This is a guest post from Katherine and her Camera
Your dog isn’t just a pet, they’re part of the family, right? So when you’re planning your wedding and inviting all your nearest and dearest to share in your day, why wouldn’t you want your best furry friend there too?!
I LOVE it when couples plan to have their dogs as part of their wedding – I totally get it. Our family dog was at our big day in 2017 and I wouldn’t have had it any other way. (We now have 3 dogs in the family, Winnie, Fred and Wilma – you can see them in my story highlights on Instagram!) But I also know from experience that there are a few things you will need to think about and prepare for when planning your dog-friendly wedding…
Is it right for your dog?
This is the biggie. Have a good think about the wedding you are planning and your dog’s temperament – do the two match? If so, crack on to the next step, you’re good to go!
However, if you’re planning a big celebration with all your friends and family, and you know your dog is nervous in a crowd, maybe you need a rethink. There are loads of ways you can still include your dog in your day without them actually being there. Maybe you could include an illustration of them in your wedding stationery? Or have your pooch made into a cake topper. If you are having a pre-wedding shoot with your photographer, that’s a great time to bring your dog along and get them involved – you could even use some of the photos on your wedding invites/website/guestbook etc.
Once you’ve made that first big decision, we can move on to the fun details!
Dog-friendly wedding venues.
Now you’ve decided you definitely want your dog to come to your wedding, you can start hunting for dog-friendly wedding venues. This can sometimes be easier if you’re planning an outdoor wedding, maybe in a marquee or tipi, but some indoor and hotel venues are dog friendly too – it just takes a bit of looking around. Having space for them to have a walk during the day is useful, as well as somewhere to go if it gets too loud or busy.
If you’re not sure where to start, websites such as Quirky Wedding Venues and Coco Wedding Venues have a fantastic collection of potential marriage spots, and you can filter your search to only show those which are pet friendly!!
Pick your pooch chaperone.
This may seem a bit extravagant, but I can definitely say that it will take a weight off your mind to know that you have a dedicated person making sure your dog is happy, comfortable, fed and watered all day and you don’t have to worry about it!
You could ask one of your guests to do this, but think carefully about who you choose. Are you sure they’re not going to start having a little too much fun and not give your dog their full attention? Do you even want to give one of your guests that responsibility anyway, or would you rather everyone could let their hair down?!
Hiring a dog chaperone means you know someone will be on it all day. They can make sure your dog is there and looking their best for photos, give them a walk to let off some steam during your wedding breakfast, and take them home and settle them when your evening party kicks off and things get a bit loud! There are a number of companies that offer this service across the country, or you could even ask your regular dog walker if they could help.
Let your guests know.
The probability is that most of your guests are going to love that your dog is part of your day, but just in case anyone has allergies they need to take care of or are bringing a plus one who is secretly afraid of dogs, it’s always a good idea to give people a heads up. How you do this is up to you, whether it’s a private message or part of your invite suite, it means your guests can come prepared.
Give your dog a role.
Nobody puts Puppy in the corner!
Dogs are cute. Fact. They are show stoppers and attention stealers and people will want to fuss over them. Embrace it and give your dog an active role in your celebration!
Do you want a Best Dog or Flower Dog? Make your pup your ring bearer? Will your dog walk you down the aisle? Or can they be part of your first dance? (If you are doing this pleeeeeeeeease hire me as your wedding photographer!!)
Make sure they look the part!
Continuing nicely from my previous point, if your dog is part of your wedding party, they need to look the dog’s bollocks (pun intended!)
You can get so many dog wedding accessories now – from tuxedos that match your colour scheme to flower collars that match your bouquet, or even pearl collars for the extra classy pup! I have a blog on my website showcasing a range of dog wedding attire suppliers which you can check out for inspiration!
Find your perfect dog-friendly wedding suppliers.
I am pretty much guaranteed to jump at the chance to photograph a wedding with dogs in (and be warned – there will be a LOT of puppy photos in your final gallery!) Whoever you choose to capture your day, make sure to let them know your dog will be there and have a chat about how you want to include them in your photos. Will they just be there for morning prep? Are they part of the ceremony? Do you want to take them with you for your couples portraits?
Similar goes for any other suppliers who might need to know – your videographer, your planner, your florist (especially if you want to give them a flower collar – and make sure none of the flowers are toxic if they are accidentally eaten!!)
Choosing wedding suppliers can be tricky enough – there is so much variety out there how do you even begin?! But finding suppliers whose work you love AND who share your values is where the magic really happens. Look at their About Me pages on their websites, their Instagram stories and anything else which gives you a sense of who they are and what they stand for. If they are as enthusiastic about dogs as you are, they are more likely to understand your wants and needs to make sure you have the perfect dog-friendly wedding.
I have saved the most important point for last – most of all, have fun! It’s your wedding!!
Your dog is with you for a reason. They are a part of the family and you want to share your day with them. Enjoy having your dog there, if you have all the other steps in place you shouldn’t have anything to worry about. Give them snuggles, get them in the photos and make some memories.
I hope you have enjoyed my top tips for having a dog-friendly wedding. As I hope you’ve guessed by now, I rather love photographing weddings with dogs so if you are planning to include your pup in your day, drop me a message! I’d love to have a chat.