7 top tips for including your pooch in your wedding

bride and groom on their wedding day with their dogs

Considering including your pooch at your wedding? Here are 7 top tips from Petpals

With 57% of UK households boasting a furry friend1, it is no wonder many couples dream of having their beloved dog join them on their special day. In fact, a whopping eight in 10 Brits say they would want their four-legged companion to be part of their wedding festivities2. But before you entrust your pooch with the role of ring bearer, it is essential to be well prepared to ensure that your big day is nothing short of paw-some for both you and your pup.

Here, Kevin Thackrah, Director of Petpals, the UK's longest-established pet-care franchise, shares some top tips on how to seamlessly incorporate your canine companion into your wedding day.

1. Check with your venue
First and foremost, it is essential to confirm whether your chosen wedding venue permits dogs on-site. Typically, venues will have a policy regarding pets or animals that they can provide you with. While some pet-friendly venues gladly welcome furry friends indoors, others may restrict them to outdoor areas – which could be ideal for an alfresco ceremony. However, certain venues may have a strict no-pet policy. If having your dog present at your wedding is non-negotiable, it is important to confirm this with potential venues before finalising any bookings or contracts.

2. Consider your guests
Are there any wedding attendees with dog allergies? Perhaps venue staff or suppliers have pet-related fears? While it does not need to escalate into a "them or the dog" dilemma, it is prudent to inform all involved on your special day so they can prepare accordingly – whether by taking antihistamines or simply maintaining a safe distance during the event.

3. Keep your dog's temperament in mind
As statistics have shown, having our canine companion present at our wedding is just as significant as any other family member. But it is crucial to assess whether your dog would actually enjoy the experience. Ultimately, you have to look at your wedding day from your dog's perspective. Will they be comfortable? Is it going to be a fun day for them? More importantly, is it feasible? Not all dogs possess a naturally social disposition, and the deviation from their usual routine, coupled with the attention from unfamiliar attendees, might prove overwhelming.

4. Prep your pooch
Yes, even our canine companions need some rehearsal time! Similar to us humans, it is essential to prepare our canine companions for the dog-friendly wedding day ahead – even if they are not directly involved in the proceedings. Attending the venue for a rehearsal allows dogs to acclimate to the surroundings, reducing potential stress on the big day. Familiarity with the environment beforehand can significantly contribute to their comfort and ease when the actual event takes place.

groom in blue suit bent down with his dog

5. Create a retreat
Occasionally, we all require a brief respite from the festivities – and your furry friend is no exception. Bringing along your dog's bed and favourite toy can aid in their relaxation and adjustment to new and stimulating environments. Also, always remember that refreshments are not just for you and your guests! Your pet will also require nourishment, walks and care while you are focused on the events of the day – although we recommend water and dog treats as opposed to champagne and cake!

6. Don't expect too much!
Stay flexible and adaptable on your wedding day. While you may have envisioned a specific role for your pet, keep in mind that dogs have their own agendas. Ensure you have contingency plans in place in case things do not go as planned. Embrace the charming quirks that dogs bring to celebrations – often, they can make for a more unique and memorable day!

7. Have someone on dog duty
If you think your dog will enjoy being part of your wedding celebration, it will be important to put someone your pup knows well on 'dog duty' for the dog-friendly wedding day. While our furry friends might be just as important as the guests on your wedding day, when you are getting married, you'll have a lot more on your mind than whether your dog is happy or behaving. By giving someone the task of looking after your canine companion, it means that they will get the love, care and attention they need throughout the day, and can be safely removed from situations they find too stressful without feeling 'locked away' from you or left out.

It should not be underestimated how much preparation goes into ensuring that your pup is well prepared before your big day.Fortunately, there are some helping hands available.  At Petpals, our Wedding Dog Chaperone Service is a bespoke service designed around our customers and their big day. Our fully insured, DBS-checked pet-care professionals look after their furry friend on their wedding day while they enjoy their ceremony – either chaperoning their dog as a guest, bridesmaid, best man, flower girl or ring bearer and have them groomed and prepared with any attire required. Our pet carers will conduct a full assessment of your dog before your wedding day to understand their usual routines, habits and requirements to ensure they are happy and healthy throughout their period of care.

With careful planning, consideration and the assistance of services like Petpals' Wedding Dog Chaperone Service, you can ensure that your pup feels included and cherished on this special occasion. From tail wags down the aisle to adorable photo opportunities, having your dog by your side adds an extra layer of love and happiness to your day, creating unforgettable memories that you will treasure for years to come.

For more information about Petpals and their Wedding Dog Chaperone Service, visit www.petpals.com
1 Statista, 2024, 2 ManyPets, 2023

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