by Sharon Auld
Would you include your pets in your wedding? Let’s face it our four-legged friends are pretty much family, so it’s only natural we would want to include them in our most special day. And really, there’s no reason why you can’t include them into some aspect of your wedding. Figuring out what role they will play is key. Not every pet is suited to walking down the aisle as a ring bearer, but there is no reason that your pet shouldn’t be included in some way. Some people have chosen to use photos of their pet for table numbers, on invitations or save the date cards. Some want to have their wedding photographs taken with their favorite four-legged family member, others want to mention their pet in their wedding vows, while others want their pet front and center.
There’s no right or wrong way to have your pet partake in your celebration. However, it’s important to take into consideration what you want, what’s comfortable for your pet and what’s considerate for your guests. Although it’s hard to imagine, not everyone will enjoy your pet as much as you do. There are those who may have allergies to pet dander and some who don’t like animals or are just plain afraid of them (sometimes it’s a small child or an elderly person who is worried that the animal might inadvertently hurt them). It’s important these reservations to your pet be considered so that everyone enjoys your special day. That might mean paying careful attention to seating plans and having your pet groomed prior to your wedding. It’s also really important to designate a handler who is skilled, comfortable and familiar with your pet.
And what about your pet? Would they rather curl up on their cozy bed and take a nap? Are they comfortable being around a lot of people or noise? As much as you would like to include your furry friend, think about what is best for them! That being said, many pets really enjoy people and attention. These pets are the best suited to take on larger wedding roles.
Another consideration for including your pet is whether or not your pet will be allowed at the venue. Most churches do not allow pets and many indoor receptions areas prohibit animals because of food regulations. If the venue tells you “no” and you still have your heart set on including your pet, you might want to consider an outdoor venue such as a ranch, park or private estate. Even then, not every outdoor venue will allow pets; many beaches and parks don’t allow dogs, horses or other animals. It’s best to check with your venue to be sure.
Once you’ve found your pet-friendly venue, it’s a good idea to inform all your other vendors. Think photographer, wedding planner, and officiant. Do they like pets or are they allergic? Are they going to be able to perform their duties properly or do you need to consider hiring someone else? If your planning on having flowers on your pet’s collar, then its a good idea to discuss this with your florist so that they can ensure that the materials they use are non-toxic and safe for your pet. You may also want to have a discussion with your venue’s landscaper. Are there potentially harmful plants on site or do they use pesticides on the lawn or spray to keep pests away? Even if a venue will allow your pet, it doesn’t necessarily mean it is a pet-friendly environment.
Despite some planning pitfalls, are you still wanting your four-legged friend to be a part of your wedding?
In our next post we’ll discuss tips to keep you, your pet and your guests comfortable and happy on your wedding day.