Relationships are filled with milestones. After swapping “I love you”s and moving in together, the next logical step (if you’re a pet lover) is to raise a pet together.
Over the years, your daily routine has morphed. Now you take long walks during your lunch hour and spend nights snuggled up on the couch. You know, the one that you swore no pets would ever be allowed on.
You know you want a wedding that reflects you and your partner’s lives together. It’s only fitting that your pet plays a huge part in your wedding. Which means you’re probably wondering…
How do you include a pet in a wedding?
As a wedding photographer and videographer, I’ve seen my couples incorporate their pets in a ton of creative ways. Here are 7 creative 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, consider getting ready 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 sneaky ways 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 processional. 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.
I recommend that couples set aside some time to sneak off 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 ⬆️).
7. Include them in the decor
If your pets can’t make it to the party, sneak 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:
- Acrylic Bar Sign with Pet Illustrations
- Wedding favor *doggie* bags
- Pet drink stirrers—acrylic or wood
Want more pet-friendly wedding tips?
Check out these posts to help make your pets feel like a part of your wedding day.