Including Pets in Your Wedding

By Lisa Beth Miller

People love their pets and often want their beloved animals to share their big day. Here is some helpful advice from pet experts for doing just this!

How to prepare

Get a snazzy outfit or accessory (maybe a bow tie) for your pooch.

Arrange for someone to be in charge of pet so you don’t have to be.

Make sure pet has an opportunity to go to the bathroom before walking down the aisle.

Make plans for someone to hold or manage the dog during the ceremony.

Don’t invite a dog to a wedding reception unless he is very small or very well behaved and completely supervised.

Ideas for including your dog at your wedding

Have someone walk him or her and sit with the dog and bring a chew toy to keep him or her busy.

Don’t give the animal real rings to hold.

Make sure the area is enclosed and safe for your dog.

Make sure there is a place to take the dog if he or she gets bored, restless, cranky, or barky.

How to honor and include animals who cannot attend:

For dogs, as well as cats, gerbils, birds, or dogs who cannot attend — mention them in the ceremony. (That goes for honoring deceased pets as well!)

Include pets in your written wedding program with a photo and acknowledgment.

Keep the pet’s photo on your wedding altar or at the family photo table.

Donate money to the ASPCA, the Humane Society, or favorite shelter in lieu of favors.

Include pet in vows

Of course, before you make plans for your pup, ask your venue way ahead of time if animals are allowed and if there is a special protocol. If you are getting married in a back yard, no worries, but some venues forbid furry friends. Even public parks may have rules about pets.

If your venue is okay with it, anything goes. Some people include their dogs in everything, even the dancing and the feasting — placing a plate of food down for the dog as part of the wedding celebration.

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