9 Ways to Include Your Pets at Your Wedding
They are part of the family! Why won’t you want to include them your special day? Sadly, this isn’t always practical, pets at weddings pose many challenges and sometimes it just isn’t possible.
If you happen to be getting ready at home, you can have your beloved pet appear in a few photos without too much fuss (make sure to add this to the wedding photo checklist you give your photographer!).
Here are 9 ways for you to include your pet in your wedding day.
1. Have your pet attend your wedding
Whether your pet will be able to attend your wedding depends hugely on a number of variables, including the location of your wedding, the wedding venue and, of course, on your pet! Dogs tend to be the easiest pets to manage at weddings, but I have seen couples involve their horses along on their big day too!
However, if you're considering having your pet at your wedding, you have to ask yourselves a number of questions first
is your wedding venue located within a few hours' drive of your house?
- can your ceremony space accommodate your pet?
- can your reception venue accommodate your pet?
- does your accommodation allow pets?
- does your pet behave well in new environments?
- does your pet behave well around large groups of people?
- are there other animals at your venue that your pet might like to chase/eat?
- is one of your guests willing to take care of your pet during the day?
- can you source pet-friendly confetti (because, let's face it, your pet will/attempt to eat it)?
- is it possible to hang your decorations up high so your pet can't get to them?
- can you include your pet's attendance on the invitations so any guests will allergies can prepare accordingly?
If you answered "no" to any of the above questions, having your pet attend your wedding is probably not going to be practical. But don't fret, because there are lots of other ways to include them in your day!
2. Have a petsitter bring your pet to the wedding for a brief visit
If you can find a good petsitter in the area or you know one who is willing to travel with you, this is a great option for couples who just can't imagine their big day without their little (or large) pet by their side! You will still have to check that your pet is allowed at your ceremony and/or reception venue, but this way, your pet will be looked after at all times but get to take part in the day and appear in a few photos without giving you a logistical headache! I can highly recommend Lisa Morris from Paws aWhile with me who has the following advice for couples
- The couple needs to have an idea of when, where and how they would like their dog(s) involved at their wedding ie church - ring bearers.
- At the venue - inside or outside - for example at Clearwell Castle pets are only allowed outside in the forecourt and garden for wedding photos. Check in advance with your venue to determine if they can meet your needs and expectations and be open minded as you may need to compromise.
- If your dog(s) need to be home boarded - contact local licensed boarders( Facebook /Google search) as early as possible and arrange preview visits to discuss your pets needs, ensure they are happy with the environment and to book early too . We get booked up quickly especially during spring/summer season .
- If you chose a local pet service - make sure they are fully insured for a pet taxi service as well.
- Good communication with pet services of the days arrangements is essential - also keep them in the loop with wedding planners and contact numbers for venues, key people on the day and of course the photographer!
3. Mention them in the ceremony
One of the easiest ways to pay tribute to your beloved pet is to mention them in your ceremony, either in your self-penned vows, or by dedicating a special animal-themed poem to them, like this one by Taylor Mali. You could also reserve a seat for them up front with a framed photo - that way, they're there in spirit!
4. Have them made into a cardboard cutout!
Sometimes you just can’t include your beloved pet in real life - maybe they are a little too big, or perhaps get a bit too overexcited. You could get a life size cardboard cut out made of them - check out Amazon for lots of sellers who offer custom cutouts!
5. Include them in your stationery
There are literally dozens of ways to have your pet star in your wedding day through the medium of stationery - plan a little photo shoot for your Save the Dates, hire an illustrator to incorporate them into your invitations, menus, signage, napkins, place cards, seating plan, order of service etc
6. Decorate your venue with photos
The simplest idea on this list is probably incorporating photos of your pet into your day, whether it's in a cute display telling your story so far, or in free-standing frames dotted around the reception space. If you're having an engagement shoot, you could bring you pet along and use those images. Pets are always welcome on a pre wedding shoot with Capture this Moment Photography ;)
7. Incorporate them into your cake
Why not have a cake topper created that is a representation of your pet. You can ask your baker to render them in icing, or commission an Etsy seller to make one in clay or wood.
8. Make a charity donation to an animal shelter
This one's a lovely idea especially if you got your pet through a rescue and rehoming charity. The Dogs trust offer dog tags for sale which you could personalise as a wedding favour to your guests whilst helping the charity at the same time.
9. Wear them on your sleeve
If you really want to keep your pet close on your wedding day, you could have with some special cufflinks created. Selected Etsy sellers can customise cufflinks with a photo, but a paw print or illustration featuring your pet's breed would be just as cute! Brides can go for a similar effect by attaching a charm with a photo of their pet to their bouquet.
Hope these ideas help! I look forward to meeting your pets and hopefully capturing some images of them either on your pre wedding session or on your special day!