To us, our dogs are not just dogs. They’re part of the family. They travel with us, they sleep with us, they hike with us, and they hang out with us pretty much 24/7. If were were to do our wedding over again (and not elope), we’d definitely want them to be part of our wedding day. Realistically though, it probably wouldn’t be the best of ideas. Jake is now 16 and like his creature comforts, namely his nap times, not having to deal with noise, and snuggling up with his kitten boys. Shelly is 6 but every bit the wild child she has always been. While a certified Canine Good Citizen, we know her well enough to not fully trust her to not be distracted by a deer, squirrel, or skunk running by. I also know myself well enough to not relaxed if I don’t have visual contact with them while outside.
My couples, amazing people that they are, have found different ways of incorporating their dogs into parts of their wedding day that ensured they had photos with their favorite four-legged friends but also made sure the dogs had a great time and weren’t stressed.
I’ll never forget Lucy, Kat & Andy’s dog, who was just a complete doll. She was part of all the getting ready action and then retreated to her suite for the ceremony and reception but made a brief cameo for formal photos.
Chad and Alia’s boys are the kind of dogs one can only dream to be owned by. Fully reliable off leash, bomb proof to any and all distractions, they were brimming with excitement about the entire day. From greeting guests to running down the aisle with the groomsmen, they were front and center throughout the day.
Nelia & Dave’s pup was so relaxed, he fell asleep during the ceremony.
Tips for a smooth Vermont outdoor wedding ceremony with your dog:
- If you’re super confident like Chad & Alia, Molly & A.C. or Nelia & Dave and know for a fact that your dog is perfectly chill off leash, you have the option of having him/her do as they please during the ceremony (venue permitting). I still recommend that you appoint a specific “dog minder” who can sprint after your dog should he or she decide to venture out of sight (though keep in mind that I’ve been called a helicopter dog mom before).
- Not to keen on having your dog off leash during the ceremony? Walk down the aisle with your leashed pup and hand the leash to either a bridesmaid/groomsman for the duration of the ceremony. That way, they can’t wander off and will still be in the pictures.
- Don’t want to walk down the aisle with your parents, your dog, and your bouquet? 🙂 Have your ring bearer or flower girl walk down the aisle with your leashed dog and hand the leash to somebody in the front row so your buggle can chill and curl up during the ceremony.
Portraits with dogs are just awesome and so much fun. Talk about somebody who is always being exactly who they are, gentle leader or no gentle leader. Depending on their size, you can either pick them up ….
… or have them be on the ground and pose with you.
Some dogs will do best running alongside you or simply trot next to you while carrying their ball.
Leash or no leash, it really comes down to knowing your dog and your own personal comfort level. The photos will be great regardless.
You may want a more formally posed photo with your dogs or you may want a photo of them loving all over you … or both.
Your dogs may be willing to pose for a while or they may decide that you’ve been formal long enough and should be the happy pile of family in your photos that you are in real life. And that’s totally awesome!
You may also decide that as much as you’d love to have your dog be part of your day, they’d positively hate every second of it and would be much more comfortable in their own environment with a trusted dog sitter.
Kat – Kat Mooney Photography