What You Need to Know When Including Your Dog on Your Wedding Day

Many of us love our four-legged family members as much as we love our human family members — maybe even more than some human family members, let’s be honest. For this reason, it makes sense that we’d want to include them in the most magical day of our lives.

However, there are plenty of things to remember when you’re considering including them in your wedding, like how they will handle the chaos of such a big event. You’ll want to consider how you want to include them, the problems you may run into, or some alternative ways to incorporate them in your nuptials that make more sense for them.

Cute dog sitting beside a sign that says the humans are getting married

Why Include Your Dog?

For many couples, their dog is their family. They offer comfort, join in on adventures, and maybe even share the same bed. It can be hard to imagine your big day without your big pile of slobbery, hairy love next to you.

It can help many couples feel at ease during a wedding day since animals often have a way of helping people feel calm. They can help with things like anxiety and stress, both of which run rampant on a wedding day. This is why dogs are often used to help patients in hospitals, veterans with PTSD, or those who have experienced trauma.

If you decide to include your dog in your big day, that decision is completely up to you and your spouse. Many couples find it difficult not to include them. However, it’s also important to consider what your dog can handle in addition to your wants.

Things to Remember

It’s important to remember what your wedding day will look like and how it will affect your dog. Some dogs are great with chaos, enjoy all of the attention, and adapt to many different situations. Other dogs, however, may find all of the commotion to be stressful.

Remember your dog’s temperament and take that into consideration when deciding whether or not to include them in your wedding day. Though it may be what you want, it may not be what’s best for them.

If you do decide to bring them with you on your wedding day, you’ll want to be sure they have everything they need in order to get through the day smoothly:

  • Food: They should probably eat their own instead of the catering.
  • Water: Your pup should always have access to water, especially for outdoor weddings in the summer.
  • Dishes: For their food and water.
  • Crate: A crate can help contain them and help them feel more comfortable. Include their bed and/or bedding.
  • Toys: Weddings are long, it’ll help them to have a toy to chew on or play with.
  • Outfit: If they have a tux, flower collar, dress, etc., remember to bring it along for optimum cuteness.
  • Treats: Treats will help to reward them for their behavior all day, and encourage them to complete any tasks they are responsible for — like delivering the ring.
  • Leash: Many venues will insist your pup stay on their leash.
Young dog dressed in tux at parents wedding

Ways to Include Them

Including your dog on your wedding day can be done in a variety of ways. How you’ll include them should depend on your dog’s abilities, what they are comfortable with, and the logistics of your event.

However you include them, just be sure you aren’t making them uncomfortable in the process. In fact, you can even get a dog handler for your big day. This person’s sole job is to keep your dog fed, watered, walked, and taken care of so you don’t have to have a family member do it.

This will ensure your pup is getting everything they need while being a part of your big day whether they are a part of the wedding party, or just a guest.

Wedding Party

Your dog can be your best man, maid of honor, bridesmaid, or groomsman. Whoever gets to walk them down the aisle will be the luckiest in the wedding party, and the photos will be gold.

Ring Bearer/Flower Pup

Your dog may like to meet you down the aisle with the ring, or carry a basket of roses. They can even walk with the designated flower girl or ring bearer. Either way, this might require a bit more training, but it’s still a great option.

Wedding Guest

If you’d like your dog there for your wedding but not in it, it would be simple enough for an easy-going dog to sit near someone on a leash and watch you say your vows.

Aisle Companion

If you or your spouse need someone to walk them down the aisle, who better than the companion who you always take walks with?


Photos with your pet in your wedding dress or tux are photos that will be cherished forever. Especially if they get to dress up in a flower collar or doggy tux as well.

Problems to Look Out For

Including your dog in your wedding is a situation that can cause some problems you should be aware of in order to help avoid them. For one, it’s very important not to subject a dog with behavioral problems to a hectic wedding.

Stressing them out isn’t worth it, and there are plenty of alternative ideas to include your pet without stressing them out. A dog who is reactive, one who barks, or one who is nervous might not handle a wedding well. Also be aware of the fact that some guest may not like or even be fearful of dogs, so having one around might be stressful for them as well.

Dogs are also not the cleanest of creatures.

If you do decide to have your dog in the wedding, be aware of any potty cleanup that needs to happen. Also know that potty accidents can happen in the middle of a ceremony no matter how potty trained they are because of the new and possibly stressful environment.

Be sure you bring a vacuum that works great for dog hair in order to clean any wedding wardrobe items, furniture, or carpeting that falls victim to their shedding. That means also having stain remover and a dog hair roller around as well. Be sure that your hotel or venue allows dogs beforehand so you don’t run into any last-minute difficulties.

The groom, bride cocker spaniel posing for a photo

Alternative Ideas

The truth is, many dogs aren’t cut out to be a part of your big day in a physical sense. That’s totally okay, because there are plenty of other ways to include your pet in your wedding that will be less stressful on them, you, or your guests.

The Proposal

What better way to ask someone to marry you than to do it with their favorite pup? You can easily tie the ring to their collar or put a sign around their neck asking the big question.

Engagement Photos

Save the dates, engagement photos, or invitations can all be done with the help of the couple’s favorite pet to make any wedding photos even more adorable.

Cake Topper

Instead of having a cake topper with just the bride and groom, get one with the bride, groom, and the dog. There are plenty of personalized cake toppers available that will do the trick.

Final Thoughts

Your wedding day should be one of the best days of your life. It’s the day in which you take all of your love, promises, and affection for your significant other and share them with your spouse in front of everyone you care about.

For many, that includes the family dog. The dog who was there for the fights, the makeups, the lazy days, and the big adventures. No matter how you choose to do it, it’ll be something extra special to include your favorite fuzzy companion on your wedding day.

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