We love weddings, at Really Good Pets. Whether it’s traditional or modern with fun twists, we think weddings are the best place for people to come together and share what’s wonderful about a couple’s new life together – which ought to include the dog, of course!
And that could mean that your dog (or dogs) could be in the spotlight for the big day. There is no reason to exclude the pooch. But involving the dog in a wedding will require a little bit of planning.
- Have a designated dog handler. This might be just for the wedding ceremony, or the wedding and reception together. Figure that out beforehand. This person (or people) will have to remain sober enough to make sure that Fido stays calm while all of these new people walk around. If the dog handler needs to bust a move or two during the reception, make sure that there are a few subs who can hold the leash. If you don’t have family or friends who want this responsibility, there is no shame in hiring a pro to come in.
- Let the dog wear any new attire beforehand. If you want your pup to wear an outfit for the special occasion, 1) make certain that it fits and 2) make sure that it doesn’t freak the dog out. Some dogs do not like wearing clothes. If that is the case, bows or bow ties are fantastic. Just know what your dog is going to do. Don’t make him wear a top hat if he hates having anything on his head – he’ll spend the ceremony trying to remove it, and you’ll never get that awesome photo that you want.
- Do a meet and greet before the wedding. If your dog gets nervous or excited around new people, take the dog to meet family and friends before the ceremony. A lot of new people might make your dog jump up, bark, or pee. We’ve all been there. You want to ensure that strangers surrounding you and the dog (that’s how the dog will see it) won’t crank up those protective measures to 11.
- Take the dog to the groomer. Put this on your calendar. Dogs are gonna dog. They’ll roll in something stinky and dead the day before the wedding, just because. You will have eight million things to take care of, and if a trip to the groomer isn’t already on the calendar, it won’t get done. Make sure your pup is shampooed and fluffed the morning of, or the day before, and then restrict access to mud.
- Have breaks scheduled for the dog during the reception. The handler can help with this. I can promise you that guests who don’t drink (teenagers in front of their parents, for example) might want to help out with this as well. If they seem responsible and they are wearing shoes that can go for a walk, take them up on the offer.
- Schedule photographs with the dog for a specific time. The dog might not want to wait for dear Aunt Nelly to spend twenty minutes walking to the beautiful location where family pics will occur. You may have to accept that the pup will only have so much patience for all of the rituals. You’ll be emotional enough without having to worry about taking care of a stressed out dog.
This is your day, and including the dog may be the most natural thing ever. All you need is a little bit of preparation for a lifetime of memories.