Now that spring is upon us, and summer around the corner, we are officially in Wedding Season! If you?re getting married this spring or summer, you may be looking at ways to include your furry best friend in your big day. That is why we are bringing you 5 Ways To Include Your Dog in Your Wedding. Having just got married this past October myself; I know the importance of wanting all of your family members celebrating with you.
These 5 ideas are all things that my husband and I did to include Marlee in our wedding. Some take a bit of planning, while others are super easy. But what?s important is that your four-legged friend gets to be included. Whether that is with you in person or in other creative ways.
1. Engagement Pictures
A very simple way to include your doggie in your wedding and events leading up to your wedding is engagement pictures. This is your first step towards your wedding after the actual proposal.
Here are a few of my tips for including your dog in your engagement pictures:
- Talk to your photographer in advance if you plan on bringing your dog along. You want to know if your photographer has worked with animals before. It?s possible they could be scared of dogs and then they aren?t able to perform their services to the best of their ability.
- Pick an outdoor location. Your dog will feel most comfortable being outside and not in some strange persons house. Of course you could always take your engagement pictures at your home, where they also feel at home. But we recommend outside so that your dog is calm.
- Take your dog for a walk before hand. This goes along with my previous tip. If you?re outside you can bring your dog for a walk before hand and let them run around. This way they are calm and tired for the pictures. Ensuring that they will be more willing to sit and stay still for your photographer. Bonus: If you want your photographer to catch action shots, they can always do this while you?re playing with your dog.
- Bring along treats. This may seem like a no brainer but it could be a lifesaver. If you have a very well trained dog, this may not be necessary, but still couldn?t hurt. Most dogs are food motivated and having treats on hand is super helpful. Marlee isn?t food motivated but having some of her favourite treats on hand, always comes in handy. No pun intended. But really, your dog may have to sit or lie dog for a long period of time depending on the pose you are doing and having a reward is always a great idea.
- Bring along a friend or family member. This was the best decision we made! My best friend came along with us and took care of Marlee. We wanted some pictures with Marlee and some without. She was able to take care of Marlee for the photos we took without her. It was also really helpful having her for the pictures we took with Marlee because she was able to stand with the photographer and call Marlee?s name. For occasion such as engagement pictures, another person is a must if you include your dog.
2. Honorary Wedding Party Member
It may be a little more complicated to include your dog in your wedding as a wedding party member but it?s worth it! We were very lucky to get married on my mother in laws property so we didn?t have to worry too much about the logistics of this. However, you will want to check your venue, if dogs or pets are allowed. Most will have strict rules about this. Most likely if your ceremony is in a church this option will not be possible. However, most outdoor locations are great for allowing dogs.
We had one of our maids of honour (we had two) walk down with Marlee and then hold her leash during the ceremony. This way she was able to walk down the aisle and then stand next to us during the ceremony. You could also have your furry friend walk the bride down the aisle, or go down with the flower girl or ring bearer. There are so many options, what you choose truly depends on you and your dog.
You can also dress your four-legged family member for the occasion. With Marlee we put a cute white and black damask collar on her. But you could do a flower collar or flower crown, a special leash. Or my personal favourite, a special engraved dog tag that says their role, such as ?Flower Girl? or ?Groomsman.? Whatever suits you, your future husband and your doggie the best. The important thing is that you get to include your dog in your wedding.
Just make sure that you have a plan for your pup post ceremony because the reception may be a little too wild for them. Marlee went into the house when the real party started in the reception tent. Family members took turns letting Marlee and my mother in laws dogs out for pee breaks throughout the evening and night. If this isn?t an option for you, consider hiring a dog sitter for the evening. Or have someone you trust drive your dog home.
3. Your Cake Topper
Having your dog apart of your cake topper is an easy and subtle way to include your dog in your wedding. I feel that this is a really cute touch to any wedding where the bride and groom own a dog. It requires little extra work and doesn?t mean that your dog has to be present at your wedding. We wanted to include Marlee in as many aspects of our wedding as possible. Which meant that she had to be on top of the cake with us!
I had looked at customized cake toppers but they were pretty pricey and out of our budget. While this would have been nice, the reality of the matter is that it?s only for one night and then you never use it again. With that in mind I immediately set out looking for alternatives that still included our fur baby.
We ended up ordering our cake topper from Wedding Star. As you can see from the picture we ordered the ?Leaning for a Kiss? couple figure Cake Topper. This was our main cake topper and then we ordered the Miniature Bichon Frise Figurine. Marlee isn?t actually a bichon frise, but this dog looked the closest to her breed. However it was all white and she isn?t.
My amazingly talented best friend, actually painted the porcelain dog to match Marlee?s hair colour. This completely brought the dog to life and looked just like her. We then were able to put the dog figurine on base of the couple figurine cake topper. The cake topper as a whole was a huge hit. This is a super cute and easy way to include your dog in your wedding. Bonus: these cake toppers are currently on sale!
4. Wedding Pictures ? Getting Ready Pictures
What better way to include your dog in your wedding than your wedding pictures. There are a couple ways to do this. First, if you?re taking bridals or any wedding pictures in advance you can bring your dog along. If you?re going to do this, use the same tips that I mentioned for including your dog in your engagement pictures.
Another way to include your dog in your wedding pictures is by taking pictures with them when you?re getting ready. This is something that I did and really enjoyed. Since we were married on our family?s property it gave us a lot of leeway. Marlee was in the house with us so it was just natural for her to be by my side as I was getting ready. Our photographer captured some really nice pictures of the two of us.
The last way to include your dog in your wedding pictures is by having them present the day of your wedding. I previously mentioned having our dog in our wedding ceremony. Because of that she was at our cocktail hour before the reception. We took the majority of our pictures during this time. We actually let all the dogs run around and mingle with our guests. Looking back on our wedding pictures, there are quite a few where Marlee is seen off to the side or hiding. It truly is something special to have your furry best friend included in your big day.
5. Your Save The Dates/Thank You Cards
You can include your dog in your save the dates and thank you cards in a couple ways. If you want them in your save the dates then you can bring them along to your engagement pictures and use those photos. Or you can have a little cartoon made of them and included somewhere on the save the date. We did not have Marlee included in our save the dates because we were going to a more elegant/rustic feel. But we did include her in our Thank You Cards.
You can do this by using photos from your wedding day, if you had your dog present that day and got pictures. Another way as I previously mentioned in the form of a cartoon, which is what we did. Even though we had Marlee at our wedding and got some cute pictures, I wanted to do something a little more fun. We treat Marlee as our child, which means she is as apart as the family as my husband and I are. Because of that, I reached out to a cartoonist who was able to make Marlee into a cartoon based on pictures I sent him.
I thought it would be really funny if Marlee was a cartoon and she had a speech bubble saying, ?and we all lived happily ever after!? We then put it on the back of our Thank You Cards. That way the front still matched our wedding theme, as well as our Save the Dates and Wedding Invitations. But it added a little fun element that was unique but included our dog in our wedding.
Well there you have it, 5 Ways to Include Your Dog in Your Wedding! We hope you enjoyed our ideas. Some are super easy to achieve, such as included them in your cake topper or save the dates/thank you cards. While others may require more planning, it is totally worth it in the end. If you?re able to include your dog in your wedding I highly recommend it. I love looking back on our wedding pictures and seeing Marlee right next to us. I can?t wait to look back on them in 10, 15, 25 or even 50 years and see her and remember how it was such an amazingly special day.
Let us know if you have included your dog in your wedding and if you have any other ideas to do so!
Don’t forget to check out some our previous posts?on including your dogs in all aspects of your life, such as birthdays with these Wheat Free Peanut Butter Banana Muffins for Dogs?or during the holidays with these DIY Easter Treats for Dogs!
Wet Kisses and Tail Wags,
Karlee and Marlee