One of the most important pieces of a wedding day are the guests. We know you want to invite the people who mean the most to you. But what about pets in your wedding? Especially in dog-friendly cities like Austin, you might be considering incorporating your furry friends into your wedding. If you are, here are some things to keep in mind!
First and foremost, you’ll need to know where the pet is or isn’t allowed. This includes knowing where your pet can use the restroom. Make sure to bring clean-up supplies, for planned breaks and any potential accidents! See if you can bring your pet for a tour prior to the wedding. Doing so allows them to get a little comfortable with the space instead of exploring it for the first time on wedding day, which will help ease their nerves and excitement.
This person will be in charge of bringing your pet to the venue, holding the leash, and potentially removing the pet if they get overwhelmed or too rowdy. Make sure your pet is comfortable with this person, and that this person is aware and capable of the responsibility of handling the pet for the entire time, and taking them home when their duties are over. It might be a good idea to assign someone outside of your immediate family and friends, just in case they need to leave unexpectedly. You wouldn’t want your favorite Aunt to miss out on your first dance!
At the very least, have the assigned handler practice walking, playing with and feeding your pet. Ideally, practice should include as many people as possible to get your pet comfortable with crowds. Cheer, clap, yell, and celebrate so your pet is comfortable with the loud, sudden noises. If your pet is uncomfortable, maybe involving them in the wedding isn’t a good choice. If your furry friend will be wearing fancy attire for the occasion, let them get comfortable in it around your house. Make sure they’re able to move and use the restroom without the clothing getting in the way.
There are also tons of ways to honor or include your pets without them physically attending your wedding. One popular idea is to name your signature cocktails after your pets. Bonus points if you include a photo or drawing of the pet on your bar menu! Similarly, you can put stickers or drawings of your furry friends on packaging (favor bags, individually wrapped cookies/desserts, koozies or custom cups/drink sleeves with their face). Another option is having a pet themed cake topper! If you’re able to do a photoshoot with your pet, that leads to even more options. From displaying the photos at your wedding, to using them on your Save-The-Dates, it’ll feel like your pet was with you every step of the way.
Be prepared for the worst case scenario, and keep calm if it happens! Pets are unpredictable, you never know when they’ll decide to mark their territory, bark, run or even jump up on you and get their muddy paws on your white gown! While you can’t prevent these situations from happening, you can be prepared! Try to keep your pup out of muddy areas, and have their handler check their paws before you pet him/her while in your dress. Encourage your pet to use the restroom before the ceremony begins, and let them sniff the aisle before guests arrive! If your dog isn’t used to being in big crowds, consider keeping them on a leash and having their handler walk them down the aisle instead of letting them run free. At the end of the day, you know your pet best! You wouldn’t want to scare or upset your pet on your big day. If they’d be uncomfortable, leave them home and honor their spirit instead!