How to incorporate your dog into your wedding

Is your dog part of your wedding party? If so, the following tips will help you make your big day as dog-friendly (and stress-free) as possible!

For many pet owners, dogs are important members of the family. So naturally, when it comes time to plan for a special occasion like a wedding, pups play a very important role! While incorporating your dog into your wedding can be somewhat tricky, there are ways to make her time in the spotlight as flawless as possible. Below are some suggestions to consider during the planning process.

Getting ready

Inviting your pup into the “getting ready” suite is a great way to make sure she feels comfortable around your close friends and family who will likely be caring for her throughout the day. It’ll also give you the opportunity to get some adorable shots of you and your pup together. If possible, dress her in a bow tie or special accessory to ensure she’s just as festive as you and your wedding party.

As an added bonus, having your furry friend by your side might help calm your nerves before the big moment!

The ceremony

Your wedding ceremony is one of the most important moments of your life. No pressure! Before you decide to make your dog part of the “I do’s,” consider her personality. If she’s naturally sociable, she may try to make friends with all the guests, causing a scene and taking attention away from you and your partner. If she’s shy, she may opt to hide out of sight until the whole thing is over. Neither of these situations are ideal, so make sure your pup is going to behave before you commit to inviting her.

If you think she’ll be comfortable and well-mannered, here’s a few ideas to help integrate her smoothly into the ceremony:

  • Ask a bridesmaid or groomsman to walk down the aisle with your pup’s leash in-hand or (if your four-legged companion is small enough) to carry her instead of a bouquet. You can even decorate her collar with a small garland of beautiful, non-toxic flowers to create the cutest “bouquet” anyone has ever seen.
  • Make her your official “flower dog” or “ring dog” by having her walk down the aisle alongside your flower girl. You can even give your pup the important responsibility of carrying the rings – just make sure she’s up to the task! To prevent any last-minute disasters with lost rings, you can fasten them to a ribbon tied around her neck or tie a small decorative pillow on her back with the rings attached to the top.
  • Have more than one pup? No problem! Invite your wedding party to take turns holding onto your dogs.

The wedding photos

Your wedding photos are timeless, so it makes sense that you’d want your pup to be a part of the memories. Make sure your photographer has small treats and a toy in hand to get your dog’s attention for the camera. Bonus points if your photographer has experience photographing animals as he or she will have some extra tricks up their sleeve to make sure your pup “sits pretty”.

It’s also important to know your dog’s limits. If she seems to be getting stressed out or irritated by the photo shoot, have someone hold her on the sidelines while you finish up. This will give your photographer a chance to capture a few intimate shots featuring just you and your partner!

The reception

Everyone knows the most important part of the party is the dessert. If your dog is invited to the reception, you’ll have to factor in her presence when it comes time to cut the cake! To include her in the festivities, check out your local pet retailer to see if they offer pet-friendly dessert options. You can even take this a step further by adding a small, dog-friendly dinner dish to your wedding catering plan so your pup can feast alongside her favorite humans.

One of the designated caretakers of your dog should be continuously checking in to make sure she’s comfortable throughout the night. Remember – it’s a long day for her as well! Loud music and dancing might make some dogs anxious, so it is important to have a plan to take your pup home – or somewhere else for her to rest – if needed.

Overall, the most important things to remember about having your dog in your wedding are to have fun and be flexible if the unexpected happens! Your dog may chew on something mid-ceremony or bark a few times during the reception, but it’s important not to sweat the small stuff. It’s your day, and you deserve to enjoy every minute of it with your spouse and canine companion by your side!


Latasha Ball is the Marketing Coordinator for Pets Global, the founders of pet food brands Zignature, Fussie Cat, Essence Pet Foods, and Inception Pet Foods. She has more than 10 years of experience in marketing and public relations, in which she enjoys being able to combine her professional background with her passion for animals.