a white dog walks down a grassy aisle with a bride


Top 5 Tips for Including Your Dog At Your Wedding

When I got married in Colorado a few years ago, I included my sweet dog Chloe in the wedding day festivities. I remember many of my guests, family members who came from out of town, were a little surprised by this. But in Colorado, many of us wouldn’t have it any other way. Our dogs are our family, and of course they would be there for the big wedding day celebration!

Below are considerations for including your pet on your wedding day.


Image © Susannah Storch Photography

Top 5 Tips for Including Your Dog at Your Wedding

1. Consider you wedding venue.

Are dogs allowed? So many wedding venues in Colorado are dog-friendly, at least for the ceremony portion. Some of my favorite Boulder Colorado wedding venues that are great for dogs are the Chautauqua Lawn, the Lyons Farmette, and Planet Bluegrass. And in Breckenridge, the Lodge at Breck is a great, even welcoming visiting dogs on a chalkboard sign in the lobby. So sweet!

2. Consider your dog’s personality.

Is your dog outgoing? Does your dog like being included in events? If your pooch doesn’t love new situations or lots of people and noise, consider leaving him or her at home. If celebrating your wedding day with your dog is super important, you still have options, like including him or her in the engagement session, getting ready photos, or formal wedding portraits.

If your dog won't do well at your wedding, include them in the engagement session so that they can still participate in the celebration.

Images © Susannah Storch Photography

3. Consider your dog’s behavior and enlist a dog wrangler (or two).

Are you unsure of how your dog will behave? I was. My ceremony site was in a public space that is frequented by other dogs, and my dog was a notorious barker at strange dogs. But I enlisted a good friend/groomsman to be Chloe’s dog wrangler during the ceremony. Chloe knew him well and he is a total dog person. If she got out of hand, one of his duties was to whisk her away from the ceremony site. (By the way, Chloe loved being included and totally showed off on the big day!)

I also enlisted friends to bring Chloe to their nearby home to hang out after the wedding ceremony, since she wasn’t allowed at the reception. Make sure to take care of this detail. If having a friend do a drop-off for you isn’t possible, look into hiring a pet sitter. There are so many options in Boulder and throughout Colorado (as a quick Google search or Instagram hashtag search will confirm!).

Also, make sure your dog wranglers have a few delicious treats in their pockets. Enough said.

4. Include your dog in formal portraits.

Sure, he or she can be in the bridal party and family formal portraits, but I suggest including your dog in some of the wedding couple photos. It is easier to focus on your pet, and they are usually better behaved with less people/distractions around. You won’t regret this.

Your pet wrangler would be helpful for this portion of the day. Including details like who will bring your dog to you (and take them away) for bridal party, wedding couple, and family portraits (and at what time) will help everything move smoothly along.


Image © Susannah Storch Photography

5. Additional Planning.

Practice, practice, and plan, plan. If you want your dog to carry the ring (I wouldn’t suggest this with most dogs.) or walk down the aisle, why not practice? Take them to the ceremony site so they are familiar with the sights, smells, and noises. Include them in the wedding rehearsal.

And don’t forget to plan for grooming! I even included a floral collar for my beautiful girl Chloe.

a dog stands during an outdoor wedding ceremony
My dog Chloe looking beautiful during my wedding ceremony. She loved the attention...I think she thought it was a party for her! Thanks to Jenny O for this photo.
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