Your wedding day is a celebration of your love and commitment to your soulmate, but it is also a celebration of everything that's important to you. For dog lovers, this means the big day simply wouldn't be complete without the inclusion of a fluffy friend. But is it possible to pull off the perfect wedding when you factor in the unpredictability of a pup or two?
The short answer is, of course: Yes! Plenty of dog-loving couples have involved their canine companions in their big day, including a number of celebrities. Comedian Adam Sandler had his gorgeous bulldog Meatball (tux and all) alongside him for his wedding day, while Joe Jonas and Sophie Turner's dog Porky Basquiat stole the show at their ceremony.
We know what you're thinking — these celeb couples obviously have a lot of help and minders to keep an eye on their pups, but with a little forward planning and some basic training, there's no reason your dog can't be a top guest at your wedding too.
Why Should Your Dog be Your Guest of Honor?
Before we explore the practical side of having your best doggo pal at your big day, let's look at the main reasons why your pup simply shouldn't miss out:
1. Your Pup Really is Man (and Woman's) Best Friend
The old saying is true. Anyone with a dog knows just how much their pet pal means to them. All your best friends will be invited to your wedding, so why should your dog miss out? Whether your dog is safe with family guests or playing a starring role, you'll regret it if they aren't there to share this special day with you.
2. Your Pup Can Help You De-Stress
The stress of wedding planning and nerves on the big day are well-documented. It is such an overwhelming time, and while your dog can't possibly know this, they can be on hand for a relaxing tickle or a snuggly hug, which is perfect for helping to settle those nerves.
3. Just Think about how Cute the Photos will Be
With your pup popping up in photos throughout the day, you'll have even sweeter memories for a lifetime. This will especially be the case in years to come as you remember your faithful friend's part in your special day when they're no longer around. Wedding photos featuring pups are super fun and will have pride of place in your album.
Choosing the Perfect Role for Your Special Friend
The role your dog plays will depend on the factors we've mentioned above but there are loads of different ways your furry pal can be involved in the day to make it even more special.
One of the most popular roles for a well-trained and confident canine friend is dog ring bearer. The wedding rings are at the heart of the whole ceremony, with the infinite circular design being symbolic of the commitment the couple make to each other. Involving your dog further deepens the sentiment and includes them in your eternal commitment.
Traditionally, a young child would carry the wedding bands to the bride and groom, but there is no reason your perfectly prepared pup can't do the same. You could have your pup wear the ring cushion around their collar.
Canine King of the Walk Down
Gone are the days when walking down the aisle is all about a bride and her father. There are so many exciting and alternative ideas for "the walk down" as it's become known, and a dog-loving couple can certainly include their pup in this iconic moment. You can be sure when the pup spots his mom or dad waiting at the front, he'll get super excited too!
Maid of Honor
If your pup has the skills to be the star, then put her at the head of your pack of bridesmaids. Let her lead the way with your chosen flower girls and bridesmaids, and she can even coordinate her collar and lead with your other maids. Smaller pups could even be carried, adding to the cuteness factor.
Can you imagine your guests' faces when your pup welcomes them into the reception? If your dog has a bold personality and loves to show off a trick or two, then she could be the perfect choice as greeter for your guests when it's time for the afterparty. She's bound to charm a smile from absolutely everyone who comes along.
Dogs who prefer the quiet life can enjoy the big day by settling in with familiar friends and family members. Obviously, he'll get a front row seat but the pressure's off and he can simply enjoy all the cuddles and attention that come from being top (guest) dog.
Preparing Your Dog for the Big Day
Once you've decided you want your dog to attend your wedding, it's time to think practically. Not all dogs can cope with or would enjoy the wedding experience, so you need to keep this in mind and consider the following points before making the final decision.
Every dog has a unique and lovable personality, but is your dog suited to a wedding? Some dogs are quiet and reserved while others are jumpy and super active. Some love people and lots of attention, while others are more shy and nervous.
You need to take your dog's unique personality into account before including them in your wedding. Some dogs may be happy to sit with familiar family members as a guest but not take a starring role. Others may have the training and show-stopping personality to be the star. This is something you need to decide before getting them involved.
Your wedding day is a celebration of you, so you won't be able to attend to your dog's needs and routine all day. Before deciding whether they can attend, consider their usual routine and see who is available to ensure they can be properly looked after throughout the day.
Can a close friend or family member take over dog duties for the day? Alternatively, some pet sitters and trainers are more than happy to attend and keep your pup entertained and ensure their routine isn't significantly disrupted. Make sure you have a full plan in place for your pup's care before deciding they're coming along.
You do not want to be disappointed on the day, so be sure to check your venue actually allows dogs! You may also want to check what other facilities are available and if you can bring along essentials such as your pup's bed or crate if they need some downtime. The venue needs to know if your pup is coming along and prepare themselves too.
Training Your Dog for Your Wedding Day
Most weddings involve a couple of practice runs, or at least a scheduled and organized timeline for the day. For your pup, it is essential to give them a bit of training specifically for the day. Dogs who take on the amazing role of walking the bride down the aisle will certainly need to practice their footwork. You could even invest in a trainer to guide them and help ensure they lead the way to perfection. If you can let them practice the route in advance this can help too.
The role your dog plays will influence the level of training they need so consider the different parts your pup may play in your big day.
Dressing for the Occasion
Whether your dog is a mini fashionista or would be more likely to chew their handmade tux, some style is essential for such a special occasion. Robbie Williams and Ayda Field had their huge pack of eight dogs as bridesmaids at their wedding, and each one wore a simple floral collar. What you choose for your pup may depend on a number of factors:
How fancy is your big day? Should your pet's attire match that of the guests at your weddings? Dog tuxedos can be bought off the rack or custom-made for a super dapper doggo.
Do you have a specific color palette or floral arrangement in mind? Floral collars are a beautiful way of giving your pup a bit of style without overdoing it.
The role they play may influence how much of a costume you want your dog to wear. A dog ring-bearer can match the style of the other groomsmen and a special glitzy leash or bow tie is the ideal choice for a dog taking on the role of best man.
If your dog really doesn't like being dressed up then this isn't the time to force them. Something as simple as a stylish collar or bow tie is enough if that's what suits your dog's temperament and ensures they aren't uncomfortable all day.
Managing Expectations and Having Fun
Image Credit: Belle Collective
When it comes to weddings, it's natural to want everything to be absolutely perfect, but even the most meticulously planned weddings can hold a few surprises. Dogs can be unpredictable and they might not behave exactly as you'd like them to. The best advice is usually to just embrace the fun and spontaneity of it, even if things get a bit messy!
Your wedding day is primarily a celebration of you and your partner committing to a lifetime together. Yes, this can involve your dog, but you do not want to be worrying about them all day. If the idea of them being involved is more stressful than fun, then rethink whether it's the right decision for your family.
Alternatively, if you can find the perfect role for your beloved pooch in your big day, then make sure you put the preparation to make it a success. And don't forget to have a word with your photographer so they catch a snap or two of your best pal. You'll be sure to cherish these memories for a while.
Finally, be ready for hiccups and hilarious accidents. These will no doubt become famous stories you'll re-tell fondly every time you remember your wedding day for years to come!