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As you know, dogs are a part of our family and as such, many couples are opting to include their dog in their wedding ceremony. As fun as including your dog in your wedding day is, there are several items to check off your list to make having your dog in your wedding a smoother process.
Just as you will be assessing the behavior and personality of your flower girl and ring bearer to see how easily they will make it down the aisle, the same process and assessment should happen with your dog.
Is your dog comfortable in areas where there will be a significant number of people? You’re your dog adapt well to new environments? If your dog enjoys attention, is extremely social, well behaved and obedient, he will likely love being part of your wedding day.
However, if your dog is shy, has anxiety or worries easily, your wedding may not be the best place for her.
This is usually the most-easily looked over step with all the other “to do’s” on the list. Be sure to check with the venue that pets are allowed. Or, you could show up the day of your wedding with your pup in tow, only to be turned away. All your planning and rehearsing could be down the drain.
Be sure your guests know there is a special, furry guest-of-honor attending so those with allergies or those that are fearful of dogs can prepare. Add this information on a supplemental card, or include it on your wedding website.
While your dog may play a huge role or small part of your wedding – you should designate a handler to look over your dog. Be sure someone has been tasked to look after the four-legged ring bearer orhound of honor – before, during and after the ceremony. This will reduce your stress so you don’t have to worry about your dog’s behavior, feeding him, making sure they have access to water, etc.
Be sure the handler has plenty of your dog’s favorite treats – so they can be distracted or occupied during the ceremony.
Prior to the big day, you should rehearse as much as possible so your dog understands his responsibility throughout the wedding. Walk through the motions if they will be heading down the aisle. Be sure they are able to sit still without barking or other negative behaviors for the entire ceremony. Ensuring your dog will greet guests properly is also critical. If your dog is a jumper, you should work on this in the months prior to your wedding date.
Many groomers can book out as far as the bride’s hair stylist, so you should plan accordingly. Call a couple months in advance to schedule an appointment at the dog groomer. Don’t schedule it too far away from the wedding, or that freshly clean, good-smelling dog will be long gone come the big day.
Let your photographer know your dog will be in the wedding. Show them some image ideas you’d like to recreate, or ideas you have for incorporating your dog in wedding photos. Make sure you have a list of all the photos you’d like on your big day and share them with the photographer – that way you won’t forget you wanted one with your dog and your flower girl, or one with your dog at your feet, etc.
Make sure you don’t know sacrifice style for safety when it comes to dressing your dog for the monumental occasion. The Knot offers 7 Ways to Dress Your Wedding Dog to help with ideas that are both fashionable and functional.