For many of us, pets are beloved companions that share every day of our lives — good and bad. It is natural to want them to be part of the very happy occasion that is your wedding! Including your pet in your celebration is a way to acknowledge his/her importance as part of your family, and ensure your photos and memories include this special friend. These six tips for a pet-friendly wedding will help make the big day enjoyable for everyone on two legs or four.
Stay in the comfort zone
A pet-friendly wedding begins with considering how your pet (and any potential guest pets) responds to noise, excitement and strangers. An outgoing, confident dog that is used to groups might be perfectly happy in the midst of a wedding; a shy or younger pet with less socialisation could easily be frightened or overwhelmed. The best way to ensure your peace of mind is to make a plan that takes into account your pet’s personality. If you invite guests to bring pets ask them to consider their animal’s temperament and only bring pets that will be comfortable in that situation.
Hire a pet helper
Even the happiest, most social pet needs attention, water, and cleaning up after on a regular basis. Unless you want to spend your wedding day toting around doggie bags and a spare bowl, consider hiring a pet helper for the day. Ideally, this would be a friend your pet knows. This person can be responsible for making sure your pet’s basic needs are met, taking that stress off your hands.
Cater to them
When planning your wedding feast, make sure to include appropriate food for your pet and any guests. Feeding a dog (or cat, budgie, etc) cake and cocktail sausages is a recipe for an upset stomach. Plan to feed your pet at the usual times, and get in some extra treats for the day. For your pets’ health, ask your guests to not feed them people food.
Plan a retreat
Pets need plenty of sleep, especially older ones. Make sure they have a space where they can curl up for an undisturbed snooze. It is also important they have a space away from loud noise, as their hearing is far more sensitive than ours. Never keep your pet in close proximity to a PA, fireworks, or other excessive sound levels.
Don’t expect too much
Having a doggie ring-bearer might sound cute, but is your furry pal going to play ball? Unless you have a perfectly trained pet don’t expect them to do anything at the ceremony apart from be their sweet selves. Nor should you expect pets to pose endlessly for photos. If you’re including them in the wedding pictures get a few shots at the beginning then let them go with a friend or handler you can focus on the rest of the session.
Pets take emotional cues from their owners. Your good mood will spread to them, and if you stay relaxed and comfortable throughout they day, they will too. If you find yourself fretting over details, or getting in a whirl from all the excitement, take a breather, give your pet a cuddle, and you’ll both get through the day smiling.
Share your best pet-friendly wedding tips in the comments!