For most pet owners, their dogs are valuable members of the family. So, of course, it only makes sense to include them in their celebration of love. Adding pups to the guest list is a common theme in relaxed weddings, and some couples even integrate their four-legged friends in the ceremony itself. To celebrate man’s best friends and highlight some of our favorite fluff-filled nuptials, we offer advice on including Fido on your wedding day.

Dog in Wedding
Photography: Sparkle Photography.

Check with your venue
Before you plan your ceremony with your pup, make sure your venue allows four-legged friends. Most outdoor settings are pet-friendly, but it’s always best to check with the manager before bringing in your dog. You should also ask about any potential hazards present at the venue, like toxic plants or pesticides.

Dog in Wedding
Photography: Megan Robinson.
Dog in Wedding
Photography: Sparkle Photography.

Set reasonable expectations
Consider your dog’s temperament when casting them in your wedding. Some pups play perfect ring-bearers, while others are better suited to sitting in the crowd. You want your dog to be relaxed and well-behaved during the ceremony, not a distraction. 

Photography: Heather Nan Photography.
Dog in Wedding
Photography: Nhiya Kaye.

Cast their role
If you decide to cast your dog in a meaningful role, don’t be afraid to get creative. Have someone in your wedding party walk with them down the aisle as the Pup of Honor; make sure to decorate the leash to fit your wedding theme. Or, give them the task of holding the basket while your flower girl playfully tosses the petals. Of course, you should use flowers that are safe for dogs, just in case they decide to sneak a bite.

Dog in Wedding
Photography: Sparkle Photography.

Prepare your pup
Before the big day, let your dog explore the venue and acclimate to the surroundings. If possible, bring them to the rehearsal so they can get used to what will be expected of them during the ceremony. If you plan to dress up your pup in a dashing tuxedo or cute booties, try it out a few times ahead of the wedding. If they can’t stand the ensemble, you might want to consider opting for a simple getup instead.

Photography: Hilary Photo.

Establish a handler
While you are busy saying “I do,” make sure your dog has a designated caretaker that will attend to their needs. The handler should be able to keep track of feeding time and identify signs of stress should your pup become overwhelmed. Always keep a kennel on hand in case your dog needs a quiet break from the celebration. 

Photography: Nhiya Kaye.

For more wedding planing 101, click here.