion part of the big day.

  1. Guest of Honor: Sure you can invite your dog or cat, but there are plenty of other companion creatures you can invite to your wedding. Your rabbit, horse, owl, pig or alpaca can participate by simply being a guest of honor. Have your pet escort you or another member of your party down the aisle, stand alongside you at the altar or get ready with you beforehand.
  2. Stationery: Incorporate your pet in your save-the-date cards, wedding invitations or wedding program. Whether it’s your favorite photograph, a lovely illustration or simply including your pet’s name, specialized stationery is a hassle-free way to involve your little buddy. Another idea is to send a save-the-date card from the perspective of your pet, telling friends and family his or her parents are getting married.
  3. Specific Role: Give your pet the importance it deserves by assigning it a role within your wedding party. Your dog, cat or even bird can participate as ring bearer, flower girl or sign holder. Or, carry your pet down the aisle instead of a bouquet of flowers.
  4. Decorations: If it’s not possible for your pet to be physically present, you can still include him or her in a slide show or with table arrangements—e.g., ribbon pet collars, toys or fishbowl flower vases in your centerpieces. You can also leave a cutout of your pet at the photo booth for guests to pose with.
  5. Cakes: Show everyone how sweet your pet can be with a little dessert. Customize your cake topper to include your sweet pal standing beside the happy couple, request a pet-themed groom’s cake or delight guests with cupcakes frosted with paw prints.
  6. Photography: Make lasting memories by snapping some pretty adorable photos with your pet. Engagement photos, save-the-dates and invitations are all classic ways to include your little companion on camera. But you can also capture unexpected moments by having a photographer shoot candid film while you get ready with your pet and at the ceremony and reception afterwards.

What to Consider
If you want to include your pet in your big day, make sure you do your homework:

  • Check with the venue and hotel to find out if they are pet friendly
  • Inquire about allergies among guests, and if any allergies are severe, weigh the options of everyone’s comfort vs. including your pet in festivities
  • Keep in mind your pet’s personality to determine how it will react in a wedding environment, which can be stressful for people let alone pets
  • Take precautions for excretions, shedding, drooling, etc.
  • Practice with your pet (in costume), if it will be part of the ceremony
  • Select a photographer prepared to work with pets
  • Designate or book a pet sitter, so you and your pet can enjoy a carefree celebration

Finding a Work-around
“Since pets weren’t allowed in the church we got married in, we incorporated our dog Callie in other ways. She was in our engagement photos and save-the-date card. Then on the actual day, we had a whole agenda and system of caretakers lined up for her. (Unfortunately, people who want pets involved in their wedding day have it tough because all your regular sitters are busy with the wedding!) While the ceremony itself was going on, I convinced a friend to skip it and walk around the grounds with Callie instead. That way, Callie was right outside afterward and could be in our pictures! She even had her own set of doggy pearls on! From there, she went on to a series of activities supervised by a variety of caretakers.” – Erin E., Green Bay, Wis.

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