Dogs In Weddings: A Practical Guide
Everytime I see anything containing 'dogs' and 'weddings' in the same sentence I become reduced to an excitable, nonsense spouting, soppy mess. And I don't even have a dog. But for those people lucky enough to enjoy the unfailing love of man's best friend, surely having them with you on the biggest day of your life is a must?!
That being said, I appreciate there may be certain practical constraints when it comes to including your faithful mut, such as feeding time, walkies and controlling the uncontrallable (read, toilet time). SO, after carrying out some extensive research, which involved many a sidetracked cooing moment, I've compiled a list of practical tips if you're considering going down this route.
And if you're just here for the pictures, they're pretty damn cute too...
Does your dog have what it takes?!
Remember, weddings can be pretty stressful experiences and there are likely to be a lot of people buzzing around. If your dog is of a nervous disposition it might not be the best idea to give them a big role in the wedding, or even having them around. This is the first question you need to ask yourself going forward.
Location, location, location
Does your venue allow dogs? Is your reception in a dog friendly place (i.e not too many valuable antiques dotted about and plenty outdoor space?). If having your dog at your wedding is one of your main priorities it's worth considering outdoorsy venues such as farmyards, barns, or marquee field type locations.
Plan the day...
Involving your dog in your ceremony can be super cute, but having them around for the reception might be a little taxing. All that food and all those people may prove too tempting for some muts. Plan to have somebody take your pooch to a safe place nearby for the rest of the day with plenty of food and water, and somebody on hand to let them out for a run every now and then.
Designate a doggie handler
You'll be busy getting married, and the last thing you need is to have the dog drooling on your laboutins the whole time. Ask a dog loving member of the bridal party to be on duty for the time your dog is with you, making sure they're where they're supposed to be and behaving at all times. This will take some pressure off you mean you can enjoy your dog at the agreed times.
Pick a starring role
There are many ways you can include your dog in your ceremony, here are just a few... Dogs make great guest welcomers, perhaps holding an adorable sign or directing people to their seat. Having taken many walks by your side in the past, they'll do a great job at walking you down the aisle. They could also walk down the aisle with a flower girl or bridesmaid and will do a sterling job holding the rings (fastned onto a collar, of course).
Practice makes perfect
Make sure you rehearse with your doggie so they have some idea what will be expected of them. It's also just as important to practice with the human entrusted with the dogs whereabouts!
Make sure you're well prepared for if things don't quite go to plan with the doggy. Make sure your dog handler is armed with treats, and that there's somewhere they can escape to if the dog is acting up or suddenly needs to get outside! It's also a great idea to prepare a bag with some essentials to hand over to the human in question, a towel is better for drying wet paws than a wedding dress, a portable water bowl, some treats, some poop bags a spare collar (in case that adorable flower garland one causes some problems) and a QUIET toy.
Take a visit to the parlour to get your doggie looking their best for the big day and avoid an awkward smelly dog situation. They may also be able to suggest the best way to dress him or her up with flowers, ribbons, bow ties etc in a way which will be most comfortable.
Capture it all
Don't forget to plan some doggie photo time with your photographer for the moments your pooch is with you. It may also be worth having a little posing practice in case they get all camera shy.
Just go with it
If you're the kind of person who wants a dog in their wedding you've probably already nailed this one, but it's super important to have a relaxed, just go with it, attitude to the whole thing. Dogs are unpredictable at times, but can also provide many a spontaneously adorable moment which will be remembered for years to come.