Can I Have My Dog At My Wedding?
Many moons ago my own dog, Herbert the Collie, joined our wedding party along with other cherished human friends who we wanted to share our special day with. Our pet dogs share so much of human social life and often a wedding is no exception. Before you decide to include your dog in your wedding ceremony, there are a few things you may want to think about first. Read our Holidays4Dogs article about the benefits of your dog as a wedding guest.
To begin with, you need to be realistic about your dog’s capabilities and possible limitations. If your dog has particularly high energy levels, for instance, sitting quietly through a ceremony may be too much. Additionally, If your dog is very young, (or elderly) they may find a whole day at a wedding too much. Likewise, if your dog is of a nervous disposition and has a dislike of strangers, it would probably be much fairer to leave him out of the proceedings.
Canine stress reliever.
There is nothing nicer than being able to have our pets accompany us to all sorts of occasions. Surely, there is nothing more endearing than the family dog joining the happy couple, as they make their commitment to each other.
Not only this, having a devoted dog around, can be a great stress reliever for brides and grooms.
Make sure there are no guests attending who may be allergic, or afraid of dogs. If you think this may be an issue, it may be better to rethink your dog’s involvement in the ceremony.
However, you could include your dog in wedding photographs with just the two of you. This may depend on finding someone prepared to bring the dog along when the photographs are being taken.
You will need to decide which part of the ceremony you want your dog to attend. Your dog may not appreciate a large reception gathering with loud music, for instance. However, if your reception is to be outdoors, where there is plenty of space, he may enjoy mingling with guests.
Always check first with your venues to make sure they are dog friendly – including the church, registry office, or hotel.
Some people like to have their dogs as ring bearers, but this will need a little bit of practice beforehand. Prepare your dog early for the tasks you wish him to accomplish. Enrol the help of a local dog trainer if you need further guidance.
In general, your dog needs to be reasonably well behaved and friendly. There are few guests who will appreciate being jumped on and slobbered all over by a drooling hound – especially while wearing their best and, possibly very expensive, new outfit.
A buddy for your pooch.
Ideally, you will need someone reliable who is going to be in charge of the dog for the time he is involved in the wedding and to return them home, or to their carer, when the time comes. As a bride, or bridegroom, you will not really be able to concentrate on your dog’s behaviour on the day as you will be far too busy. It is much better to rely on a dog loving friend to handle and care for your dog throughout the day.
Involve your dog in the rehearsal, so your designated handler and your dog have an idea of what to do and when. If he is to perform any special tasks or tricks, make sure you have practised these well before the day.
If you want your dog to wear a special outfit, make sure he, or she, is accustomed to it well before the big day. Most dogs won’t mind being dressed up for short periods. However, the ‘clothes’ should not constrict their movement, or make them overheat. It is best not to expect your dog to wear his wedding outfit all day.
You want everyone to look good on the big day and your pooch should be no exception. Bath and groom him the day before, or book him into the grooming parlour for a good brush up and haircut, if needed.
Alternative dog care.
If including your dog at your wedding is not really the best option, you could consider leaving your dog with one of our approved Holidays4Dogs carers. Carers will welcome your dog into their own home and care for them for a minimum one night stay. This will provide you with complete peace of mind, knowing your dog is being catered for the day before and on the day of your wedding. Of course, this can be longer, if you are off on honeymoon.
We hope these tips will be of use to all our happily engaged dog owners. Don’t forget to send us any pictures featuring your canine wedding guests. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org or post on our Facebook page.
Thanks to Betsy’s Mum, Bella’s Mum, Rocco’s Mum & Dad and Jess http://velcrodog.co.uk/2013/10/02/dogs-at-weddings/