Many of our families often include feathery or four-legged furry friends too. So, isn’t it only right that they are also included in our wedding day? After all, this is usually the most special occasion of our lifetime, and wouldn’t it be incomplete without these adorable little members
Although you can easily accommodate your pets into your wedding plans, how you do it would depend on several factors. The extent of involvement would also affect the preparations and plans. Whether you want them there as honorable guests, or in a more active role (I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve seen dogs play the role of adorable ring-bearers and groomsmen!) is up to you. But, before you do, here are some things to consider.
1.Does your venue allow pets?
Not all venues admit pets. So, this is an important factor to consider, if you must have your pet in your wedding. Check with the venue if it is an important factor, before booking it or paying the deposit, so you needn’t be disappointed later. If the venue you like doesn’t allow pets, either look at other venues, or think of whether you would rather include them in the wedding without them actually being there. More on that later!
2.Will your pet be comfortable in the setting?
Not all pets are calm, well-trained and happy in crowds. So, think about this factor. If your pet is always well-behaved, irrespective of the setting he is in, you may have no trouble giving him an important role in your wedding. If he is boisterous fellow who is easily excited or aggressive in crowded places, or becomes unhappy and withdrawn around loud music or children, you may like to have him participate as an onlooker. Since you will have a busy time on your wedding day, and may not be able to stay with him if he becomes uncomfortable, make sure you hire a pet-sitter or have a family member take care of him.
3.Think of the comfort and safety of both your pet and your guests
Your pet may be uncomfortable in certain settings. Unless your pet is used to crowds before, or has been in a similar setting previously, you really cannot predict how he will behave on your wedding day. Or it could be that you have wedding guests who are intimidated by animals. So, it is always recommended to prepare for any likely situation. Make sure your pet is well-cared for and nobody gets an opportunity to tease or taunt it and frustrate it. Also, let your guests know in advance about your pet’s participation, so they can plan accordingly. Putting a note about it on your wedding website, should be enough. In the best interests of both parties, it is wise to keep your animal on a leash on the day, so you can avoid any untoward accidents.
4.How will you care for him
Like we said earlier, you will have a lot going on, and it is simply impractical to tend to your pet during the chaos. So, you should make arrangements for his care during the day. Hiring a pet-sitter is the best option. This person can stay close to him throughout the day, make sure he gets his food on time, is kept away from guests, take care of his toilet needs and take him home when it is time. It is a good idea to hire this person early, so your pet gets used to him or her and is comfortable in time for your wedding day.
5.Make sure there isn’t anything that disturbs your pet
Some flowers are toxic to animals, and without you around to supervise, the risk of your animal coming in contact with it or ingesting it is higher. Keep it safe by avoiding such flowers and ingredients in your décor and menu, so your beloved pet isn’t in trouble. Similarly, make sure that he is kept away from loud noise that can hurt his ears, or from the dessert tray that he may try to stick his paws in! On a similar note, if you plan to dress your pet in a special wedding outfit, make sure it is comfortable for him. If he isn’t happy with the idea of wearing it, outfit him in a smaller accessory like an ornate collar or bow tie instead.
You cannot always predict how your pet will behave in the given situation. So, be prepared for it if he decides to ditch your plans. Even if you have planned an important role for your pet, like that of the ring bearer, make sure that you have a Plan B, in case he isn’t up for it at the crucial moment. Don’t be disappointed, rather consider yourself lucky if he obliges with your wishes and gets that far without any issues.
Now, once you have taken care of the above mentioned factors, let us move on to the different ways in which you can include your furry friend in your wedding.
The most popular, yet one of the most difficult to implement. If your pet is an obedient, charming fellow who won’t be affected by the change in scenery, and obeys instructions, you can honor him with the role of ring bearer. However, don’t risk any chances by giving him the actual ring. As this article on the Huff Post mentions, it is better that the best man hold the real ring, but your pet carry a faux ring down the aisle, just for the effect. Make sure you get him to practice walking down the aisle with the ring, several times before the actual day, so he isn’t flustered when it is time.
Groomsman or bridesmaid
An extra groomsman is hardly ever a problem, and in fact, it is the perfect role that allows your pet to share the stage with you. Designate a spot for him with the rest of the groomsmen, preferably towards the end of the line, where he can hang out and see the ceremony. If your furry friend is a female, you can have her join the bridesmaids line. Dress up your pet in a tux or skirt, only if he or she is comfortable in the outfit. Otherwise, it is best to add an accessory that doesn’t overwhelm the animal.
One of the safest options for your pets to be in the wedding, is to join in your photography session. Outdoor shots with pets are the best, as they usually relax and this allows for great pictures. Make sure your photographer knows that you will have your pet in the photo session, so he can plan the shots accordingly. You can take portrait pictures with your pet, have him in the background, or carrying props like a “just married” sign. In case of unexpected rain or glitches like a muddy outdoor area, analyze whether it is wise to spoil your white wedding dress while posing in the outdoors. You will eventually have to spend more time if you are to get the perfect pictures, when you are posing with your pet.
If your venue doesn’t allow pets, but you still want your beloved friend to be part of the celebration, dedicate the cake topper to him. You can either choose to have one specifically created to resemble your pet, or go for an easily available crystal or glittering topper design in an animal shape.
Display a portrait
If he cannot be there in person, you can have him there in spirit. Blow up a stunning portrait of your pet, and add it to a central location at your venue. Nobody will be complaining about how you forgot him, when you do this. Or, you could even add a family portrait, with the three of you in it. If you want to take it further, create a picture backdrop featuring him, and take your pictures taken there. It will serve as a good-looking keepsake for later.
Custom-created photo place cards, table settings or signage can be used to bring your pet’s presence into your wedding, even when he isn’t physically there. The alternative is to use printed stationery with animal silhouettes for an equally striking effect. If you are all into your pet, you can even have him included in the pictures on your save-the-date cards or invitation.
This is great way to give a little special attention to your pet, and you have so many different options to do it well. Have animal-shaped cookies or candies as edible treats. Animal print or photo key chains are other ideas. Or you can customize the thank you labels with the image of your pet, and tie it to the favors. Another option is to have custom photo wrappers for milk chocolates, with your pet’s picture on the cover.
How to train your pet for your wedding day
It goes without saying that you will need to prepare your pet in advance, for his role at your wedding. This is even more important if he has an active role at the wedding. Unless you practice ahead of time, he may shock you with an unpleasant surprise at the time, and you really do not need any more stress to handle on this day!
Here are some tips to help you prepare your furry or feathery friend for your wedding day.
1.Start training early
Rather than wait for the last minute to get your pet in action, it is best to start training him from the time you decide he will be in your wedding. So, if you want him to simply accompany you down the aisle, sit still throughout the ceremony, or even pose with you for your photographs, make sure he receives the necessary training well in advance.
2.Practice, practice, practice
Continuous and consistent practice of what we said earlier is absolutely essential to minimizing hassles on the actual day. First practice alone, then with a few people, and finally with more people. Also try to ease him into the new environment by making him practice in an environment similar to your venue location.
3.Do it in steps
Take it one step at a time, and finally get your pet to learn his entire sequence. So, if he is the ring bearer, train him to walk down the aisle first. Then teach him to hold the basket in his mouth. After he has nailed both, slowly get him to combine the two, so you get the desired result. Similarly, if your pet has to stay on the stage for a long time, help him get used to it by practicing for smaller amounts of time initially, and then slowly increasing the duration to the required length.
4.Use treats to get things done
From when you train them, to the actual day, use treats to ensure they are tempted to do what is expected from them. You can start off with lining down the aisle with treats, or giving him treats for every time they do it right. Then reduce the frequency, so it is easy to manage and he still keeps at it.
Although it isn’t easy to get all pets to get it right, you can still try and see if it will work out. If he obliges, it will be another unique factor that will make your wedding extra-special. If it doesn’t, you still know that you tried, and that is certainly better than not making an attempt at all. In any case, be flexible and don’t be hard on your pet.
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