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Pets at weddings: Why the hell not?

by | 4 June 2018 | Couple

Pets are part of the family. So if your third cousin Mable’s invited to your wedding, why shouldn’t Rover be there too. He loves you as much as anyone, right. (Maybe more.) But what about the practicalities? 

Weddings are a logistical nightmare on the best of days, so how on earth do you add pets into the equation without inciting utter chaos?

Well, firstly: is a bit of wedding pet chaos so bad? It sounds adorable. Secondly, here are some steps you can take to get the pets in on the fun while causing minimal stress to you and your furry friend.

Whatever you do, check with the venue first

If you’ve made no mention of pets to the venue, and then you rock up on the day with three dogs, two iguanas and a parakeet, you’re not going to be popular.

Some venues are fine with animals. Some aren’t. Some venues actively encourage you to bring pets – although we couldn’t help noticing it’s mostly the venues that do their weddings outdoors.

It’s worth remembering venues totally have the right to say no. If they have carpets to protect, safety rules to follow or any other obstacles, they have very good reasons for saying ‘humans only’.


Be clear about who can bring pets and who can’t

Obviously, you’ll want your own pets there, but what about close family? If your parents’ dogs are as much family to you as your siblings, it makes sense to have them there too.

But beware the slippery slope. If word gets around that it’s a pet-friendly wedding, you could end up with a varied menagerie either side of the aisle.

Maybe mention it on the invites – make it clear what pets are allowed and not allowed. You can say it’s for the benefit of anyone with allergies or phobias, but really you’re just making sure no one turns up with a python around his neck.

Have a plan for the poop

There’s a lot of white at a wedding. So pet poop admin needs to be swift and efficient.

The bigger point here is to make sure that a) you know who’s pet-sitting at all times, and b) you have all the pet accessories you need for the day.

shutterstock_381086770 A deer stands next to the bride and groom

Know the risks of dressing them up

We’re not going to say there aren’t adorable outfits for dogs to wear to weddings. There are. But what do they think about it? If you’re a serial dog-dresser-upper, you probably have a decent idea of what kinds of garb your pooch is willing to wear.

But if you don’t regularly dress up your dog, you could meet some resistance. If that tuxedo collar is too itchy or tight or just plain annoying, he’ll be fidgeting and trying to get rid of it all through your big day. And that ain’t fair on him (or her).

Include them in the planning and rehearsal

We’re focusing on dogs again here, but let’s be honest: the vast majority of pets at weddings are dogs.

And dogs generally like to know what’s going on. Put yourself in their position – if you’d suddenly been plonked in the middle of a wedding day when you had previously no idea of what a wedding even was, it’s pretty weird. Everyone’s dressed weird, there’s continual switching between loud chatter, music and total silence. It’s just unfamiliar and strange.

So it’s best to keep your doggies involved from the start – including the rehearsals. That way they’ve seen the clothes, the venues and the wedding-specific behaviour before. And they generally get what’s going on.

Expect the unexpected

No matter how well behaved they are, all animals are wildcards at weddings. And the results can be hilarious.

This dog’s romance-killing shenanigans absolutely cracked us up. This article shows that even uninvited animals can ruin wedding photos with great comic timing. (We love the squirrel one.)

But the idea of incidents like these can either terrify or amuse you. If you’re the type of person who finds them amusing, then you have very little to fear at a pet-attended wedding.

shutterstock_297643880 Bride and groom with boy and girl dog

Have you been to a pet-friendly wedding? How did it shake up the day? Let us know in the comments.

About the author

Matt Phil Carver

Matt’s a copywriter and blogger from West Sussex, England. He spends his days helping people simplify their writing and give their words more punch and personality. At weddings, Matt’s always quick to get up and dance, even when the vicar’s telling him to wait for the reception.


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Couple Pets at weddings: Why the hell not?