Dogs at Weddings: Here’s Everything You Need to Know

From how to schedule their pictures to how to get them to walk down the aisle.

Bride with dog

Dogs at weddings make everything better, don’t you agree? Photo by Jennifer Larsen

It’s no secret that we Philadelphians love our dogs. (Sometimes we love them so much that we sneak them into our engagement photos and put pics of their adorable lil’ snoots on every reception table.) While it’s entirely possible to include your dog in your wedding without everything going to the well, dogs, it does take some planning. Here, Ashley Summa and Ashley Holt of Conshohocken-based wedding pet service Here Comes the Pup offer their best tips for involving your pooch in your big day.

Use your engagement shoot to test your dog’s modeling skills.
This lower-stakes situation is a good time to assess your pet’s behavior in a photo session. “Hold the leash while the dog is positioned with you for under a minute per pose,” says Summa. “Then take a break, give them a treat, and repeat the process with different poses for 15 to 20 minutes.”

Come wedding day, keep your pup’s appearance brief.
“Dogs are really only needed for a half hour to an hour to capture photos and give kisses,” says Holt. The best time for this is during the first look or immediately after the ceremony.

Figure out who’s watching Rover.
This duty can go to someone who knows your pooch but isn’t part of the wedding party. (Think: uncles, aunts, and sig others of bridesmaids and groomsmen.) If everyone’s already been assigned other tasks, call in a service like Here Comes the Pup. “The company should require a meet-and-greet prior to booking,” says Holt, “to get a feel for the dog’s personality and grasp of basic commands.”

Tire her out.
“Burn off your dog’s excess energy with walks, runs and fetch a few hours before the planned appearance,” says Summa. She suggests assigning this duty to a pal not in the wedding party—
or a company like hers.

Have most-loved treats on hand.
Summa recommends packing “high-value” treats—the ones your dog really loves—to make sure your buddy pays attention right when you need her to.

Practice makes perfect.
If you’re planning on a flower dog or dog of honor, Holt says, don’t let the wedding day be the first time she goes down the aisle: “The person escorting her should practice walking the dog the length of the aisle and stopping multiple times—and giving her a treat at the end.”

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