Capturing your love story with intention and authenticity

6 Ways to Include Your Dog in Your Wedding

Your entire love story up until now has been leading to your wedding day. For many couples, their furry friends are an integral part of their journey. Whenever a couple asks “what do you think about us including our dog?” my heart does a big happy dance. From adorable engagement photos to walking down the aisle, there are countless ways to include your beloved dog in your special day. Here are six of my favorite ways to make sure your four-legged friend feels like a VIP at your wedding.

1. Have Them Get Ready with You

Start your wedding day off right by having your dog by your side as you get ready. Whether they are lounging while you have your hair and makeup done or wearing a cute “getting ready” outfit, having your pup with you will calm your nerves and make the morning even more special. Plus, it makes for adorable behind-the-scenes photos that you’ll treasure forever. This is a great option for pups that are a bit anxious when it comes to crowds and new people. Don’t forget to include their special wedding day collar in your detail photos! (For tips on how to choose where to get ready, check out this blog post!)

2. Include Them in Your Ceremony

For the dogs that love to steal the show, there are endless ways to include them in your ceremony where they will be seen and pet by your guests. Here are a few of my favorites.

– Ring Bearer: Deck out your dog in a cute bowtie, tux, or floral collar and let them steal the show by delivering your rings down the aisle. You can tie a pouch with your wedding bands to their collar. For the well-trained good boys, you can even have them hand your rings to you in a box! Don’t forget the treats for this one!

– Guest Greeter: One truth has been constant at every wedding that I’ve shot where the couple has included their dog: the guests were DELIGHTED. Have your pup greet guests as they arrive, spreading joy and wagging tails. Having small treats for your guests to reward your pup is a bonus. I can’t count the number of times I’ve seen groups of people in semi-formal wear leaning down to give ear scratches and get a puppy kiss or two.

– Sitting at the Altar: If your dog is well-behaved, consider having them sit by your side during the ceremony, adding an extra touch of love and warmth. Even if your pup is a bit nervous with the crowd, they will likely feel most comfortable beside their humans. I’ve shot several weddings where the couple’s dog has walked right up to join them, even when it was unplanned. Everyone loves a moment when the pup curls up on the train of the wedding dress.

3. Include them in Your Portraits

Don’t forget to include your furry friend in your wedding portraits! Whether it’s a formal family photo or a candid shot of you all laughing together, having your dog in your portraits will make them feel like an essential part of the day.

Coordinate their attire with yours for a cohesive look, and let their personality shine through in the photos. Your pup’s wedding day attire can be as simple as a bowtie collar. Elaborate details such as floral collars and pup-sized tuxedos are also encouraged. Your photographer can capture both posed and candid moments, creating timeless images that you’ll cherish for a lifetime.

This is a great way to include your pup if they wouldn’t handle the ceremony well. If your pup is nervous around crowds, consider having a first look with your spouse before the ceremony. A first look will allow time for you to grab some portraits with your dog without putting them through the stress of being in front of all of your guests.

4. Name Your Specialty Cocktails After Them

Pay tribute to your furry friend by naming signature cocktails after them. Whether it’s the “Fido Fizz” or the “Puppy Love Punch,” guests will appreciate the personal touch and the nod to your beloved pet. You can even order custom edible drink garnishes that have your pets faces on them!

5. Put Them on Custom Napkins, Favors, or Photo Props!

Dog Wedding Decorations Customized

Incorporate your dog into the décor with custom napkins featuring their adorable face or paw print. Dog-themed favors like biscuits or mini plush toys for guests to take home are always a hit. Include your pup in the dance party by ordering props with their faces on them.

6. Include Them in Your Engagement Session

Before the big day, capture some precious moments with your pup during your engagement photoshoot. Whether you’re frolicking in a park or cuddling on the beach, these photos will be cherished memories for years to come. Including your pup in your engagement session is also a great way for them to become familiar with your photographer before the wedding.

Wedding Day Tip: Hire a Pet Sitting Service to Watch Your Dog at Your Wedding

While you’re busy saying “I do,” make sure your dog is well taken care of by hiring a pet sitting service. This way, you can enjoy your day without worrying about your furry friend’s safety and comfort or putting unnecessary stress on a family member or friend. Wedding day pet services are becoming increasingly popular. By removing a lot of the potential stressors that a dog can bring, these companies make it easy and fun to include your furry friend in your big day. If you’re in the Bellingham area, check out Wags Down the Aisle!

Including your dog in your wedding day celebrations can add an extra layer of love and happiness to an already magical day. Whether they’re walking down the aisle or simply posing for photos, your furry friend will undoubtedly make your big day even more memorable. With thoughtful planning and the help of a talented wedding photographer, you can create beautiful memories that you’ll cherish for a lifetime.

The Journal