Photo: Linda Chaja Photography
Every dog has its day, but unfortunately, this one belongs to you and your groom solely (sorry Fido!). While we're, of course, all for including your pooch in your ceremony, there are a few things you must keep in mind when it comes to dogs and weddings.
1. Do make sure your dog gets plenty of exercise beforehand
This is particularly critical if your dog is a little on the wild side or a puppy. Wedding planner Tracie Domino, founder of Tracie Domino Events, stresses the importance of having someone take your dog for an extra long walk the day of the wedding so it is pretty tired out by show time.
2. Don't let your pup just roam free
No matter how well behaved your dog is, this is a big no-no, warns Erica Taylor, co-founder of NYC-based event design and planning company, Tinsel & Twine. Not only will your venue likely have strict rules regarding this (do check with them), but you also have to remember that not everyone is a "dog person" so some of your guests may be put off by having to share the event with your pet, points out Taylor. Plus, you wouldn't want anyone having an allergic reaction, would you?
3. Do put someone in charge of your pooch
Or at the very least, put someone that isn't a key player in your big day, such as your groom, planner, parents or best man and maid of honor, in charge of the dog. Event planner Natasha Burton, co-founder of Swoon California, advises giving this task to someone your dog knows and is comfortable with. "This person can keep the dog quiet and pick up any mess as needed, as well as make sure to get the dog where he/she needs to go at the right time."
4. Don't dress your dog in an uncomfortable outfit
Jerrod Sumner, founder of BRANDtabulous, notes, there's nothing worse than a wiggly pup that works his way out of his tux on the big day. "If you're going to have your dog dressed in a special outfit, do a trial run several days prior to the wedding so that the dog is comfortable and ready to go," he explains.
5. Do arrange for doggie transportation post-ceremony
As much as you love your dog, you also want to enjoy the wedding you spent forever planning without having to worry about him or her. Once the ceremony and photos are over and done with, Domino suggests having someone whisk your dog away. "We've worked with several dog boarders, and for a small fee, they can come and pick up your dog and then look after him or her for the night," she informs. You can also hire a local pet nanny. If you're working with a wedding planner, ask for some trusty recommendations.
6. Don't forget dog supplies
Similar to a baby at a wedding, dogs require a packed bag full of goodies. "Make sure you have a bed, a favorite toy, bathroom bags, treats, a leash/harness, food, water and bowls to eat/drink out of," says Burton. "Ideally, you should pack this the day before and give it to your dog handler."