No one loves puppies and all things fluffy and cute more than MSH Events! But as all actual dog owners know, pets are a lot of responsibility! And having your fur baby at your wedding is a serious consideration. What's our take on having your four-legged friends be a part of your wedding?
There are so many great reasons to include your furry family members in special events and life celebrations, or to invite your friends' fur babies as well. The adorable photos, the emotional bond, the pure joy that animals bring into everyone's lives... There are just a few things to think about to make sure that everyone is comfortable and taken care of. Let's say you're considering having your buddy Bowser at the wedding.
1) TAKE CARE OF THE PUPS
If your pup will be there the whole time, make sure to build in the time to ensure their needs are taken care of. (Hopefully you can give these responsibilities to a friend and not leave them on yourself!) Most likely, the event will cover at least one chow time, bathroom break, and walk. Your sitter should also be provided with all the supplies and treats needed to help with any sticky situations. You should ask someone who knows your pup and who is familiar and comfortable to them. Everyday doggie needs don't disappear just because it's your special day. If this starts to become a burden or if you pup has a lot of specific care requirements, it might be best to consider hiring a dog-sitter or even leaving them at home or in a doggy daycare for the event. Sometimes that is best way to ensure that your loyal friend is taken care of.
2) Take Care of the People
The world is not completely populated by dog lovers. You may have some guests who are allergic or frightened or have some weird aversion to those of the canine persuasion. Think carefully about the comfort level of your guests when deciding to include four-legged guests. Make sure that your guests are aware if/when dogs will be around and see #3 for limiting their exposure. Weddings are community events and you'll want everyone to be comfortable and have fun!
3) PICK THEIR MOMENTS
If you don't want to worry too much about having Bowser there the entire time and anticipating barking during the toasts or getting under foot, we suggest placing them strategically. That is, pick moments to include your pets that don't require precise and exact timing or placement. Some of our best experiences with dogs at weddings are when they're only there for some of the photos or are just running down the aisle for the ceremony. (One ceremony tip, we don't recommend actually tying the rings to collars or in any other fashion. Put an adorable pillow or ribbon on them for the photos but let your wedding party take care of the actual, expensive belongings.) Then they can be picked up or dropped off back home or at daycare, and you won't have to worry about them for the rest of your wedding!
4) PRACTICE/ASSUME THE WORST
If your pup will be participating in any part of the wedding (ring bearer, wedding portraits, etc.), practice makes... well, not perfect, but more predictable outcomes. You can't always depend on Bowser to sit still when everyone else is moving around and trying to get into place. So it's good to try and see how they might react in the situations you want to put them through. Or barring that, just be sensible about their behavior. You know them best. If you know they won't come for anyone except you, it would be unreasonable to expect that they'll run down the aisle when your BFF calls them. Don't try to teach new tricks just for the wedding, expect the familiar.
5) KEEP IT SIMPLE
Weddings are made up of many moving parts and people and surprises. Even the best-behaved pooches can have a hard time not being distracted by the sheer amount of activity in a wedding. For any parts of the wedding that you include your dog in, think about minimizing the number of strangers, sounds, and movement involved. Maybe photos will be just with you and your partner, rather than the entire wedding party or families. Maybe a friend who is familiar to your dog should hold Bowser slightly apart from the ceremony group before ring bearer duties. This will just help encourage good behavior for any wedding duties.
6) Forget about it!
Finally, if you've considered all these possibilities and think they're all worth it if it means having your best bud there on your special day: then forget about all this! Have the usual doggie supplies on hand for everyone, keep it casual, let dogs be dogs, and enjoy the joyful madness! Just be sure to let everyone know what to expect and everyone, four-and two-legged alike, will enjoy the day.
Here's to our fur babies!