Including Your Dog in Your Wedding

One of the most popular wedding ceremony trends in recent years has been including the family pet in the wedding day fun. There is something sweet to be said about a cute little tail wagging alongside the couple as they celebrate their “I Do’s.”

Having your pet as a part of your wedding takes some pre-planning. Victoria Stilwell of “It’s Me or The Dog” offers the follow advice:

1. Ask if your dog has what it takes. Weddings can be stressful and overwhelming for a dog that does not adapt well to new environments or is uncomfortable around strangers. Sociable dogs that are outgoing and friendly often cope better with the extra attention they are likely to receive. If your dog is shy and uncomfortable around people, leave him at home where he is safe and secure.

2. Decide what part of the ceremony you would like your dog(s) to attend. Involve your dog in the ceremony but not the reception, as receptions tend to be overwhelming — especially those with an extensive guest list and loud music.

3. Check first to make sure that the venues you choose for your wedding allow dogs. Many have a strict no pet policy.

4. Make sure that you tell your bridesmaids or groomsmen of your intentions before the day. Many people are allergic to dogs, so giving them ample warning will help them prepare if they suffer from allergies.

5. What role is your dog going to play at your wedding? Whether she is the ring bearer or the hound of honor, start preparing early for the tasks she is going to do during the ceremony.

6. Designate a handler that will be with your dog at all times throughout the ceremony. This will relieve any pressure you might feel to make sure that your dog behaves properly.

7. Rehearse as much as you can with your dog before the big day and leave ample time to practice during the actual rehearsal so that your dog (and his or her handler) knows exactly what to do and when to do it.

8. Take a trip to the grooming parlor or wash and groom your dog at home so that he looks and smells good on the big day.

9. Ensure that your dog is well-controlled around your guests. A jumping dog will not be appreciated. If your dog has a tendency to jump up, take time well before the day to teach him an alternative behavior, such as greeting a person by sitting and giving his paw rather than jumping up. If his excitement level is too high, he might find it hard to control his impulses — in which case, keep him leashed and controlled at all times.

10. Do not forget to include your dog in some wedding pictures!

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