Bow Vows: Dogs in Weddings

Dogs in Weddings
Bow Vows: Dogs in Weddings
Your big day wouldn’t be complete without your dog as a member of the wedding party.

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For many dog lovers, their big day wouldn’t be complete without their dog as a member of the wedding party. Though including your dog in your wedding definitely introduces a ‘wild card’ element—dogs, like little children, are apt to go off script—these couples wouldn’t have had it any other way. Flip through the following pages for serious dog-inclusive wedding inspiration, from photo ops you’ll want to copy to adorable canine attire. Plus, we talk to a woman who has made it her business to address the logistical challenges of including your dog in your wedding and she shares the nuts and bolts considerations to make it all go off without a glitch! (Hint: you’ll need help.)

 

 

Vancouver, BC-based Wedding Photographer Aileen Choi's Top 5 Favourite Ways to Incorporate Your Dog into Wedding Photos:

1. Choose a venue that is dog-inclusive so that your four-legged family member can run free and be happy. Outdoor venues, such as a forest or open field, are typically the best options. That way, they can be along with you all day and be in more photos! 

2. Get ready with your dog present in the same room/area.  Dogs really add so much more and create sweet moments as you're getting ready to walk down the aisle.

3. Have your dog join you in walking down the aisle or stand with you at the ceremony. These are two of the most popular ways to include dogs in your photos! 

4. Dress them up, but just a little bit—a special collar, flower collar, bow tie, etc.—something that isn't going to make them uncomfortable, but will make them stand out in your photos. 

5. I think this is the most important tip: have someone in charge of taking care of your dog for the day so that you don't have to worry about him when you're not taking photos with your dog. 

 

Jacqui Price, Bloomington, IL 

My number one piece of advice for people including dogs in their wedding is:

Have someone walk your dogs before you first see them or get pictures with them. Our pups were extra hyper and distracted because of all the new people, so I think it would have helped to have them a little tired out beforehand. 

It's all in the details: 

Even though the dogs could only physically be there for part of the day, they were there in lots of other ways too. My favourites were their custom silhouettes included on our guestbook and cake topper. We even had small white paw prints all over our cake—my husband’s idea!

 

“It was so important to me to have the dogs in our wedding photos—they’re a big part of our family! The best part was having Molly, my Bernese Mountain Dog, there with me the whole day. She’s my best friend and it meant everything to have her by my side, supporting me like she always does.”

 

Guinness, “best man”of  Amanda Lynn Jessie

Best Part About the Day:

"Being able to share our day with our furchild. We do not have kids and we were able to include him as the ring bearer."

Advice for having a dog in a wedding:

"Make sure you have arrangements for after the part they are involved in. We had family friends pick up Guinness after the wedding and take him to our house and feed him dinner."

Fave memory from the day:

"Having Guinness involved in our first look."

 

Brooke & Andrew Harsh, Evansville, IN

Advice for having a dog in a wedding: 

"Have them be a part of it in a small way, even just for pictures!"

 

Jo-Anne Christine Pfoh & Pepper, Sarnia, ON

Best Part About the Day:

"Being able to share my special day with my best friend."

Advice for having a dog in a wedding:

"Be patient and make sure to have lots of treats!"

Favourite memory from the day:

"Watching Pepper steal a piece of wedding cake."

 

 

The Pet Wedding Planner
If your wedding wouldn’t be complete without your dog, this is the service for you

Veronica Silva of Malverne, New York was planning her own wedding when she realized just how difficult it was to orchestrate the involvement of her beloved dog, JakeBear. “Anyone that the pet owner knows and trusts is already involved in the event with their own specific duties,” Veronica explains. And you don’t want your guests to have to miss any of the festivities. 

Recognizing that other couples must be experiencing the same difficulties and dilemmas, Veronica decided to offer the service she wished had existed during her own wedding. Her gamble paid off. Pawfect For You, a service providing custom planning, chauffeur service, and specialized pet care for your big day met with immediate interest; she was clearly on to something.

Filling a needed niche intersecting weddings and pet care, Veronica eliminates the logistical difficulties that prevent many couples from including their pup in their wedding. Her clients offer rave reviews. “Honestly, all of our feedback is amazing,” Veronica says. “I love seeing a new review online and getting thank you cards in the mail. I love it when couples comment on how attentive and caring we are, and that we had covered all the details to make sure their day went off without a hitch.”

Specialties include pet transportation, dedicated on-site care, photo assistance (such as making sure your dog is looking at the camera), ceremony coordination, dressing the dogs in their wedding attire, and more. They hold a final coordination call two to three weeks before the event, so they know exactly what they need to do, where they need to be, and when. 

To date, Pawfect For You has worked on approximately 115 weddings and is “looking forward to doubling and hopefully tripling that number by 2020,” Veronica says. They have already expanded to cover the northeast from Boston to DC, with plans to further expand to Virginia and North Carolina this year. 

Their minimum package is $499, which includes three hours of their time. They also have a five-hour package and seven-hour package with the option to add on more time as needed. For pet parents, the cost is well worth the peace of mind and the memories (and photos) are priceless.

While Veronica loves all aspects of her job, the best part is “being a part of something so special as a wedding…I still tear up during vows, especially if their pet is mentioned!”

Including Your Dog in Your Wedding? Here are Veronica’s Top 3 Tips

1. Assess Your Pet’s Personality. “You know your pets best! Think about how they will do in large crowds. How will they do away from home? Do they tire easily? These questions will help you decide which parts of the event your pet should be a part of.” 

2. Provide Your Dog's FAVOURITE Treat or Toy. “Couples often forget this part but it’s very important. I always use the example that if I give my dog a biscuit, he'll take it, but very hesitantly. However, I know he loves chicken and cheese so if I want him to listen to his commands and sit still for a picture, I have to pull out the best stuff! You'd be surprised how many weddings we've done with chicken in our pockets.”

3. Don't forget the leash! “Couples often will go out and buy a cute little tux or tutu for their pet, but they forget the leash and then end up with their old ratty looking leash for pictures on the day of, or they have that ugly leash retractor in pictures. When you shop for an outfit make sure to get a leash that matches and will look nice in pictures.”

The Check List

When it comes to planning an event like a wedding, coordinating pet care is often daunting. Ask yourself: Who's going to hold your dog and make sure he doesn’t run off? Who's going to bring him back after the ceremony is over? Who's going to make sure that the dog walks down the aisle and knows where to go after? The last thing you want is to have to worry whether your dog is okay. 

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