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Pets in Weddings

How to Include Your Pet in Your Wedding

Anyone who owns a pet knows that our furry, four-legged friends are every much a part of the family as anyone else. Shouldn’t they then be included in millstone family events like weddings?

A lot of people think so, and event venues are increasingly open to the idea. It’s become common to see pets walking down the aisle and figuring in lots of photos.

There are various ways to include pets in your wedding, while taking into account their temperament, your venue’s rules and your own wishes for the day.

Photo courtesy of Alicia Osborne Photography

What To Consider

When thinking about including your pet in your wedding, there are a few questions you should ask yourselves as a couple and then your venue and planner.

  1. Does your ceremony or reception venue allow pets on property? In some cases, only service animals are allowed.
  2. If the venue does allow pets, will there be a quiet space where the pet can eat, drink and get away from the crowd?
  3. Who will be responsible for the pet? On your wedding day only, you shouldn’t have to be responsible for feeding, watering and bathroom breaks for your pet. If the animal needs to take a break or go home, who will handle that?
  4. Will your pet be comfortable with the plan you have in mind? Is your pet socially well adjusted? Will it obey commands and sit through a ceremony? Is it shy or easily scared? It may be best that pets don’t attend and instead be acknowledged with decor or a signature cocktail named in their honor.
Dog with flower wreath collar
Photo courtesy of Kylene & Ryan Studios

Six Ways to Include Your Pet in Your Wedding

1. Photos

A photo shoot is a low-impact, low-stress way to include your pet. Opt for a first look or couple’s photos taken with your fur child. If wedding-day activity seems to be too much, feature your pet in engagement photos. Extra cuteness points if you dress them in a tiny tux, a veil or floral collar.

2. Make Them Part of the Wedding

Many people include pets as ring bearers or flower animals. Of course, don’t entrust a dog with the rings, themselves. Consider making arrangements to have a pet walked into the ceremony on a floral leash. Some couples choose to have their pet by their sides during the vows or perhaps seated in the audience. Horse owners may choose to make grand entrances or exits on horseback or in carriages. At the reception, some couples include their pet as part of the first dance. Others have strapped a GoPro to their pet and then let it wanter around the reception. For a special end to the night, have someone put your pet in the getaway car.

3. Pet Decor

Just because your pet isn’t physically present doesn’t mean it can’t be there in spirit. Acknowledge your pet with a cake topper, photos, napkins, signage, a cake or other items that include their likeness.

4. Themed Cocktails

Many couples who choose to have signature couple’s cocktails include drinks named after their furry friend. These drinks might be made to reflect your pet’s personality, be it sweet, spicy or strong.

Pet-Themed Signature Weddings Cocktails
Photo courtesy of Sarah & Paul Photography

5. Wear Reminders of Them

Stitch a photo of your pet onto a sleeve or consider more subtle options such as a pocket square, tie, cufflinks or socks. Brides have been known to pin pet photos to their bouquet or place them in a locket.

6. A Charity Donation

Pet owners tend to be lovers of all animals. As part of your wedding registry, include an option for guests to donate to an animal-related cause or nonprofit you care about.

Photo courtesy of Darla Winn Photography

Feature photo courtesy of Dear Wesleyann Photography

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