Yes, Your Dog Can Be Your Official Wedding Witness

Dogs are such an important part of our lives. They join us on all of our best adventures, whether it's an overnight stay in a dog-friendly hotel, an active day spent hiking, or a relaxing vacation in a dog-friendly city. Let's face it—everything is better with a dog around! That's why pet parents have started including their furry best friends in the most important day of their lives: their wedding.

I spent five years working as a wedding planner in Northern California. Helping couples plan their big day from beginning to end was so rewarding, but one of my favorite parts was when they chose to include their pets. I saw pups act as ring bearers, flower girls, and even groomsmen! bridesmaids. There is nothing cuter than a fur baby dressed in formal attire while celebrating their pet parents! Now, some couples are taking their pet's position in the ceremony one step further. That's right: They're using their dogs as wedding witnesses. If you want a dog of honor, read on to find out where this is legal and how it works.

States That Allow Dog Wedding Witnesses

dog sits with wedding couple

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Believe it or not, dogs have been allowed as wedding witnesses for many years. In fact, 23 states and the District of Columbia don't require witnesses at all and allow signatures on your marriage license to be by paw or hand. Specifically, the states that allow dogs to sign as a witness are as follows:

  • Alabama
  • Arkansas
  • California
  • Colorado
  • Connecticut
  • Florida
  • Hawaii
  • Idaho
  • Iowa
  • Maryland
  • Massachusetts
  • Mississippi
  • Montana
  • Nevada
  • New Hampshire
  • New York
  • Ohio
  • Pennsylvania
  • South Carolina
  • South Dakota
  • Tennessee
  • Texas
  • Vermont
  • Virginia
  • West Virginia
  • Washington, D.C

The states that require a single witness—including California, Iowa, Nevada, New Jersey, New York, and South Dakota—will allow your pet to take on the responsibility.

Couples who want to elope can choose to only have their pet present with them, making for an awesome way to keep your special day just about you and yours. All your dog needs to do is dip their paw in an ink pad and drop that paw print onto your marriage certificate.

If you want to take it a step further and have the adventure elopement of your dreams set in one of our beautiful state or national parks, a few states even allow your pup to be a wedding officiant. Some states' marriage laws also allow for self-solemnizing, which means you do not need an ordained minister to marry you.

If you are looking for easy wedding planning and an incredibly intimate ceremony, this may just be the way to go. Add a wedding photographer for the cutest photos of you, your fiancé, and your best dog. Just double-check to make sure your furry best friend is allowed in the venue you choose to hold your nuptials!

Was your dog at your wedding? Tell us on our Wide Open Pets Instagram!

READ MORE: 6 Tips on How to Include Your Dog in Your Wedding