How to Include Your Pet in Your Wedding Ceremony

While incorporating your pet into your wedding ceremony is not the only way to include them, it sure is a special way to include them in the day.

For a lot of couples, their pet is a big part of the family & having them by their side during one of the most important moments of their lives only seems right.

 
Photo by  Amy Little Photography  at  Selby Botanical Gardens  in Sarasota, FL
 

Once you’ve decided you want to have your pet play a role in your ceremony, it’s time to think about the logistics. There are a few things to consider to make sure everything goes smoothly on the day of the wedding.


Here are a few of our tips for including your pet in your wedding ceremony!

 
 
  1. Consider Your Pet’s Personality

    As we mentioned, including your pet in your wedding ceremony is not the only way to include them in the day, so you have to ask yourself, is the ceremony the right fit for them? If they are anxious around strangers, this may be too overwhelming for them.

    You don’t want to have to worry during your ceremony that your dog (or pet) may be stressed out, so think about this ahead of time & make sure you have their best interest in mind.

 
Photo by  Marc Edwards Photographs  in Tampa, FL

Photo by Marc Edwards Photographs in Tampa, FL

 

2. Choose a Role for Your Pet

While we’re sure your pup (or pet) will be happy with whatever role you choose for them, defining this ahead of time is a great way to make sure they do not get overlooked on the day of.

‘Dog of Honor’ and ‘Best Dog’ are great options for that extra special member of your bridal party. ‘Ring Bearer’ is a favorite, even if they don’t actually carry the rings down the aisle.

Even choosing to have your dog (or pet) as an escort to walk an important family or bridal party member down the aisle is a wonderful role for them.

Or maybe you just want your pet to walk back down the aisle with you once the I Do’s are over & you are officially a family!

 
Photo by  The Portos  at  Harborside Chapel  in Safety Harbor, FL

Photo by The Portos at Harborside Chapel in Safety Harbor, FL

 

3. Who Will Walk Them Down the Aisle?

This is something we hear couples struggle to decide. Our recommendation? Choose the person your dog (or pet) is most comfortable with AND the person who is most comfortable with your pet.

In theory, your little flower girl or ring bearer might seem like the best fit, but will they be comfortable handling your pet? If they are young, they will likely be nervous simply about walking down the aisle themselves, it may be wise not to add any pressure onto this.

If you think your dog (or pet) can handle themselves & walk down the aisle on their own, that is always an option! However, really think about your ceremony site & make sure you have someone at the end of the aisle prepared to help them down if they get distracted & to leash them up once they’ve made it down.

4. Inform Your Vendors that Your Pet Will Be in the Ceremony

This is a BIG one. Maybe even the biggest one. Your vendors are there to make sure you have the best day ever & they are extremely focused on the details. There is a lot that goes on behind-the-scenes & you never know what small adjustments they need to make once they know a dog (or pet) will be a part of your ceremony.

Before anything else, check with your venue to make sure they will allow your pet to be a part of your ceremony.

Your planner or coordinator should be next on this list. They may even handle informing your other vendors for you, but either way they NEED to know your pet will be there.

Your photographer should be right up there, also. You’ll want photos of your pup’s happy face coming down the aisle & you want to make sure your photographer is prepared for this.

5. Practice Makes Paw-fect

It can make all the difference to allow your pet to practice walking down the aisle before the big moment. This isn’t so much so they can rehearse, but more so they can really feel comfortable in this new environment.

If you make time before the ceremony to help familiarize themselves with the ceremony site & get their sniffs in ahead of time, they are much less likely to feel overwhelmed when the spotlight is on!

 
 

6. Play it by Ear, Have an Exit Plan & Remain Flexible

Your pet will add such a special element to your wedding ceremony, but you don’t want their presence to become a distraction at all. Even if you have the most well-behaved dog (or pet), you can never really know how they will react when it comes time for the ceremony.

Consider whether you want them to try to stay up with your bridal party, or if you want them taken away once they walk down the aisle. Have an exit plan in place for them in case they get a little too excited when they see Momma heading down the aisle. Designate someone to keep their eyes on your pet in case they do need to step away.

The last thing you want when including your pet in your ceremony is for them to feel uncomfortable & not have a place to retreat to or a person to help them get there.

 
Photo by  Abundant Grace Photography  at  Nova 535  in St Pete, FL

Photo by Abundant Grace Photography at Nova 535 in St Pete, FL

 

7. Wedding Day Pet Care

Now that you’re really thinking about everything that will go into including your pet in your wedding ceremony, you may be coming to the conclusion that you want to have someone there specifically to care for your pet.

Your wedding vendors will need to focus on their duties and you want your guests & family to be able to remain completely present during this special day. Hiring a professional pet sitter for your wedding day, means that you AND your pet will have the best day ever.

Their handler will be completely focused on them & their needs. This means you will be able to relax knowing your baby is in good hands. Not only that, but a professional will understand the ins & outs of the wedding logistics & will ensure your pet will be able to be a part of your wedding ceremony without becoming a distraction at all.

 
Photo by  Bumby Photography  at The Peachtree House in Orlando, FL

Photo by Bumby Photography at The Peachtree House in Orlando, FL

 

If you take these tips into consideration & plan ahead, including your pet in your wedding ceremony will be a positive experience that you will not regret.

Have questions? Want help including your pet in your wedding ceremony?

Contact Us for more information on our wedding day pet care services!