How To Plan A Dog-Friendly Wedding - Seven steps to a great day for everyone and their pooch!
Updated: Oct 21, 2022
When it comes to your big day, your wedding day, the sheer enormity of planning that is required can be quite daunting. If you wish to make sure that your wedding goes exactly as planned, then a large part of the challenge is the guests. Making sure everyone who you want to share that happiness with comes to the wedding is a huge undertaking.
It requires vast amounts of effort, co-ordination, planning, and following up. Yet, during all of the hustle and bustle of wedding planning, you might have forgotten about something very important – the pets!
Pets, specifically dogs, are a common companion for a wedding. If you are someone with a meaningful connection to your dog, then it would make sense that you want to have them present for the big day. However, throwing a dog friendly wedding can be much more challenging than you first assume. There is much to discuss, especially with the venue that you have chosen.
First and foremost, speaking of the venue, do they allow pets? If not, it could be a deal breaker for you. Throwing a wedding suitable for dogs is easy if the venue is happy to play along. If you want some help in making sure you can have a dog-friendly wedding, then, I recommend you consider the following points.
How can you throw a dog friendly wedding?
1. Commit to a dog friendly venue
The venue was mentioned above, but it really is the most important starting point for all of your negotiations. Taking a pet to a wedding is something very enjoyable, but you want to make sure that the venue is happy with this. Some wedding venues can be very funny when it comes to animal companions, so you should ensure that this is all agreed with the venue beforehand.
The best venues for a dog friendly wedding will most likely be outdoor venues or venues with plenty of outdoor space. Many people choose to go for places such as ornate castles, museums, and boutique hotels for their wedding. That is fine, but they are unlikely to allow dogs for the wedding day – not without a healthy premium on top, anyway.
So, make sure that you take this into account as it is a vital component of planning your animal friendly wedding day.
2. Be sure to inform your guests
If you get the OK from the wedding venue, then you can proceed with the planning of your awesome dog friendly wedding. However, it might be wise to make regular contact with all of your guests who will be coming along to make this clear to them.
Let people know that dogs are coming for two simple reasons:
1. One, so that anyone who might wish to bring their own dog can make the required preparations
2. Two, so that those who might have allergies to dogs can find some kind of anti-allergy medication.
It also helps to keep people in the loop when you are planning a wedding. The revelation that dogs are welcome at the venue could mean that someone spent lots of time and money getting a sitter when they could have brought the pet with them.
3. Give the dog some kind of role
As you might imagine, the sheer atmosphere and volume of people at a wedding, even a small private wedding, can be sensory overload for a dog. If you want to keep your canine in a good mood, then make sure they have some kind of role within the day. Many people use the dog as something like a meet and greet expert who is at the door meeting all of the guests as they arrive.
At the same time, others might have the dogs used to help entertain any children who might have be at the wedding. Keep this in mind as it will make sure that you can more effectively plan out the full day without having to watch your dog yourself.
A dog that plays host will need supervision, but it is an effortless way to have them involved rather than roaming around bored.
4. Always have a supervisor
On your wedding day, you are simply going to be far too busy dealing with, well, everything, to be able to look after your dog. While they might want to follow you and your new partner-for-life around the venue, you should have someone who the dog has a strong relationship with as the supervisor. A family member or close friend – someone who the dog has spent time with – should be a good starting place. This is ideal for making sure that the dogs can be watched at all times, so that if they decide to do anything wild, they can be stopped in their tracks. Keep this in mind as it will be very important to ensuring everyone who comes along can feel settled.
Without a supervisor, you run the risk of your dog doing something that could impact your overall enjoyment of the day.
5. Make sure you have refreshments
Find out long in advance of the wedding date how many dogs will be coming along with other people. Then, you know how many things like dog bowls (and how many snacks, treats, and toys) you will need. This is very important as you want the dogs to be well cared for on the day. This means having a bit of extra preparation for a place where the dogs can enjoy their food while everyone has their meal.
This is worth the time because it will make sure the dogs do not become anxious, and that they do not start trying to help themselves to food for the people and guests. Having a bit of preparation in this regard will ensure that the dogs who do arrive for the big day are cared for, attended to, and have enough snacks to go-around.
6. Get your dog some extra training
One thing to focus on as you try and prepare everything for a dog friendly wedding is the training aspect. Even the most well-behaved dog is going to find the amount of people hanging around the wedding venue quite hard to grasp with and deal with. A bit of training with a professional dog coach could be just what your canine needs to settle down and not get overly carried away with the atmosphere.
There is a lot going on during your wedding, and your dog definitely needs to be given the time and space it needs to adapt. However, a little bit of preparatory training could be just what they need to get settled. You might even want to make the same suggestion to anyone who is bringing their dog along; a wedding can be overwhelming for a dog, so having them prepared via some training beforehand is a great idea.
7. Get ID tags for every dog
Finally, if you are going to have some dogs coming along to the big day then you should really get some ID tags. These tags can play a huge role in making sure the dogs come along can be easily returned to their owner should they decide to go for an unexpected wander around the hotel grounds while the humans are doing speeches!
Ready to make your commitment?
With so much to plan and often so little time to do it, it is easy to feel like you are not going to get the wedding you intended. However, by making sure you have the right people involved and ensuring you plan accordingly, your wedding can go on exactly as you dreamed it would.
Be sure that you hire people that you can trust to adapt everything to the needs of the wedding itself. For example, if you need help with making sure you get picture-perfect imagery of your wedding you need a good photographer.
As a proven and experienced South Wales wedding photographer, I would be more than happy to help you make sure your wedding goes according to plan.
Contact me today if you have anything to discuss regarding the planning and preparation for your wedding.
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