Loyal, protective, faithful, fun and such a cutie - no sorry, I’m not describing my perfect man; I’m actually talking about my dog, Ted! In fact, I think so many of us dog owners would choose these words to describe their furry friend that it’s no wonder so many couples are choosing to make their dogs part of their wedding day.
So would I have my dog at my wedding? Well, everyone who knows me knows that Ted pretty much comes everywhere with me and I completely adore him. Being a very sociable Bichon Frise who loves people, I know he’d be in his element. However, as much as I’d want him to part of such a special day, it’s important to seriously think whether it would be in your dog’s best interest. After all, not every dog loves to party as much my boy!
Let’s face it, your dog’s personality and well-being is by far the most important factor when considering whether he or she should be part of your wedding. If your pooch is shy or timid, it wouldn’t really be fair to expect them to cope at a large wedding. Equally, if you have a playful pup, you need to consider whether they would behave (I suddenly have visions of a guilty looking dog with cake all around his face!). Don’t forget to consider any phobias you dog may have; if they are scared of loud noises, make sure you’re not ending the evening with a firework display or that the disco wouldn’t be too much for them.
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On a serious note, if you have children attending your special day and you know your pup isn’t keen on little people, it would not be worth the risk to have them there. Even if your dog is good natured, please make sure your dog has someone with them at all times if children are present. A dog cannot tell you if they have a toothache or are feeling off and children can easily be a little too boisterous. As much as my Ted adores children and I trust him as much as anyone can trust a dog, I would never ever leave him unattended with any child.
A wedding day is often a long day so consider only having your pooch there for a short period, such as just for the ceremony and photos. If you really want your dog to be part of the entire day, it needs to be one of the first considerations as it will dictate where you can hold your special day since the majority of venues will just not allow animals in the premises. Generally, your choices will be limited to an outdoor wedding, marquee or tepee.
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If distance is an issue or you want your dog to be part of the whole day, you will need to appoint a friend, relative or hire a professional doggy-sitter to take care of your pooch. You and your immediate family will be far too busy to worry about toilet breaks and ensuring Great Auntie Mavis isn’t secretly sneaking your furry friend too many sausage rolls!
Since it’s unlikely that your dog will be familiar with the venue, setting up a quiet corner with a blanket, a favourite toy and access to food and water will help to make them feel safe and give some familiarity. It’s also advisable to give your sitter a portable water bottle to ensure he or she has a drink to hand at all times.
Amid all the wedding preparations, don’t forget to book in your dog’s grooming session; after all, you’ll want your pooch looking picture-perfect. Speaking from experience, if your dog has a light coat that beautiful just-groomed look disappears within a few days (or hours in Ted’s case!) so it may be best to appoint someone to take them to the groomer as close to your big day as possible!
If it just isn’t possible for your faithful to be at your wedding, it doesn’t mean they can’t be part of it. Consider having an engagement shoot with your dog and using the photos on your invitations, table settings or thank you cards so they can still play a role in one of the most important days of your life.
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