If the New Year means wedding bells for you, congratulations! Here is one more question that might be popped while planning your big day:
“How can we include our dog?”
As a pet-friendly boutique hotel company, Kimpton has hosted more than our share of canine-inclusive nuptials. We’re happy to share some of our favorite ideas for including your BFF—best furry friend.
A Spot for Spot
The first consideration for a dog-friendly wedding is finding the right place. As they searched for a wedding venue in the Boston area, Jimmy and Scott wanted to make sure their Poodle-Pomeranian mix, Rudy, was a welcome guest.
“Some hotels made [including a pet] seem like a chore,” Jimmy says. “The Kimpton Marlowe Hotel made it very clear that not only was Rudy welcome, but they were excited to have him.”
Ask your venue if they can share examples of how they’ve worked with couples to incorporate their dogs into the celebration, and don’t hesitate to ask what worked and what didn’t work in the past.
Here Comes the Dog
Once you find the right place, it’s time to figure out how to include your tail-wagging pal.
Sasha and Chris got married at Kimpton Hotel Eventi in New York. “All our guests know how much we love our fur babies, Bella and Brooklyn,” says Sasha. “So it was no surprise that they were part of our special day.”
Bella had the role of flower dog, while Brooklyn acted as both ring bearer and best man. The dynamic duo walked Sasha down the aisle with the help of a leash-bearing groomsmen.
Other couples have included dogs in their wedding day “firsts”—such as the first look before the ceremony, and even the first dance at the reception. Dog loving couples have also been known to hand out bags of gourmet dog treats as wedding favors, and some animal rescue advocates request their guests donate to rescue causes as opposed to bringing gifts.
Depending on your dog’s nature, you might want to have a quiet spot he or she can escape to after the ceremony. Ask a pet-loving friend or the designated handler (see below) to manage any post-celebratory stress your furry friend might experience.
If possible, take your pup to the space the day before the event so they’re more comfortable on the day of the actual wedding. This can also help you see any possible trouble spots in advance.
Throw ‘em a Bone
Obviously, couples who welcome a pooch to such an important milestone do not mind sharing the spotlight—and the photo ops.
Your wedding photographer should be brought into the planning early so they can scheme ways to capture Posie primping with the bridesmaids, or Shaggy shooting pool with the groomsmen. Want to blow up Instagram? Set up a photo booth for Gizmo and guests.
Been There, Barked That
It’s all fun and games until “someone” wrecks the wedding cake. “Remember who your dog is and what they’re capable of,” advises Jimmy. He says that not inviting Rudy to the wedding “would have felt wrong and incomplete.” Still, mindful of Rudy’s comfort level, they assigned caregiving duties to their best man, who knew their dog well.
Which reminds us: you may wish to consider hiring or designating a “wedding pet attendant” to take care of hydration, potty breaks and managing the adoring masses.
If your dog simply can’t handle crowds, there are still ways he or she can be part of the scene:
- Custom wedding cake toppers in the image of your pet
- Signature cocktail—i.e. “The Maxtini” or “Nellie’s Negroni”
- Illustrated cocktail napkins
- Place card holder figurines
- Wedding favor koozies
- Custom pet pins
What to Wear?
Finally, as part of your wedding entourage, your dog may appreciate these top-trending wardrobe suggestions:
- Bow tie with or without a tuxedo vest
- Floral collar wreath to match bridal party bouquets
- Blue collar for “something blue”
- A fancy leash, or a simple one adorned with ribbons or flowers
- A full-body gown or tux if you’re in a “go big or go home” mood
As you dash toward your wedding date with your mate and your mutt, we offer our very best wishes for a glorious celebration.