It’s time to make the big leap into marriage, and of course, this is the time to have your best friends by your side – including your four-legged one! After all, he or she has been by your side for many years, and you don’t want them to miss out on one of the biggest days of your life. You’ve decided that you want more than just having someone there to hold onto your dog – you want to include your pup in your wedding instead! Can it be done? Will it work? Are there some easy tips to consider? If you want your special friend to be with you during your big day, read on for tips from The Pampered Pup on how to prepare and dress up your dog you’re your wedding.
Part One – The Preparation
Just like your bridesmaids and groomsmen, dogs need some preparation before the big day. Let’s look at some tips you can use to make it easier when for your dog when that day arrives!
Consider his temperament – There are plenty of roles your dog can take on when you want him to be in your wedding. It’s important to find the role that is right for his temperament. Does he know basic commands? Is he friendly to everyone? Your dog should be an adorable addition to your wedding, not an annoying distraction. Consider whether he can actually be in the wedding party or if he is better suited as a guest. Take into account his strengths and weaknesses before making your final decision.
Pick the role – Decide what type of role you want him to take on during your wedding. If you don’t think your dog can handle being in the wedding party, you will do better having him as a simple guest. Your dog could be a flower girl if she will be calm enough to walk down the aisle on her own. If your pup listens well to the “sit” command, he may do great as the ring bearer. If he’ll need some assistance, consider having him walk down with an usher or bridesmaid instead of on his or her own.
Check with your venue – Before you make any decision, make sure that the venue you have chosen for your wedding is pet-friendly. You don’t want to have your dog barred the day of your wedding, especially since you will be busy doing a hundred other things! Make sure that you also get it in writing to avoid any conflicts the day of your wedding.
Check with your guests – Once you make sure the venue is pet-friendly, check with guests to ensure they will be comfortable around your dog. You don’t want an allergic or scared guest to have to run out in the middle of your ceremony. An easy way to take care of this issue is to include your plans in your wedding invitations. For example, guests are already used to picking a dinner entrée on the return invitation, so why not let them check yes or no to being around dogs? This way, you’ll have solid proof that everyone is okay with your cute little addition.
Hire a dog handler – You and everyone else in the wedding party are going to be super busy the whole day. And while you may want your dog to be a special part of your ceremony, there really is no way to keep an eye on him the entire time. Your dog will need someone else to take care of him during the ceremony, the reception, and everything in-between. Don’t assume that others will just watch your dog- designate and compensate a specific person who can keep your dog calm and focused during the action.
Be realistic – Sure, you want your dog there on the big day. But are you being realistic about his needs and wants? It’s easy to be a bit selfish when it comes to a day like this, but you must decide whether your furry pup will be truly happy being a part of the wedding. A dog that has crowd anxiety or who isn’t used to being around people may make things worse. There are plenty of other ways you can include your dog on your wedding day that doesn’t involve him being a part of the ceremony. For example, he could get dressed up for pictures before being taken home by a dog handler, or he could greet guests as they arrive.
Practice as much as possible – The whole wedding party practices their roles for the day, so make sure your dog is part of every practice you hold. In fact, you can give him even a bit more time to understand what you expect of him! It’s a great idea to bring your dog to the venue before the actual date so that he is able to get a sense of the place. Walk him around, introduce him to the workers, and let him sniff away. He’ll be more comfortable on your wedding day if he recognizes the area.
Part Two – Dressing Up
If you know for sure that you want your dog to be in your wedding, it’s time to have fun picking out their own special outfit. Read on for some tips on how to prepare your dog to get dressed for your wedding.
The colors of your wedding – If your dog will be wearing an outfit, you will likely want him to match. Does your wedding revolve around certain colors? Look for outfits that match those colors. You may choose an outfit that matches the bridesmaid’s dresses or the color of the tux the groom is wearing. Is it a very formal affair? A dog tuxedo will look adorable!
The theme of your wedding – If you have a certain theme for your wedding, you can use this to dress up your dog. For example, a country theme will allow you to dress him up in a cute flannel and a cowboy hat. Is your wedding being held on the beach? Dress your girl up in a flowing dog dress. Superhero theme? Continue the fun with a superhero dog outfit.
Try it out early – You don’t want your wedding to begin with a dog that is freaking out over its outfit. Always make sure you test out the outfit before the big day. If your dog has trouble moving around or makes a huge fuss, then it isn’t the right outfit for them. And remember, never leave your dog unsupervised in an outfit as a precaution.
Keep it simple – There are plenty of ways to dress your dog up that don’t require a complicated outfit. Consider donning a fancy leash or collar, or make a personalized bandana made for him to wear. You can also find bow ties that will look adorable on a dog that doesn’t like to get dressed up. Again, let him try it out beforehand to make sure he is happy with your choice!
Pay attention to the size – make sure your dog is comfortable in whatever you pick. If possible, find and purchase their outfit weeks before the big day. That way, you’ll have the time to make adjustments if something doesn’t fit right.
Some Final Thoughts
Weddings can be stressful, and you don’t want to include your pup if you think he can’t handle it. When you do plan to go for it, don’t freak out if your dog doesn’t behave as planned. If your dog rebels in the heat of the moment, take it in stride. It’s normal for something to go wrong or to be off at every wedding, so “expect the unexpected” if you want your pup to be a part of your special day.