How to include your pet in the wedding without going crazy


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WeddingDogsPlanning a wedding is stressful. Including your family pet in the festivities can send you over the top — but it doesn’t have to! Follow these tips if you’re one of the many pet owners who want to invite Felix or Fido to their special day — or put them in the wedding party — and you won’t have to be on pooch detail (or poop detail!) when you say “I do.”


Is it safe?

If your cat or dog is child-friendly, calm in a crowd and behaved (meaning she won’t poop in the aisle), she has the green light for sharing in your special day. However, if your furry friend crouches in fear when she’s around a large group of people or hears loud noises, you may want to keep her at home. Weddings are no place for a skittish pet. Instead, ask your photographer to set up a quick photo shoot before heading to the ceremony.


Choose a pet-friendly venue

Pet Sitters International, a membership organization for professional pet sitters, suggests checking in advance to see if pets are allowed at your wedding venue. Also, be considerate of wedding guests who might have allergies by alerting them in advance that a dog will be on-site for the ceremony. For outdoor summer weddings, the heat can also be a concern, particularly for dogs that are overweight, older or brachycephalic (short-snouted breeds, such as pugs). Make sure there is a cool place for the dog to rest out of the heat.


Hire a professional

If you already have a pet sitter, great! Ask them in advance to be in charge of your pet throughout the whole day and night. Just please don’t ask your soon-to-be mother-in-law to take your dog for a walk during the reception. Nothing good will come of that.

Keeping the pet out of the way of guests and making sure she has food, water and potty breaks as needed are important services that a pet sitter can provide at your wedding. None of your guests will be forced to be on “doggy detail” and you can rest easy that your pup is in good hands.

Pet Sitters International member Nicole Brown, owner of Miami Pet Concierge, has assisted with five pet-friendly weddings, with another one scheduled for October. According to a release, Brown’s services have included pet transportation, finding doggie tuxedos and getting the dog into his wedding attire prior to the ceremony. She also offers assistance for brides who want to practice with the pet during the rehearsal. Her advice for pet owners planning to include a pet in the wedding party is, “Practice and then practice some more.”

If you’re getting hitched out of town, follow these tips for traveling with your pet.

To find a local pet sitter to assist with a wedding or any other pet-sitting needs, visit Pet Sitters International’s official Pet Sitter Locator.