My top 10 tips for a super dog-friendly wedding.
When you have a dog in your life, I bet its 100% part of the family. So of course you're going to want your best fluffy pal with you on your big day. If you're going to have your dog at your wedding I've written this handy little blog to give you some things to think about...
Firstly, I think having a dog-friendly wedding is a great idea! As far as I'm concerned, dogs are some of the absolute best animals on the planet.
My Mum's little Jack Russell, Freddie, came to our wedding and was a little superstar! I couldn't have had my day without him there, it just wouldn't have felt right.
I know from experience there are things you need to think about when planning to bring your beloved pet to your wedding.
Here are my top ten tips for having the best dog-friendly wedding.
Tip 1: Think about your dog's temperament.
As much as we all love our pets, they may not be the happiest at an event like a wedding. Think about the day you are planning - will you have lots of guests? Will there be a lot of children running around? Will your dog get stressed or nervous at a big event surrounded by lots of people? Perhaps you are planning a smaller wedding or elopement, in which case your dog might be an excellent guest.
If you are concerned about how your dog will feel, think about other ways they can be a part of your day. Perhaps you only need them for a couple of photos after the ceremony, or having them with you in the morning as you get ready.
There are lots of ways you can incorporate your love for your dog into your wedding day without them actually being there. Including your dog in your wedding invites and stationery can be a lovely way to show how important they are to you, or having them on your cake topper.
Dogs were a feature of our wedding during our vows when my husband promised "One day, we will get a puppy" - a vow I'm still waiting for him to uphold!
Tip 2: Check your wedding venue is dog friendly.
Your wedding venue is probably one of the first things you will book. When shortlisting venues you want to visit, make sure they are dog friendly. Having space for them to have a walk during the day is useful, as well as somewhere to go if it gets too loud or busy.
You can find some gorgeous dog friendly wedding venues on directories such as Truly Quirky Wedding Venues and Coco Wedding Venues. If you're looking for a venue in Hampshire I can recommend Burley Manor and the Tournerbury Woods Estate.
Tip 3: Find a dog-loving photographer - like me!
I am pretty much guaranteed to jump at the chance to photograph a wedding with dogs in! I love them so much!
Whoever you choose, make sure to let them know what your plans are for having your dog at your wedding. Have a chat with them about how much you want your pup involved in your photos. Will they just be there for morning prep? Are they part of the ceremony? Do you want to take them with you for your couples portraits?
If your dog can't be there on the day, booking a pre-wedding shoot with your photographer and taking your dog along can be a great way to get some lovely, relaxed photos of you all together.
Tip 4: Think about what your dog's role will be.
So, you know your dog will be with you at your wedding, but will they have a special role?! There are so many ways you can involve your dog at your wedding - they could be your ring bearer or flower dog. They could walk down the aisle with a member of your wedding party. Maybe they could be part of your first dance?! (If you are doing this pleeeeeeeeeease hire me as your photographer!!)
Tip 5: Think about investing in a dog chaperone.
You might want to consider getting a pet chaperone - or designate a trusted guest - to look after your dog during your wedding day. You won't be able to do it, you'll be too busy sipping prosecco, mingling, busting moves on the dancefloor and generally getting married to keep an eye on what they're up to. Chaperones can make sure your pup is there when you need them (for photos for example) and take them somewhere quiet when the band starts...
Tip 6: Choose them an epic outfit!
I'm not going to go into too much detail here because I've written a separate blog post about some amazing dog wedding accessories you can look into - safe to say there's lots of options and your dog can look super glam for your big day!
The most important thing is to make sure they are comfortable - don't force them to wear something they're going to try and scratch off all day!
Tip 7: Let your guests know...
A simple note on your invitations or wedding website, or just telling your guests that you plan to have your dog with you at your wedding means that they come prepared, especially if someone is nervous around dogs or allergic to them.
Tip 8: Don't forget food and water!
Hopefully it goes without saying, but make sure your dog knows where to get food and water throughout the day. There will be so much going on that you might not remember. Having little treats to hand for good behaviour is a good idea - or you could even order your dog their own bit of dog-friendly wedding cake!
Tip 9: At the end of the day...
Make sure you have plans in place for the end of your day and the day after, especially if you're thinking of heading straight off on a honeymoon. Can your dog stay with you at your venue? Or will they be staying with a trusted relative or pet-sitter? Do they need an overnight bag with familiar toys, treats and a bed to make them comfortable? Knowing that you have everything in place and ready to go will take a weight off your mind on the day.
Tip 10: Have fun!
I have saved the most important point to last - most of all, have fun! Its your wedding!
Your dog is with you for a reason. They are a part of the family and you want to share the day with them. Enjoy having your dog there, if you have all the other steps in place you shouldn't have anything to worry about. Give them snuggles, get them in the photos and make the most of having your dog at your wedding day!
All of the images in this post came from a styled shoot I arranged at the Tournerbury Woods Estate on Hayling Island. I will share the full gallery from the shoot soon, as I'm pleased to say it will be featured on a wedding blog in January!
These are all the wonderful suppliers who took part in the shoot and made it such an amazing day:
Photographer and concept – Katherine and her Camera
Second photographer - Katie Mortimore Photography
Stylist - Black Diamond Weddings
Venue - Tournerbury Woods Estate
Dress designer - Flossy and Dossy
Suit designer - Charles Gale
Florist (bouquet only) – Luvshifting Flowers
Silk Kimono - Luvshifting Wedding Silks
Stationery - Made by Rae Designs
Cake – The Dotti Cake Company
Merino wool wrap – The Merino Boutique
Make up artist – Rachel Maslin Makeup Artist
Hair stylist – The Artful Hairstylist
Gold tiara – The Lucky Sixpence
Silver tiara – Honey V Tiaras
Wedding rings – The Molten Wedding Ring Company
Celebrant –Rachael Thompson Celebrant