Many topics divide people when it comes to weddings…assigned or open seating, buffet or plated dinner, open or cash bar, in a place of worship or outside, you get the idea, but one topic that really seems to get under people’s skin is dogs at weddings. Some think a wedding is no place for an animal (unless it’s the best man dancing up a storm) and some feel that dogs are family members who shouldn’t have to miss out on the fun.
Now that I have dogs and see how unruly they can be, I personally would not have dogs at my wedding, but only because they are just another piece of the wedding puzzle that needs to be coordinated. Regardless, many couples are increasingly incorporating their furry babies into their special day, and that’s OK (hear my group therapy style acceptance?).
(Image courtesy of Hollye Schumacher Photography)
Dog lover and animal expert Heidi Ganahl, CEO and Founder of Camp Bow Wow and Home Buddies by Camp Bow Wow, offers some insight for those of you planning to include your pooches on your wedding day. Camp Bow Wow® is a premier doggy daycare and overnight camp that has grown to include over 100 Camps across North America so I am thinking she knows her stuff!
Heidi weighs the pros and cons: The image of Fido walking down the aisle as a ring bearer is a memorable occasion for pet lovers. Before proceeding, it’s important to consider the pros and cons of having your pet at your wedding. Unfortunately, very few religious and indoor venues will allow dogs on location other than service animals. If you are open to an outdoor wedding, including your pet is more realistic.
Additionally, it is important to consider your pet’s personality. If you have a free-spirited animal, he may not abide to walk down the aisle on his own. Also, be cautious of guests with pet allergies; warn them in advance that your dog will be attending.
However, the benefits are endless. Since proud pet owners consider their dog as part of the family, Fido’s attendance will add a special touch to your day.
How to Include Your Dog in Your Wedding Ceremony
1. Training Day: Weeks, then days, before the wedding, take your pup to the location so that he is well acquainted with the area. Have him practice walking down the aisle and reward him with a treat.
(Image courtesy of Stephanie Fay Photography)
2. A Doggy Makeover: A fresh bath and a trip to the groomer is necessary the day before the wedding.
3. Dress Up Your Pup: Everyone in your wedding party will be dressed up and so should Fido! Consider buying a dog collar and leash that matches your bridesmaid dresses or a cute little bowtie to go with the groomsmen. This will make your wedding party more uniform.
(Image courtesy of Jennifer Bowen Photography)
4. Energizer Puppy: To avoid having an overly hyper dog at the wedding, take them to Camp Bow Wow to run, play and gets lots of energy out the days leading up to the wedding, or take your pet for a long walk or run before the ceremony, or hire Home Buddies by Camp BowWow to walk the dog and care for them before and after the wedding so you don’t have to stress about it.
(Image courtesy of Chris Richards Photography)
5. Stage Fright: If your pet is nervous around strangers, limit his role and have him leave after the ceremony. If you have a friendly dog, then let him stay for the reception.
(Image courtesy of Sergio Photographer)
6. Doggy Chaperone: Don’t leave your pet unattended. Designate someone as the dog’s sitter to make sure that he is taken out for bathroom breaks, or hire Home Buddies by Camp Bow Wow to take the responsibility on.
(Image courtesy of Melissa Jill Photography)
7. Doggy Buffet: Make sure your pet doesn’t sample human food and have dog food handy at the reception to ensure that he is well fed. Don’t forgot to have a bowl with fresh water!
(Image courtesy of Sergio Photographer)
8. Let Them Eat Cake: Since the wedding cake is strictly off limits, consider investing in a special cake from a dog bakery.
(Pupcake by Mackie’s Parlour)
Brides, if you are going to include your dog in your wedding, just follow Heidi’s advice… for everyone’s sake!
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