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Including Your Dog in Your Wedding

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Would you like to include your dog in your wedding day? According to John D’Ariano, President of NAPPS, the only national nonprofit trade association of professional pet sitters, “It’s becoming more common for couples to customize their wedding parties to include family, friends, and furry companions.”

A beautifully dressed dog acting as a ring bearer at a wedding. The scene is set in an elegantly decorated wedding venue, with the dog in the center of the aisle, wearing a small, sophisticated tuxedo or formal vest, designed specifically for dogs. Attached to the dog's collar or vest is a small, secure pouch or a cushion carrying the wedding rings. The wedding setting is adorned with floral arrangements and soft, romantic lighting, creating an enchanting and elegant atmosphere. The dog looks proud and excited, adding a touch of charm and personality to the special day.

Is Your Dog Wedding-Ready?

Before going too far with your wedding plans, first consider your dog’s personality. Be sure your dog’s energy level matches that of your ceremony.

Shy dogs might handle small wedding parties but not grand galas; energetic dogs might have difficulty sitting through the ceremony without stealing the show.

If you’re not sure, schedule a private session with a professional dog trainer to talk about your dog’s needs and to start any pre-ceremony training—like teaching your dog to walk down the aisle as a ring bearer, one of the most popular jobs for canine wedding attendants!

Who Will Watch Your Dog?

Unless your ceremony is an intimate one with just a handful of guests, consider hiring a pet sitter for the day whose job is to attend the wedding and keep your dog safe and comfortable. The pet sitter can walk your dog as you dress and prepare for the ceremony, then attend the wedding ceremony and watch your dog for any signs of discomfort (and tend to your dog in case he starts to bark, whine or wander during the ceremony).

At the reception, the sitter can keep an eye out to make sure your dog doesn’t snag a tray of chocolate-covered strawberries or, if your dog is tired from the day’s festivities, sit with him in your hotel room as you turn your attention to your wedding guests.

NAAPS has these tips for brides considering including their dog in their special day:

  • Consider your pet’s behavior. Is he obedient and well behaved? Will your pet feel comfortable around your guests?
  • Confirm with your ceremony facility that pets are welcome.
  • Don’t jeopardize style for safety. If you plan to accessorize your pet with wedding day attire, be sure it fits properly and does not create discomfort for your pet.
  • Inform guests that your pet will be participating in the ceremony. Doing so will prepare those with pet allergies.
  • Notify your photographer to capture your pet in action. You’ll want to remember the moment he walked down then aisle or she sat pretty with the wedding party.
  • Hire a Pet Sitter for After the Ceremony. When the ceremony concludes, brides and grooms can give their guest of honor an after party of his own by hiring a professional pet sitter for the duration of the wedding reception. This will allow the newlyweds the time and flexibility they need to socialize with their guests, without neglecting the needs and comfort of their pet.
  • Assist Guests with Their Own Pets. NAPPS reminds couples to include a link to on their wedding website, in order to also help traveling guests make arrangements for their pets.

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Paris Permenter
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