Hey, I'm Chelsea.

I'm a Chicago wedding photographer and videographer who's on a mission to take the stress out of wedding planning, one anecdote, gif, and movie
quote at a time.

Alright pet people: let’s talk about how to include your dog in your wedding.

… Or your cat. Or your rabbit. Or your turtle… You get the jist.

You know you want a wedding that reflects you and your partner’s lives together. It’s only fitting that your dog (or any other important pet in your lives) plays a huge part in your wedding. Which begs the question…

Bride and groom take photos with their dog on their wedding day.

How do we incorporate our dog in our wedding?

As a wedding photographer and videographer, I’ve seen my couples incorporate their dogs (and other pets) in a ton of unique ways. Here are 7 ways to make your pet feel like part of your wedding (even if they can’t physically be there):

1. Include them in your engagement photos

As far as I’m concerned, pets are always welcome during engagement sessions. The best part about including them in your engagement photos? You can use family photos of you and your pet(s) in a bunch of different ways. I’ve seen everything from Save the Dates to framed photos set up at your reception.

2. Get ready at home

If pets aren’t allowed at your wedding venue or hotel, consider getting ready at home with them. You’ll get great candids of your cat laying on top of your tux bag or your dog trying to sit on the train of your dress (much to your mom’s horror and your amusement).

3. Wear them with pride

Think about how you can incorporate your pets into your wedding look. They can be blatant, like a custom pair of socks, special cufflinks, or fun pet earrings you change into during the reception. They can also be more subtle, like embroidery on your pocket square or tie, or a charm you add to your bouquet.

4. Have them walk down the aisle

If your ceremony site allows animals and your pet does well in crowds, have them be part of the ceremony. Dogs can make great ring bearers. But if you don’t trust them with that responsibility, they can just prance down the aisle (and steal the show).

5. Mention them in your vows

Whether you adopted a pet together or you became a blended pet family (à la Brady Bunch), your pets are a huge part of your relationship. Give a shout-out to your pets to make them a part of your day and get a few laughs from the crowd.

6. Take some wedding day photos with them

Pet sitters are your wedding day best friends. Especially if you want photos with your pets but your venue doesn’t allow them. Pet sitters will make sure your pet shows up exactly where and when you need them. The best part? They’ll be on poop + treat patrol while everyone’s dressed in their best.

If you’re someone that wants photos with your pet but the venue doesn’t allow it, here’s my suggestion:

Set aside some time to sneak off with your pet to an outdoor space near their venue.

That way you can take some photos and have some one-on-one time with your pup (just like Megan, Michael, and Walt did during cocktail hour ⬆️).

Just ask your go-to dog walker if they offer wedding day services. If they don’t, here are a few of my go-to wedding day recommendations in the Chicago area:

7. Include them in the decor

If your pets can’t make it to the party, incorporate them into the reception decor. I’ve seen it all—custom cocktails (complete with a custom bar sign), bar napkins, cocktail stir sticks with your pet’s face on them, cookie favors, a cardboard cutout, or a feature on your wedding cake.

Here are a few of my favorite ideas on Etsy: 

Want more inspiration for incorporating your dog in your wedding? 

At the end of the day, the sky’s the limit on how you can include your pet on your wedding day. For more pet-friendly ideas, check out these posts to help make your pets feel like a part of your wedding day.

A wedding photography and videography studio for personality-packed couples who want to remember the way they tore it up on the dance floor just as much as the way it felt to say “I do”.