“A pet plays an important role in a couple’s life and for many pet parents, family festivities would not be complete without their pet’s involvement,” said John D’Ariano, President of the National Association of Professional Pet Sitters (NAPPS). “As a result, it’s becoming more common for couples to customize their wedding parties to include family, friends, and furry companions.”
But if you’re looking to include your pet, there are a few precautions you need to take. We checked in with the NAPPS for some tips on how to keep your pet safe and happy during the wedding festivities.
Consider Your Pet’s Personality
A pet can be a guest of honor and simply stand with the wedding party during the ceremony, or your pet can have a specific role (ring bearer or flower girl are common roles) in the ceremony. But before giving your pet a starring role, think about whether this will be an enjoyable experience for him. Will your pet feel comfortable around your guests? Is he obedient and well behaved? There’s no guarantee that your pet will behave exactly how you want him to on the day of the wedding. Even the most outgoing and friendly pet can be overwhelmed by a crowd of guests, according to NAPPS.
To make sure that your pet has enough time to develop a level of comfort around your guests, consider hiring a pet sitter, who will act as your pet’s guide. And if your pet is especially skittish, consider having someone carry him or letting him ride in a wagon. And if he’s overly affectionate or easily distracted, be sure to use a short leash.
Confirm That Pets are Allowed in Your Ceremony Facility
With everything else on your to-do list, it’s easy to forget this simple—yet important—step. You don’t want to show up on the day of your wedding, four-legged ring-bearer in tow, only to be told that he needs to get off the propery, stat.
Don’t Jeopardize Safety for Style
Planning on dressing your pooch in a tux? Make sure it fits properly and doesn’t create any discomfort for your pet. Keep the accessories simple—a bowtie or flower attached to the collar is a fun way to deck out your pet. Ensure that any accessories won’t come loose and pose a choking hazard to your pet. Be sure to check if any flowers or plants being used at your wedding are toxic to your pet.
Inform Your Guests
Put this information on your wedding website as a warning to anyone with allergies so that they can plan accordingly.
Notify Your Photographer
Prepare your photographer to capture your pet in action. It’ll help your photographer prep for those unplanned moments, like when your dog leaps up to kiss you during the vows. Your photographer can also help you brainstorm fun photo ideas with your pets for after the ceremony.
Book a Pet Sitter
You have enough to worry about on the day of your wedding—hire a pet sitter to be responsible for bringing your pet to the ceremony, taking him home after, or watching him during the reception. That way, you won’t need to worry aboutwho’s feeding the dog (or keeping him away from the chocolate).