You want your dog at your wedding. Now what?

My husband and I were married on August 12, just a few short months ago.  A year prior, we had both taken on another big life event. We adopted a German Shepherd rescue puppy, Greta, who immediately took over our hearts and lives.  We quickly adapted into the role of homebodies, when we had previously been thrill seekers.  Any excuse to get away was quickly replaced with a desire to lay low in our city condo with our dog.  Our neighborhood is extremely dog friendly, and we had never experienced this first hand before having a dog of our own.  Saturday morning Starbucks strolls and evening wine-and-dines on restaurant patios became the norm – with our dog.

When we began planning our wedding, we knew that it would be ideal, but probably not practical, if we could incorporate Greta into our day.  But how?  She is far from a service dog, so she wasn’t coming to our service.  Far too risky.  But were there any elements where she could be present?  Photos?  We’d love to have her in some.

We learned that the engagement photo session is a practice trial for your big day – and this would be the perfect time to incorporate Greta into some pictures and see how it goes.  Keyword: Some (not all).  But we had to figure out what to do with her when she wasn’t in the pictures.  There was a search process involved and we were lucky enough to find a friend of a friend who was willing to walk Greta nearby while we took photos with our photographer.  Our photographer seemed so impressed and grateful that we had the foresight and actualized this idea; which became increasingly necessary when we changed locations.

Everything went so smoothly.  Could we do it again on our wedding day?

The answer?  Yes.  And we did.  But it was not as seamless, because it is a very long day.  We did a First Look – where she was present.  We did some post-ceremony garden pics – and again, she was present.  And then she lingered around our reception venue, post-dinner. (Sidebar: Our reception venue had the most amazing staff ever.)  But, my husband and I had to utilize multiple friends to help.  We both look back and are still amazed at how well it went – but we had to stay very much engaged with certain people, and we needed our phones to coordinate handoffs with folks between the key moments.

If you are considering having your pet(s) present on your big day, don’t allow yourselves to become so overwhelmed with the planning that you scrap the idea. You CAN have your pet there.  But remember: Whoever handles them, taxis them around, brings them home, etc. may miss out on important moments.

Hire someone not in the bridal party to care and love for your pet on such a momentous weekend.

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