6 Tips on How to Include Your Dog in Your Wedding

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You share your wedding day with your friends, relatives, and even the co-workers you feel obligated to invite, but the dog is one family member that is often needlessly left out.

Your dog is your best friend and your child all rolled into one adorably furry package, and your wedding ceremony offers a great opportunity to have your canine companion share in your joy.

There are a lot of variables that go into including your dog in your wedding, however, and pulling it off will take some planning. Here are six tips to ensure your pet-included wedding goes off without a hitch.

Think Realistically

Whether you choose to have your dog as your best-canine or a furry ring bearer, he will have a big job to do. He'll have to adapt to a new environment as well as large crowds of people.

If your pooch doesn't respond well in social situations or distractions cause him to forget his manners, it may be best to keep him at home.

Decide on His Duties

There are several ceremonial duties that your pooch is more than capable of handling. Standing by your side as dog of honor, carrying the rings down the aisle with a plush cushion strapped to his back, or serving as a four-legged usher are all possibilities.

Give him an honored position during the ceremony, but let him take a break for the reception. All of that food, music, and partying will be overwhelming.

Check with Your Venue

Before you start planning out the details, make sure your venue will allow your furry friend through the door.

As pet-included weddings become more popular, more and more venues are catering to their canine clientele, but not all. Many venues have strict no pet policies.

Let People Know

There are some aspects of your wedding you can feel free to keep secret—like your dress or your favors—but the fact that your wedding party will be sharing the aisle with your fur-child should not be one of them.

Some people are allergic to dogs or afraid of them, and before you submit them to close-contact canine interaction, you need to give them a warning.

Designate a Handler

Your wedding day will be crazy enough without having to be responsible for the actions and well-being of your dog. Find a friend that is already comfortable with pet parenting, and they get bonus points if your dog already knows them.

They'll be in charge of making sure your dog makes it down the aisle as well as caring for his needs like food, water, and letting him out to the bathroom.

Practice Makes Perfect

It took a lot of practice for your dog to master the commands sit, stay, and roll over, and performing his ceremonial duties will be no different. Have as many dress rehearsals as possible to get your pooch comfortable with both his ceremonial garb and job. If he knows what's expected of him, there will be less chance of him going off script on the big day.

When your wedding day finally arrives, take a big breath, relax, and know that whatever happens, at the end of the day you'll be married with your four-legged best friend by your side.

Including your dog in your wedding has its risks, but with the right kind of planning and a flexible attitude, it'll be a day you, your guests, and your dog won't forget.