If you consider your pet to be a part of the family, then including him or her in your wedding festivities is probably a no-brainer. But before you invite your party animal to your celebration, you should figure out the best way to do so. Here are some ideas for including your four-legged friend in your ceremony or reception, plus an etiquette tip you should definitely follow.
Dress Your Pet Up
Like any wedding guest, your pet should look his or her best. Fancy collars and leashes are good accessory options, as are bow ties and floral wreaths.
Make Your Pet a Member of the Wedding Party
If your pet is well-behaved, he or she can stand with your bridesmaids or groomsmen. Alternatively, your pet can serve as your ring bearer. If you go with the latter option, be warned: No matter how well-trained your pet is, the choice is risky. Many couples worry about letting kids carry their rings, never mind a dog! Consider making your pet a symbolic ring bearer, and let someone else actually hold the bands.
Have Your Pet Accompany Your Flower Girl
If your little attendant loves animals, or is nervous to walk the aisle alone, the support of your pet may be all that she needs. She can walk him or her instead of tossing petals, or do both simultaneously. Always run this by her parents first, though. If they approve and your flower girl hasn't met your pet yet, introduce them before the wedding and make sure that they're both comfortable.
Walk with Your Pet Down the Aisle
If circumstances prevent you from walking with a parent down the aisle, or you just want to go a different route, take your pet along for the ride.
Carry Your Pet
Believe it or not, smaller pets have been used as alternatives to bouquets! Of course, consider the well-being of your pet before making this decision. If he or she gets nervous easily or might get hurt being carried, it's best not to.
Include Your Pet in Your Wedding Portraits
Memorialize your pet's attendance by including him or her in your photo session.
Let Your Pet Inspire Your Wedding Details
If you can't swing actually inviting your pet, you can still honor him or her in your décor. Try displaying photos of your four-legged friend at your reception. Cake toppers, stationery illustrations, and more can also nod to your pet, whether or not the pet is present at your affair.
Throw a Pet-Friendly Wedding
Why stop at one pet, when you can include them all? Some casual weddings are dog-friendly, for example, meaning that the couple allows attendees to bring their pups along. If you do this, we recommend having guests RSVP for their pets beforehand, so that you can plan accordingly.
Etiquette Tip: Warn Everyone That Your Pet's Attending
It's common courtesy to inform your guests that you'll be including your pet in your festivities. Some attendees might be allergic or afraid, and they deserve a fair warning. You can let them know however you please—we suggest informing them on your wedding's website. You'll also need to tell your venue if you plan to bring a pet. Some locations won't allow them, and others will need to prepare in advance. It's polite to tell your vendors, too.
Photo Credit: KT Merry Photography