Alexis
Beginner May 2022

Dogs in ceremony

Alexis, on June 22, 2021 at 2:32 AM Posted in Wedding Ceremony 0 18
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Hi all!

I was wondering if anyone has involved, or plans to involve, their dog(s) in their wedding ceremony? I have three dogs, but I think I'd want to involve just one of them. Is that mean of me? My Oliver is my first love, my heart dog, and it kills me to think about him not being there. He is 8, and I've had him since he was 7weeks old. We've been through everything together, and I'd hate for him to not be with me on such a big day. And one of my dogs is on meds for anxiety; I dont think she'd do well anyway. Anyone have any insight or tips for me?

18 Comments

Latest activity by Alexis, on September 12, 2021 at 10:49 AM
  • Piper
    Dedicated April 2022
    Piper ·
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    Hello Alexis. We don't have pets but my fiancé's sister has a dog and made him the ring bearer!
    It was funny, almost everyone laughed but at the same time it was super sweet!

    I don't have any pictures of my future sister in law's dog but I found these on the web , if you need inspiration:

    Dogs in ceremony 1

    Dogs in ceremony 2

    Dogs in ceremony 3

    Dogs in ceremony 4

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  • Alexis
    Beginner May 2022
    Alexis ·
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    Omg that's adorable! Was he well behaved during the ceremony? I'm just wondering what to do with my little nugget once he walks down the aisle. He's a small 25lb Boston Terrier, but he's active lol.

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  • AJ
    Super October 2022
    AJ ·
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    I thought about it, my venue is pet friendly but my dog is an Aussie so she’s super active, and I don’t want anyone to have to be in charge of her all night so we are just going to board her. You’ll have to have someone keep a handle on him or give him something to munch on to keep him busy for awhile.
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  • V
    Champion July 2019
    Veronica ·
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    We don't have pets, but I have seen dogs in two weddings and I think there are a couple of things you need to consider. The first thing is whether your venue will allow your dog to be apart of the ceremony. My husband's sister had her dog in her wedding, but her wedding took place at her house so there was no concern about if the dog was allowed. The other wedding I went to where there was a dog was my husband's friend's wedding. The friend's parents own a barn wedding venue so again it wasn't a concern as to if the dog could be there. The next thing I would consider is what will you do with the dog after the ceremony. My husband's sister just put her dog back in her house, but my husband's friend had someone drive the dog home which meant someone had to miss a portion of the wedding to do so which I personally don't think is very fair. Another thing to consider is your dogs personality. A super active dog might not handle being in the wedding well. He could end up getting overly excited and try running down the aisle as the person handling him is pulled along or he could easily get distracted by a guest and try jumping up on that person. Needless to say, I think it really depends on how well trained the dog is. Lastly if you have anyone severely allergic or afraid of dogs it also wouldn't be a good idea to include him. I'm not saying all of this to discourage you, but I do think you need to think everything through before making this decision.


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  • Alexis
    Beginner May 2022
    Alexis ·
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    Thank you for your insight! There is definitely a lot to consider. My venue does allow dogs for the ceremony, but they need to leave after that. My wedding is not until May, so I have time to weigh the pros and cons. I appreciate your input!

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  • KYLIE
    Super May 2019
    KYLIE ·
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    My friend had her golden doodle as her “flower girl”. I.e. a cousin walked her down the aisle and then immediately around the seated guests, where she was handed off to the woman who boarded dogs professionally, who immediately left with the pup before the vows began. The dog was also part of the first look—she was walked out by the boarder and included in some photos then whisked away by the boarder again.
    I think this all worked well because they specifically had a professional dog handler to manage all transitions and didn’t have the burden on any guests.
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  • Kari
    Master May 2020
    Kari ·
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    Our dog was our ring bearer for our elopement, but because we eloped (thanks Covid) we ended up not including him in our larger wedding ceremony when we had our wedding celebration this year because logistically it was much easier to leave him at home.

    I am really glad we included him when we got married though! We adopted him right around the time we moved in together, and my husband reworked his proposal to include our dog, so having him there was really important to us. Including him in the elopement worked well because my best friend (who is dog savvy and was wearing flats) handled him and the entire event was just an hour or so, so he was included and comfortable the whole time. If we had included him in our wedding, we would have needed someone to transport him back and forth, which would have meant finding someone we trusted enough with our dog but didn't like enough to invite to our wedding, or asking a guest to shuttle him, which would have meant they would have missed our entire cocktail hour and maybe more of the reception. Our venue was a farm so there were a lot of distractions as well.

    The most important thing to consider is the well being of including your dog. Is Oliver well trained? Is he pretty chill in new situations, noisy environments, and in crowds of people? Does your venue allow dogs, or are you willing to base your decision on venue on whether or not your dog can be included. Where would he stay before and after the ceremony? Who would be in charge of transporting him and keeping him safe? I love when people include their dogs in their weddings but it needs to be a good fit for the animal and the event itself.

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  • Natalie
    Super November 2020
    Natalie ·
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    My brother and sister-in-law had their cavipoo in their wedding. She had a dog-safe flowered necklace worn over her collar and walk walked down the aisle by the flower girl. During the ceremony, she sat on the lap of their dog-sitter. She was in pictures after the ceremony then went home with the dog-sitter for the reception. Our dog wasn’t in our wedding but was in our engagement photos. We had my mother-in-law come to the photoshoot to help with the dog.
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  • Piper
    Dedicated April 2022
    Piper ·
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    Yes, he (a german sheperd) was and is always behaved at all times because 1: he was well trained by my future sister in law and her husband.

    2: He was 3 t the time, remember that 3-year m-old for a dog means 21 for a human, so he was an adult LOL.

    He was handled by her brother (my fiancé), and didn't even run down the aisle m, he probably thought it was a normal walk lol.

    I agree with Veronica's advices, my future SIster IL told her bro, before asking to handle her dog, that she asked the venue's owners and all adult guests, nobody objected , it was a kid-free wedding.

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  • Allie
    Super November 2021
    Allie ·
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    Yes! We are having our dog in our ceremony. She cannot stay for the reception because they do not allow pets inside, so we are hiring a pet taxi to come pick her up, bring her to the venue, then take her home once the ceremony and photos are done and they feed her and make sure she's settled with going to the bathroom. We really wanted her to be a part of the day, so we decided that it was a no brainer to have all of this, and that way none of our guests are missing out on the wedding by having to drive her home.

    My FH's cousin also just had her dog in her wedding. She had a groomsman who was familiar with the dog walk her down the aisle, then she sat in the front next to the groomsman. We are having my MOH walk our dog down and she will stand at the front. Of course, both of these dogs I am speaking of are calm natured dogs, so they are able to just sit and behave up there. Keep your dog's temperament in mind and work something out that will work for him!

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  • Florida Marlins
    Expert October 2017
    Florida Marlins ·
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    I may be the lone voice here, and let me make this clear: I am a dog lover, dog owner and dog foster. I am not a fan of dogs at weddings as they are stressful, often loud, will take a poop on the way down, it can be very stressful. But each owner knows their dog so it is an individual decision, I guess! Smiley heart

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  • Alexis
    Beginner May 2022
    Alexis ·
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    These were my fears as well. That's why initially I said I would not be involving any of my three. I was just thinking of my one, and that's why I wanted to see if anyone had had any luck with doing this. I appreciate your honesty!

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  • Kari
    Master May 2020
    Kari ·
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    It definitely depends on the dog and the situation.

    Our dog is well trained (has his AKC CGC) and has really good manners, comes to work with me from time to time, and has exposure to new people and social situations fairly regularly. He's a Boxer mix, so quite active, but pretty chill as long as he's had an outlet for his energy. I run with him everyday, and the day of our elopement I took him on a longer than usual run to help ensure he wouldn't be too much of a handful later in the day. Even still, I had my best friend handle him because she grew up with Boxers and has horses and dogs, and she was wearing flats so had firm footing in case he pulled at all (which was likely since there were going to be so many new smells on a farm). If we had included him at our wedding celebration, I would have needed to drive home in the morning to run with him and bathe him, then find someone to bring him to and from the wedding and it just would have been a lot of logistics to have him be a part of our 15 minute ceremony and a few photos afterward. I also would have brought him to the venue a few times before the wedding to familiarize him with the environment so that it wasn't all new to him during our ceremony with music and an arbor with drapery and 50+ guests. Because our venue was a farm with working farm dogs, I would have had to coordinate all of those pre-wedding visits with my venue to make sure their guard dogs were put away before we visited. We also were going to have him on leash the entire time, not have a loose dog running down the aisle like some people do. He's a very good dog but his recall isn't 100% reliable and we were leaving nothing to chance.


    I would consider:
    1) Do you have someone who you can designate to be "dog keeper" at the wedding? This is someone who is comfortable handling your dog, who your dog is comfortable with and will listen to, and who you trust. This also should be someone that doesn't really have any other wedding responsibilities - your dog's safety and well being needs to be their top priority.
    2) How does your dog do in new and unfamiliar situations or around groups of unfamiliar people? If your dog is one that you can bring to a restaurant that has outdoor dining or you eat walk around a unfamiliar busy downtown area and he's fine, he might be a good candidate for a wedding. If new environments, busy settings, or unfamiliar people bring out the worst in your dog, then a wedding is not for him.
    3) Does your dog have some basic training? Does he walk alright on leash, will he sit or lie down on command and more or less stay where he's told? He doesn't need impeccable obedience skills, but if he pulls constantly and never sits still, a wedding is not the place for your dog. He also needs to be thoroughly housebroken. Not like 70-80% housebroken; like never has an accident indoors except in exceptional circumstances (such as if your dog is unwell).
    4) What will your dog's actual role be and what are the expectations for your dog during your wedding? For example, if you have an indoor wedding and the venue has tiled floors and your dog HATES tile, don't expect him to deliver your rings down the aisle. Your dog should be on leash unless his recall is very very good. Responsibly including a dog in a wedding requires a whole separate sub-plan around your dog. Is it worth it with the right dog? Absolutely. Is it selfish (and possibly dangerous) with the wrong dog? Absolutely.

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  • Alexis
    Beginner May 2022
    Alexis ·
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    Thank you for your insight! It’s definitely a lot to think about and a tough decision
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  • Jasmine
    Beginner October 2021
    Jasmine ·
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    My fiancé‘s dog is going to be our ringbearer and my nephew is also a ringbearer and he’s going to walk him down the aisle after that the venue does say that we have to put him in some sort of kennel or he needs to leave the property so we are putting him in his kennel in the bridal room until we leave to go on our honeymoon which is later that night and we are just driving five hours to Vegas with him. He is so spoiled he’s going on our honeymoon.
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  • Katie
    Dedicated May 2023
    Katie Online ·
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    I am with you! I love my dog, she's pretty well-behaved and I've had her since before I met my fiancé, but I don't think either of us will particularly enjoy having her at the wedding. She is very charming and delightful and would no doubt get everybody's attention coming down the aisle, but then she would have to go home and the logistics of arranging it all are more than what I want to deal with. She loves going to the boarding kennel so she will get to go on her own honeymoon and will probably like it more than if we included her!

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  • Alexis
    Beginner May 2022
    Alexis ·
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    Wow, lucky pup! Thank you for the input!

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  • Alexis
    Beginner May 2022
    Alexis ·
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    Thank you for the opinion! It's a lot to think about for sure.

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