TAHOE/TRUCKEE, Calif. — What better way to celebrate the union of two people in love than to include a cherished four-legged family member?
Pets are often an integral part of a couple’s love story, and engaged couples are increasingly making their pooches part of the ceremony, with adorable and heartwarming results. If your dream wedding includes Fido, find following tips on how best to have him there by your side on the most important day of your life.
CONSIDER YOUR DOG’S TEMPERAMENT
If your dog doesn’t like crowds, becomes nervous in new situations, or is very energetic, he — and ultimately, you — may not have the best time at your wedding. You may be able to work around your dog’s quirks if you find a venue that suits his needs, or only have him take part in the wedding for a brief time. But if his temperament really isn’t suitable for your celebration, it may be best to honor him in other ways, like including him in a special wedding photo, or crafting some dog-themed wedding accessories with his name or photo on them.
CHOOSE THE RIGHT VENUES
Make things easier on yourself by thoroughly researching your preferred ceremony and reception venues to make sure they are dog friendly, and suitable for your particular dog (a large or energetic dog in a small, enclosed space may be a problem, for example). Dogs are not legally allowed in restaurants due to health codes, and many other indoor places have a no-dog policy. Don’t worry, though; there are plenty of indoor and outdoor venues that will welcome your pet — you just need to dig a little to find them.
PUT A RESPONSIBLE PERSON ON DOG DUTY
You will be quite busy on your special day. Enlist someone — possibly a dog-loving niece or nephew — to walk your dog before the wedding, walk him down the aisle if need be, and watch him to make sure he has plenty of water and isn’t helping himself to tidbits from the dinner service, or being fed something he shouldn’t eat by well-meaning guests. If your dog is only going to play a small role in the wedding, you may also need someone to shuttle your pooch back home.
BE FLEXIBLE AND HAVE FUN
Like small children, dogs are unpredictable. No matter how many precautions you take, there is no guarantee that your pooch won’t try to mark something in the middle of the ceremony, become very interested in a guest’s perfume, try to sneak a treat from the buffet table, or simply decide he’d rather sit stubbornly than bring the ring to the altar. Be prepared to roll with the punches, and - whether things go off without a hitch or Fido insists on jumping in Great Aunt Matilda’s lap and knocking her drink over - know that your day will be more memorable and special because you included your dog.
TripsWithPets.com, founded by President Kim Salerno, is an online resource for pet travel, offering resources to ensure pets are welcome, happy, and safe while traveling. The website features a directory of pet friendly hotels and accommodations, airline and car rental pet policies; pet-friendly restaurants, beaches, and events; and more.