Whether your dog is a ring-bearer, best man or just a guest, including your beloved pet adds a special touch to your wedding day.
Venue: Ensure your venue is ‘pet friendly’. Unfortunately, many venues will not allow dogs on location other than service animals. Check well in advance that pets are allowed at your chosen venue. An outdoor wedding may make incorporating your pet easier.
Chaperone: Designate someone to look after your dog before, during and after the ceremony. You will be far too busy on your wedding day to take care of them. Make sure the person you chose has meet your pet before and knows how best to look after them and how to make them feel comfortable and safe. You could even hire a professional handler to help. Make sure the VIP looking after your pet has a plan to get your pet home safely after the ceremony or reception.
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Attire: Order your pet’s attire well in advance. You don’t want your pet to be uncomfortable on the day, so make sure they have been properly fitted and are familiar with wearing their outfit. You don't need to go overboard, a small accessory, such as a bow will still look fabulous. As many weddings take place in summer, it's important to consider heat when your dog is wearing clothes, dogs can easily overheat under the summer sun. It’s definitely safety and comfort over style on this occasion!
Guests: Tell your family and friends in advance that your dog will be attending your wedding. A dog could make the experience of attending your wedding unpleasant for guests with allergies or those uncomfortable around dogs. Allergies or not, it's always a good idea to give your pup a shower before the big day. This will limit dander and loose hair that not everyone will want on their nice clothes. Be cautious of young children with your pet too, it is important that someone supervises children with your dog, as they can unknowingly overwhelm the animal. By all means allow the children to spend time with your pet, but make sure they are always supervised.
Training: Take your dog to the location of your wedding several times in advance, so that he becomes well acquainted with the smells and the area. Practice walking down the aisle and reward him with a treat afterward. Repeating this will help provide your dog with an incentive to do it with ease on your big day.
Essentials: You will want your pet to be as well behaved as possible on your wedding day, make a pack with their favourite treats and toy, water, bowl and pick up bags. Tissues may come in hand too if your pet has long fur.
On the day: To prevent an overly hyper dog at your wedding, ensure he exerts lots of energy during the days leading up to the wedding, long walks, romps at the beach or park, even play at doggy daycare with help shed that extra energy. A good walk and a sniff of the venue prior to the ceremony is a good idea, and a great chance for a last minute toilet stop. If your dog is nervous around strangers, limit his role and have him leave after the ceremony. If you have a friendly dog, you could allow him to stay for the reception, as long as proper supervision is available.
Food: Have dog food and a bowl of fresh water handy if your dog is staying for the reception to ensure he is well fed. Make sure guests don't feed him human food, as this could lead to upset your dog's tummy and nobody wants that on their big day!
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