Planning a pet-friendly wedding

If your dog has two middle names, a Facebook fan page and a weekly hair appointment at the puppy parlour, we’re talking to you. For those that can’t stand to leave their precious pooch at home alone on their big day, there’s good news: you don’t have to!

Pets are increasingly being involved in the wedding celebrations, and you don’t need to be a celebrity to pull it off.

Though our pet pooches are the most common non-human wedding guests, there are plenty of ways of involving your other favourite members of the Animal Kingdom in your nuptials, including horses and, of course, cats! Fish, birds and reptiles are a little more difficult, but you can always include them in your wedding photos.

From the sensible to the sensational, here are some ideas for incorporating newlyweds’ best friends into the festivities.

Image: Etsy seller RusticNaturalBeauty

Image: Etsy seller RusticNaturalBeauty

Puppy props

Engagement and wedding invitations featuring pictures with your fur babies can be a fun way to personalise invitations and Save the Date cards. You could also use chalkboards to give your pet pooch – or favourite horse – a voice as they walk down the aisle with an adorable message hung around their necks. These pics can also be used to customise table numbers at the reception.

Meet and greet

Puppies make a fantastic meet and greet host for wedding guests as, to, apparently, chickens! Just ensure, especially with younger pups, they’re not let loose to roam around and take a little nip out of your guests’ legs, and be mindful of guests who may be scared of animals. You don’t want your guests’ memory of your big day to be hours of terror! Much like homing pigeons used in release ceremonies at weddings to symbolise peace, love and joy, puppies come with their own message of innocence and new beginnings.

Cat wearing a tie at wedding

Flower dogs

If you don’t have a flower girl or ring-bearer, your pet pup could do the trick – and it’ll makes for the ultimate cute fest. Depending on you dog’s tolerance of unfamiliar faces and places, it might be an idea for canine companions to call it day after the ceremony. Too many sneaky treats are not good and too much commotion might cause them to flee. If you want them present for the reception, consider hiring a pet sitter.

Dog with wreath at weddingDog with wreath at wedding

Doggy bouquet

The size of your pet will dictate how feasible it is to carry them down the isle in a doily-lined basket bouquet. If your fully grown Great Dane is a little on the heavy end, opt to have him sit by your side to witness the vows. So you can stay in the moment without worrying about your pet escaping, hire a Pet Wedding Attendant. Yes, such a thing exists, and they offer comprehensive services including hydrobaths, transport, costumes, potty breaks, feeding and ‘waste’ disposal (all those things you don’t want to be doing on your wedding day!)

Dressed to impress

Dogs have been known to join the ranks of the bridal party and groomsmen front and centre, dressed in matching attire, of course. Cats are a little harder to dress for a wedding as they’re unlikely to get suited and booted without a fight! Bow ties, bedazzled collars and flower-clad leads are simple dress-up accessories that cause the least amount of discomfort and stress. Ensure that any floral arrangements are non-toxic for animals first, so be sure to avoid hydrangeas and azaleas.

 Image: Hilary Cam Photography

Image: Hilary Cam Photography

Don’t forget the photos!

Of course, as mentioned above, if you don’t dare attempt to wrangle your cat into a suit or can’t figure out how to incorporate your favourite fish into your ceremony, you could always include them in one or two of your wedding photos.

Image: Loving Legacy Photography

Image: Loving Legacy Photography

Before you get carried away with how Fido is going to deliver the rings on a velvet cushion tied around his neck, be sure to check when booking the venue if animals are permitted at the premise.

Also, when booking photographers, let them know your dog will be involved to give them ample time to prepare an animal-friendly shoot list. And knowing that no everybody loves Fido as much as you, inform the bridal party and groomsmen of your plans. After all, it would be a real shame if the Maid of Honour broke out in hives during the ceremony because of her allergy!

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