Tips for including your pets at your wedding
As lockdown restrictions continue to lift here in the UK (although at the time of writing, it looks like they may still be delayed a little), we thought we’d look at a popular subject, discussed by the Blue Cross on their blog: how to include your pets in your wedding!
As a nation of animal lovers, more people than ever are involving their pets in their big day, but the animal charity suggests that before you say I do in front of man’s best friend, you need to ask yourself a few questions first, to help you to decide whether it is really a good idea to bring you pet along to your nuptials and if your pet will be OK with the idea.
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Is it a good idea to bring a pet to your wedding?
Weddings can be seriously stressful. You may find yourself dashing around trying to organise everything and making sure that it runs smoothly – and for some of us, having our faithful friend by our side may be comforting - but how will your pet feel about it? You have to make sure you are doing the right thing by them too. Are you able to give them enough attention and keep an eye on them? If they pick up on stress easily it may not be a pleasant experience at all and if you want them to be present at the ceremony, it may be a good idea to leave them with a friend so that they miss out on any potentially stressful preparations.
The Blue Cross suggests that you should consider your pet’s personality. For example, if you want your dog to be a ring bearer or maid of honour, are they likely to enjoy the role? Do they get stressed in crowds or unfamiliar environments? Or will they jump at the chance to show off in front of an audience?
If you can’t imagine your wedding without your pet present, the Blue Cross suggests that a good rule of thumb is to have your pet present for no more than two hours – so that they get to participate without getting tired or stressed.
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A few more tips to make sure your pet is as happy as you are on your big day:
Choose a dedicated pet handler
Dogs in particular can pick up on your feelings so if you are stressed or nervous, consider how this might affect your pet and whether they might feel uncomfortable or scared. It may be a good idea to put someone ‘in charge’ of your pet for the day so that they can be present with you but are not your responsibility. Your pet will get that person’s complete attention and they will be there with you without you having to worry about them on top of everything else.
Check that your venues are pet friendly
Check that your ceremony and reception venues are pet friendly well in advance and make sure that they know you are planning on including your pet in the festivities.
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Bring your pet to rehearsals
If you’re going to be including your pet as part of the ceremony, make sure you bring them to rehearsals. This will give them time to familiarise themselves with the surroundings and meet your celebrant or vicar and the rest of the key players, rather than having it all sprung on them at once on the big day.
Tell the photographer
Make sure that your wedding photographer and videographer know that you are including your pet in the wedding. This will give them plenty of time to come up with some creative ideas of how to include your pets in the wedding shoot, rather than surprising them with it.
Mind the snacks
Weddings are generally known as a time of feasting and celebration, but this doesn’t necessarily mean that your pet should be over-indulging too! Make sure that your guests know not to feed your pet too many treats under the table. If you have a pet that is food-oriented make sure that they aren’t able to help themselves and don’t leave things lying about where they may be tempted to eat them. Some foods such as raisins or chocolate can be harmful to pets too - and your guests may not be aware of this, so make sure someone has a proper eye on your pet and what they are doing if you are distracted.
Make sure they have plenty of water
Weddings can be a lot of fun and your dog may get hot and thirsty working the crowd in the sunshine so make sure that they have plenty of fresh water to drink. If you’re hosting your wedding indoors, make sure they get plenty of toilet breaks too. This is something that can easily be forgotten in the excitement of the big day and you don’t want a carpet cleaning bill on top of all your other wedding expenses.
Choose pet-friendly flowers
If your cat is coming along to your wedding, make sure that you choose cat-friendly flowers for your bouquet, buttonholes and arrangements as some varieties of lily are toxic to cats. Also if you’re planning on dressing your pet with flowers or ribbons or anything else, make sure that they are non-toxic and that they aren’t impairing their ability to see or walk and that they are comfortable.
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What to do if your pet can’t come to your wedding
Weddings aren’t right for every pet. Cats in particular don’t always fare well in social situations or unfamiliar surroundings. Even if you know that your pet would be OK, you might not want the worry of making sure they’re ok whilst everything else is going on.
If your pet is too nervous to attend you could arrange a separate photoshoot in your wedding attire with your pet included. And once the big day is over, perhaps you can take them on your honeymoon instead? So many places welcome pets now, there are plenty of options for holidaying together and it’s a great way to include them in your ongoing celebrations and make some memories without stressing them out.
Did you include your pet in your wedding ceremony? We’d love to hear about it. Let us know in the comments section below!
Main photo by Gift Habeshaw on Unsplash