Planning a Pet-Friendly Wedding: Your Ultimate Guide to Pulling Off The Pawfect Day!

Bride and groom holding hands in forest with pet golden retriever

Since Australia has one of the highest rates of pet ownership in the world, it is no surprise that Australian couples want their pets to be a part of their weddings.

And why not!

These little furry, perfectly adorable babies are with us all the time and love us for who we are!

Why would anyone want them not to be there amidst your family, friends, and loved ones as you celebrate the big day?

And now, thanks to professional pet sitters, pet-friendly photographers, and caterers, you can totally pull off a pet-friendly wedding. Here’s the ultimate guide that helps you break it down so you can check items off your list and plan that Pawfect Day!

Can I have my dog at my wedding?

That’s the golden question for many couples who are tying the knot. They really want their pet to be there, but it seems unfair to ask a family member or friend to keep an eye on your energetic pup for the duration of the event.

This is why, to pull off a successful pet-friendly wedding, there are a few considerations you need to factor in.

First and foremost is to start with hiring a wedding pet handler because they will make sure you don’t spend the evening worrying about your pet being hungry, bored, or overstimulated!

You certainly don’t want them wandering off and turning your guests into a search party! We also cover some tips to make your dog-friendly wedding a success.

Also, some of the more professional wedding pet assistants offer pet grooming services, as well as pick-up and drop-off to and from the venue. This allows the happy couple to focus on their vows and enjoy the festivities without worrying about their pup being bored at the wedding or home all alone.

The Importance of Pet-Friendly Wedding Service Providers

Opting for the right wedding pet services is crucial to pulling off a wedding party that you and your four-legged pals can both enjoy. For this, you need the right venue, décor, and a photographer and a celebrant who are as excited to include your pets in your portraits as you are!

Pet-friendly Wedding and Reception Venues

Would you prefer to have an outdoor wedding or perhaps an intimate ceremony in a beautiful indoor setting?

While both sound lovely, if you do plan on hosting a pet-friendly wedding, your first course of action would be to find a pet-friendly venue/ reception that allows pets on the premises.

And even though most outdoor settings tend to be pet-friendly, it is still recommended that you check with the venue manager first. Some may have their own animals or native wildlife on site that need to be taken into consideration. You wouldn’t want any damage or pandemonium interrupting your special day!

Not sure where to start?

A great idea is to ask your wedding pet sitter for some suggestions, or check out our online directory.

Some great pet-friendly wedding venues in Australia offer numerous services, so your fur babies can not only attend but also enjoy the wedding. From basic approvals that allow pets on grounds/wedding halls, to services that include expansive indoor and outdoor spaces that your pets can enjoy, and even pet-friendly dining areas.

Some even offer customized menus for furry friends, luxurious dog-friendly bridal suites, and even dog parks so guests can bring their pets.

So, make sure you and your partner are on the same page when shortlisting venues. Although, I will give you a heads-up here: Despite offering pet-centric services, most venues have the pre-requisite that a wedding pet sitter should accompany your pet at all times.

Pet-friendly wedding photographers

Are you always snapping pictures of your fur babies? Do you dress them up in cute costumes and fill up your phone’s memory?

If you answered ‘yes’ to either of those questions, you will definitely want someone who has the same passion for pets as you.

To make sure you get the best shots with them on your wedding day, talk to your wedding photographer first and let them know that you plan to include your pet in your wedding shots.

This will give them a heads-up and help them prepare accordingly. You can even request a shoot with your furry friend before the ceremony.

An experienced photographer would know how to capture the perfect wedding portraits with your pets and capture your bond. If you or your partner know the kind of wedding shots you want, coordinate with the dog wedding sitter and photographer so they can help you capture those memories!

Chocolate labrador puppy with floral collar and wedding rings on head
Including your pup as a doggy ring bearer or creating a custom floral collar is a beautiful way to incorporate them into your special day.

Wedding Décor to Honour Your Precious Pet

Adding a little pet customization to your wedding décor is paw-sitively the sweetest way to celebrate and incorporate them into your wedding day. From horse trinkets to customized dog wedding toppers, to feline figurines as table décor, any of these small ideas help add that touch!

Another lovely idea is to add custom-made floral collars and crowns for your pet to match the wedding décor.

But be careful and ensure that the decorations are pet-friendly. Some bouquets or floral arrangements can contain flowers that are dangerous for your dogs or cats. For example, chrysanthemums and lilies are dangerous for dogs and cats, respectively, whereas, roses and sunflowers are a safer choice. Your florist should be able to guide you in this area.

Have pets who may be too excited?

It might be best to avoid placing fragile items on the tables or in the general area, long runners, sharp décor, delicate sculptures, or even vases that can be accidentally knocked over by a passing pet.

Including Your Furry Friend in the Wedding Party

Once you’ve tackled the basics, get down to business and finalize how to include your furry friend in the party. Can your little buddy stay for long, or would it be too overwhelming in an hour?

Is it able to follow instructions and perhaps have a more involved role in the ceremony? Or would he be happier watching from the sidelines?

Knowing your pet and their personality can really help in making these decisions.

If you want to include your furry friend in the party, there is a lot that can be done, from ring bearer to best man to have their first wedding dance. Your wedding pet attendant could also give you some valuable advice, as they have significant relevant experience.

Designate Your Pet’s Role

First and foremost, if you want your cat, dog, or other furry (or dare I say it – slithery) friend to participate in your wedding, it is important to consider their temperament.

Can they follow instructions and learn to walk down the aisle? Remember, practicing in an empty hall may be quite different than walking down a hall full of people. Would your pet be able to handle it?

If yes, then plan away. But if you have doubts, make sure you have a backup plan.

If you own a puppy, you can assign him to be your ‘pup of honor.’ They can hold the flower basket as the flower girl adorns the aisle with flower petals, or they can even be the ‘ring bearer’ for the ceremony.

Dress up your pets in cute wedding outfits, but make sure they’re comfortable, or keep it simple with flowers and a bow tie.

From napkins to menus, and even subtle décor, like a cake topper, the options for adding your pet to your wedding are endless.

Managing Pet Logistics on the Big Day

Professional wedding pet services will help turn your dream of having your pet in your wedding into a reality. Your furry babies need attention and care—even more so at the wedding, as most aren’t accustomed to big gatherings, music, and you away from them.

This is where the designated wedding pet attendant will come in. Not only will they spend quality time with your pet, but they will also notice if your pet is uncomfortable or tired.

Talk to your pet sitter and let them know when to pick up and drop your pet back home so they can rest.

To ensure your pet is comfortable with the arrangement, do a test drive to the venue with the wedding sitter a few days before the event.

This will help them get familiar with the pet sitter, their vehicle, and the venue.

Some professional wedding pet sitters also offer services to take your pets on walks before the wedding to help them burn that energy, and then groom and dress them before bringing them to the event.

Find what works for you and your pet!

Creating a pet-friendly schedule

Create a schedule that keeps the needs and wellbeing of your dog, cat, bunny or other pet in mind. Take short breaks so your pet can relax and unwind from the commotion and celebrations.

Loud fireworks? Blasting music? Lights?

All these stimuli can be a little overwhelming for your pets.

If you have a cat, horse, or bunny, make sure you create a safe and designated space for them at the venue. The place or corner should have your pet’s favorite and familiar items so they can feel comfortable, such as their bed, blanket, and favorite toy.

You could have a separate dining area for your pet. Pet-friendly wedding venues also offer special doggy menus your furry friends can devour.

Common Concerns about Pet-Friendly Weddings

Keep in mind that pet-friendly weddings come with their own set of challenges. It is best to mention on the invites that your pet will be part of the wedding so your guests can know beforehand.

Some of your guests may have concerns about pets at the wedding so be ready to tackle them and know how you can accommodate guests who may suffer from pet allergies.

But with the right amount of consideration, planning and support services on your side, you can create an unforgettable day for you, your significant other, your pet and friends and family.

Remember, employing reliable and professional wedding pet services can help turn the pet-inclusive paw-fect party of your dreams into a reality.

And with that, you have the ultimate guide to pulling off the pawfect pet-friendly wedding!

Katrina Weir

Animal lover, dreamer and romantic. I love helping couples achieve their dream wedding with their precious pets by their side.

Looking for more pet wedding inspiration?

Look no further! Check out our latest articles and guides to help you plan the pet-friendly wedding of your dreams.

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