Pets in the Wedding

Advice // 10.13.2017

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If a pet-inclusive wedding sounds like the wedding of your dreams, then why not make it happen? Not only is the pets-in-weddings trend hot, it’s also a great way to add some creativity to your special day and include the furriest members of your family.

Need some ideas and advice on how to incorporate your beloved pup, pig, or porcupine? Read on!

Wedding Party Roles for Your Pet

The most popular roles for pets are as ring bearers or flower girls. This is an easy, fast role for your pet, since it involves a quick jaunt up the aisle and a graceful exit. Plus, it’s super cute! This works with many kinds of pets, from dogs and cats to falcons. Maybe you can have a “ring bear.” Hmmm….

If your dog really is “man’s best friend,” he could be the best man! In fact, many couples are foregoing bridal parties altogether these days, so it’s not a big deal to pass on a human maid of honor. Perhaps both of you could select a favorite pet to stand up with you instead! They can’t sign the marriage license, but they can offer a personal element to your wedding.

Love your fish? You don’t have to leave them at home! Why not include them as decorations? Betas and aquarium fish can add a classy and elegant touch to your reception.

If you are having an outdoor wedding, send an invite to your horse! The bride can make a dramatic entrance as she arrives on horseback. Or, create the perfect romantic getaway as you and your lover gallop away to your honeymoon.

If you’re planning a western-style wedding, why not bring your guests to your pets? If you have farm animals, you can create a petting zoo for your reception, complete with pigs, sheep, and other four-legged friends who share your home.

If you really want to go all-out, you can even create a pet theme for your wedding. It could all be in the décor, or you could actually invite your guests to bring along a dog or cat.

For some inspiration, you can check out this styled shoot we did over at Cafe Lurcat. The groom had a friend bring his dog at the end of the shoot for some photos. The dog was the star of the day (see a photo below)!

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Anticipate Pet Problems

No matter how well your pet is trained, she can be unpredictable in new situations. We’ve all seen a flower girl or two have a meltdown (which by the way, did you know they symbolize the bride passing from the stages of a little girl to the maturity of a woman? Learn where more wedding traditions came from.)—your dog can be just as dramatic under pressure! And it doesn’t help that you can’t explain the situation to your pet like you would a child.

It’s not hard to anticipate problems your pet might encounter. You know your pet, so know if your pooch is included to jump up or your cat pees when she’s scared.

Anticipate these problems so that you can avoid them. Make sure the setting of a wedding is familiar territory to your pet. Make them comfortable by rehearsing their part over and over.

If you are planning to dress up your pet, have her wear that cute little outfit around the house so she can get used to it. This way, you’ll also be able to tell if it is painful or annoying and fix any problems before you’re distracted by the romance of your big day.

Also, be sure to think about when you want your pet to be included. Is the rehearsal going to be too big and noisy for your pet to be well-behaved and comfortable? Can he make it through the whole ceremony? Maybe you only want to have pets at the reception. Arrange for someone to care for your pet when he’s not part of the party.

How to Make Your Pet a Success

Before you bring your pet to your wedding, there are some things you need to consider.

1) First of all, are pets even allowed at your venue? If your wedding just won’t be the same without Fluffy, be sure to check this before you book a location!

2) Secondly, remember that some of your guests might have allergies. Let your friends and family know that your pet will be present so that they have the chance to take allergy meds before they arrive. It might be a good idea to have some Benadryl on hand, just in case.

3) Make sure you have a pet sitter! Designate a friend or family member to take care of your dog during and after the wedding. Maybe this can be the same person who cares for him while you’re off on your honeymoon.

4) Finally, think about your pet’s response to large crowds. Do you often take your pet to places with many unfamiliar people? How does your pet behave in that situation?

If your dog is anxious around new faces, then it’s a good idea to get him or her used to people in the months before the wedding. His or her anxiety might subside with practice.

If not, it’s best to put their needs first. Perhaps you can find an alternative way to include your pet—one that doesn’t include discomfort.

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Alternatives to Wedding Party Pets

It might not be feasible to include your pet in the wedding, but that doesn’t mean they can’t be part of your celebration! There are plenty of ways to include pets without having them mingle with your guests.

Use your pet to propose! Have you already popped the question? If not, you can get your pet to help out. Hooking a ring on a collar is a great way to go about it. Or, get your sweetheart that brand-new puppy she’s been dying for, and include a sweet proposal message with your furry present.

Include your pets in your engagement photos (like how this couple incorporated their dog into their Oregon Coast Anniversary Shoot)!

Or you can even in wedding photos! They’re part of the family, so you may want them to be included in professional shots. If your pet can’t come to your venue, you can take photos elsewhere. This is a great alternative if your pet is not very crowd-friendly, like a snake or a llama.

Or, represent your pet at your wedding. Including your cat in the cake-topper figurine or an ice sculpture of your owl’s photo among the decorations can bring them there in spirit.

Your pet is a part of your family, so why not include them in the wedding? After all, your pet has likely been included in many of your favorite memories with your fiancé. Incorporating your pet into your wedding is a wonderful way to reflect who you and your fiancé are as a couple!

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But who says animals at your wedding have to be pets? Some of our favorite weddings + wedding venues already have animals there!

For example, this Boho Meets Farm Wedding had a zebra there!! SO COOL. The bride even told us that the zebras were a big hit and that her guests had a blast Instagramming them.

Or one of our all-time favorites: the goats that were at this apple orchard styled shoot. The goats were loving all the attention from the flower girl and was totally used to people. We were obsessed (....and still are).

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Yay! You made it to the end of the blog post so we're guessing you really love animals! So before you go looking for your dream wedding vendors, you HAVE to see how this couple incorporated their cat into their cozy in-home engagement session. Whether you're a cat or dog person, you'll find it adorable.

photos 1-2 // Innate Light

photos 4-5 // Cordelia Haugen

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