6 Tips for Including Your Dog in Your Wedding Day | St. Louis Wedding Photographer

If you’re reading this, I’m going to assume that you are equally obsessed with your fur-child. And, if you also happen to be wearing an engagement ring, the ideas on how you could include your dog in your wedding day are already swirling around in your mind. As both a wedding photographer and crazy dog-mom, I am outlining 6 tips for including your dog in your wedding day, so that you can make it happen in a way that fits your pup best!

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Assign a trustworthy sitter

As you can imagine, wedding days are busy. As much as we love our pups, the last thing a bride and groom needs is one more thing on their plate. I recommend assigning a trustworthy family member or friend (who isn’t directly involved in the wedding festivities otherwise) to take care of your pup. And, if no-one comes to mind, book a sitter! You are going to want someone that knows dogs well or knows YOUR dog well, so you can put that out of your mind on wedding day.

Give your pup an adorable role

Depending on your dog’s temperament and behavior, you may decide to include him or her in the wedding party! As the Dog of Honor, Best Dog, Ring Bearer, etc, your four-legged family member can walk down the aisle with the rest of your party! If you do choose to include your pup in the ceremony, the first step would be checking with your venue. As long as they give you the okay ahead of time, you can run with it! Remi and Kimber were there through the bride and groom’s first look (scroll to see that perfect moment!), but then went home before the hustle of the ceremony. It worked well!

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Have them on site for photos

Many of my couples decide to include their pups in photos, regardless of whether or not they are present for the ceremony. This goes back to assigning a trustworthy sitter to make sure your pup arrives on time, and can safely leave again without taking time away from the rest of your day. I always coordinate this with my couples ahead of time, so that it can run smoothly. They know exactly what time and which location their dog will be involved in photos, so they can communicate that to the sitter in-charge. Or, if the pup will be on site longer, we talk about where else they can be involved to take advantage of additional photo opportunities. Here is Remi helping her fur-mom get ready!

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Include them in the details

If you know that your dog wouldn’t be comfortable being involved in the wedding day, don’t push it. My beagle has a very timid, mama-only personality…so he would have been TERRIFIED. He made it on-site for a few photos, and then quickly went back home where it was quiet. But, there are other ways to include them while they are tucked in at home! Think about how you can incorporate your pup in your details or reception decor, so you can make your day even more personal to all three of you. Wedding favor doggie bags are super popular and easy to DIY. And, there are a ton of other little design elements that you can have themed to fit your pup— a cake topper, table numbers, signage, a themed signature cocktail, and more!

Coordinate their attire

I love this regardless of whether your pup is in the ceremony, just on site for photos, or stays at home! Floral collars and leashes are precious, and can be built to match your bouquet. Doggie tuxedos are also a great option, but if your dog isn’t used to wearing outfits, a simple bowtie collar is a great touch! My beagle is used to wearing bandanas, so we found a tuxedo bib on Etsy that we ordered to match the groomsmen! It hung in front of his chest, and looked perfect for photos! We even had this next photo of him printed ahead of time to display with his doggie favors at the reception since he couldn’t be there.

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Always consider their individual needs

You know your dog better than anyone, so just take the time prepare for the day beforehand. Talk to the sitter about the schedule and care details, pack a bag so that all of the necessary treats, toys, leash, etc is with them on wedding day. Go for a walk on site, so they are used to the new location. Let them wear their wedding attire around the house, so it’s nothing new on wedding day. Basically, you know how to anticipate your dog’s behavior, personality, and needs. So, do what fits them best so that they are present, comfortable, and as happy as Penny is while getting pets on wedding day!

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Shot by Chelsea serves Southern Illinois, Southeast Missouri and beyond with natural, authentic wedding photography. This is achieved through genuine friendship, constant support, and an all-inclusive experience. Visit our website to inquire about our services!