Modern couples often move in together before they decide to tie the knot, so by the time they start planning a wedding, they already have a household that includes beloved pets. Cats and dogs are common, but snakes, iguanas, birds, tortoises, pot-bellied pigs and even horses could also be ‘part of the family’ at this point.
And couples who really do think of their pets as part of the family, increasingly, are looking to include their furry, feathery, scaly or finned friends in their wedding ceremonies. They can help create even more treasured memories of the day, so the idea of pet-friendly weddings is growing in popularity.
If this sounds like part of your wedding dream, then go for it. But first, here are 7 tips to consider:
Is Your Pet Up To It?
Some dogs, cats, ponies and other pets are natural showmen; they love to meet new people, and enjoy learning tricks to show off. If your pet is one of these, no problem; you have a charming ring-bearer or flower-beast to go down the aisle with you.
But some pets are incredibly shy around strangers, hate performing and get easily distracted. This is not a pet you want bouncing about unsupervised on a day when you have so many other details to check.
If your pet isn’t good with performing for crowds, you don’t have to cut them out of your wedding completely, however. Consider…
Would They Be Better In A Pre-Wedding Role?
Your engagement photographs, your save-the-day announcements and your invitations are all opportunities to pack in lots of family photos – and that includes pets. Just like with an online casino bonus, there is more than one way to be a winner, and if your pet has a perfectly photographic face but lacks social skills, capitalising on their cuteness in a memorable way is a great idea.
Practise, Practise, Practise
It looks easy in romantic movies, because the animal has been trained for months and has a slew of handlers just off-screen. Very few pets will be able to perform a ring bearer or flower-carrying role unsupervised, especially with all those new people and delicious smells to distract them.
You’ll need a leash and someone to walk them down the aisle, and lots and lots of practice runs. You’ll also need to try and get them to do their business before they do their job, as a poop in the aisle is not a great backdrop for any ceremony!
Hire A Pet-Sitter
Apart from making sure that your pet performs their role correctly, a pet-sitter can take charge of your animal when they aren’t needed, and look after food, water and downtime requirements while you concern yourself with more important details. They can also ensure your pet doesn’t get muddy and add some extra decoration to the wedding dress.
Check With The Venue And Wedding Suppliers
If you’re planning a pet-friendly wedding, the first thing you should check when considering venues, is what their policy is on animals. Once you’ve found a venue that has no problem with your plans, be sure to alert everyone from the caterer to the photographer, and make sure they don’t foresee any problems either.
Let Guests Know What To Expect
Not everyone is an animal lover, so make sure there are designated pet-free areas at the wedding where guests won’t have to worry about a sudden encounter with any beasties, and can enjoy your day with you anxiety-free.
Some people also have allergies, so you need to alert guests in your invitations that animals will be present, and what they are.
Make Sure Your Pets Get Downtime
Another thing to check when making sure that the venue will welcome your pets, is what facilities they offer to give your animals a bit of privacy. If the bride and groom are arriving on horses that then get taken back to the stables, all’s well.
But cats, dogs and other small pets can be stressed out in unfamiliar surroundings far from home, especially if they’re subjected to noise and excitement for hours on end. You’ll need a quiet area with food, water and toys, as well as a comfy basket for naps, where your pet-sitter can take the animals for a break when they’re not needed as part of the festivities.
The best part about having pets at a wedding is they don’t get drunk or make embarrassing speeches. They do however need to be planned for, and we hope these tips help!