**If you already KNOW you are including your dog on your big day, check out my ways to include them here.

You would never dream of not inviting your best friend to your wedding, right? So what about man’s best friend? As wedding ceremonies become more and more customizable and reflective of the unique personalities of the brides and grooms who plan them, more couples attempt to include their pups in their big day. But before you finalize any plans to incorporate your dog into your wedding, here are somethings you should consider first.


Consider their temperament.

Before making plans to include your pup in your ceremony, you’ll want to make sure that they’ll be comfortable and happy there. If your dog is anxious or doesn’t do well in crowds or with strangers, perhaps bringing your dog along is not the best idea. In addition, if your dog is sick or ill, having them at your wedding may just be too stressful. On the other hand, if your dog is a friendly socialite, they’ll probably have as much fun and enjoy your big day as much as you do.


Is the venue appropriate?


If you have determined that your dog will do well at your wedding, next, you’ll want to make sure that the wedding venue is safe and appropriate for them as well. Does your venue allow dogs at all? Do they require an additional fee or deposit? If your dog is not welcome at your venue, best leave Fido at home.

If you’re having your wedding at a dog friendly location, make sure that it’s safe for your pup as well. For instance, it wouldn’t be wise to bring your dog along if you’re planning to get married outdoors in the high heat of summer. Of course, if your wedding venue is okay with having dogs around, but you’re worried it wouldn’t be best to have them around all day long, you can always have a pet sitter or family member drop by with your dog for a short visit instead.


How do you want to include your dog?


If you’ve determined that your dog would make a great addition to your wedding party consider how you want to incorporate your dog into your ceremony. Do you want you pup to simply be a guest in attendance? Or would you like them to walk down the aisle with you? Your pup would also make an adorable ring bearer.



Make sure your dog looks their best.


You’ll also want to consider how you plan to dress your dog for your ceremony. Are you going togo all out with a tux or dress or do you plan to keep it simple with a festive collar, bow tie, or bandana? Either way, be sure to test out your accessories before your big day to make sure your dog is actually okay with wearing themAND that you like the way that they look. Additionally, if your dog needs to be groomed, schedule an appointment close to your wedding date to ensure they look their best for your big day and any pictures! At the very least, be sure to bathe and brush them the day before.



Arrange for care for your dog.


Finally, you’ll want to make sure that your dog has plenty to do that day and is well taken care of. Hire a pet sitter or find a willing friend or family member to handle them for the day. Avoid the temptation to let them run around off leash.Keeping your dog on a leash with an experienced handler will help you, your dog, and your guests feel at ease. You can bring along plenty of dogs and fun to keep your dog out of trouble too.

Be sure to bring along plenty of food and provide water dishes. If you don’t plan on having your dog around for the whole day, make sure that home is close enough or that you have found a dog friendly hotel for them to lounge until you return. Finally, have a backup plan if things go wrong. If your dog is stressed, sick, or struggling at your wedding, be sure there is someone or somewhere that you can take them to keep them safe for the rest of the day.


What if I don’t think my dog should come?


After reading these tips, if you’ve determined that your dog would not make a great addition to your wedding party, consider other ways to incorporate them in your ceremony by bringing along pictures, including your dog in the decor, or incorporating them as a cake topper. Whether your dog is physically present at your ceremony or not, they are a big part of your new life together and should be there in whatever way possible!