Are you planning to have your lovely pooch at your wedding?
This can be a major factor when couples choose a Celebrant wedding, the amount of Zoom calls I have had with couples where their pet is centre stage and craving to be involved is growing …it is usually their lovely dogs who are such a big part of their family, and they would not dream of leaving them at home on such a special day.
Couples can choose a dog friendly wedding venue when planning a Celebrant wedding in which to hold their ceremony and many have by the time they come to me ..so this would be my Tip number 1
1. Choose a dog friendly venue
This can be anywhere as we can hold your ceremony literally anywhere, but you may wish to consider if your venue can accommodate your dog, is there room, do they have the space – do they like dogs? One of my couples have chosen a farm where the owners have dogs and they have even completed a ‘trial run’ to make sure their dogs got on!!
Seriously, not all venues have the space or the facilities for dogs and may not be very welcoming so do your research …a great website to start on is
2. Inform other guests
It is only polite to let others know your dog or pet is going to be present as they will then know what to expect – they won’t be surprised and can decide how much interaction they wish to have. I find it is always best to manage expectations rather than surprise guests on your big day, that way they can be prepared, they may even know your dog and bring them a treat or volunteer to do some walking duties
3. Let your photographer know – are they use to photographing animals, do they like dogs? Let’s hope they are not allergic to dogs – it is always worth asking though! Have they photographed dogs at weddings before, and can you see any evidence of this on social media?
4. Find a role for your dog that they are comfortable with – what kind of personality does your dog have, honestly, are they relaxed, do they enjoy being with people? How are they in new surroundings with people they don’t know? Also think about your own personality, are you a perfectionist, do you want everything to go smoothly, or are you fairly relaxed and spontaneous – no matter what your dog’s personality things are fairly bound not to go to plan, and you may have to allow for this on the day! So, what role can your dog take on the day?
One of the most popular roles is that of ring bearer – I have had many pooches bring the rings down the aisle, the rings are usually attached to some kind of bag which is loosely attached to their collar, all matching with your colour scheme of course!
Or best man/maid of honour – if they are comfortable with it and don’t become too distracted get them to walk you down the aisle, on a lead of course – they can then hand you over and we can say a few words about how much they mean to you. Even if things go slightly wrong on then day my ceremonies are so relaxed that it become a part of the day and everyone enjoys the attention your dog gets !!
They could just be beside you during the service, sitting nearby in recognition of their relationship to you and one of my couples then asked a friend to read an extract from Winnie the Pooh on their behalf – it was so sweet
If all else fails and you can’t see your lovely pet taking on any formal roles such as these they could just be a part of the photos, before or after your ceremony – don’t forget no traditions with a Celebrant wedding it is your wedding your way so whatever you and your dog feel comfortable with.
And don’t forget the more you rehearse and train your dog the better, if they are used to sitting still and are very obedient all the better – you can always do practice runs to make sure it will all work out on the day.
And there are not only dogs which are chosen as pets at weddings, some couples who own horses often arrive on them, what a beautiful form of transport
5. Plan the day – planning is going to be key feeding, walks and of course you may need poo bags
Take your dog to the venue the day/week before to become acclimatised
And think about the following:
Toilet times and locations
Feeding times and where will they eat
Is there water available
How and where will they exercise
How will they travel to and from the venue?
Does your dog need to stay somewhere if you are staying overnight?
6. Think about the weather – if it is going to be too warm – is there going to be a comfortable space for your dog to lie in if we are all outside and the sun is beating down – is there a space with shade or can you create one? And what about if it is raining, is there an indoor space, maybe a pop up kennel or tent your dog can use, there is no point in them being miserable for the duration and there is nothing worse than a wet dog wanting to chat to your guests, most in smart outfits!
7. Find a chaperone for your dog, maybe a dog sitter or walker. You may wish to choose a person the dog knows and loves if you already employ a walker or sitter, a win win, a person close to you who loves your pooch as much as you do and they get to be part of your day too! There are may specialist companies out there, the one I know which is fabulous is
Finally, don’t forget your pets favourite toys and chews to keep them occupied on what will be a busy day for them and you!
I love dogs by the way, and I am looking forward to meeting you and your beloved pets!!
Give me a call if a pooch friendly Celebrant wedding in a venue of your choice is something that appeals to you!!