I'm a huge dog lover. My husband and I are the proud parents of two big ol' lab mixes, Huck and Bo. In fact, they're both staring at me right now as I draft this post :) The point is, like most people I know, their dogs are more than just pets, their our children, part of our family, and we couldn't imagine not including them in our wedding day. But how? With as much craziness that takes place on your wedding day, how on Earth do you coordinate someone to babysit your favorite pooch and make sure they make it to the ceremony on time? Well, the crew at Dog Tired, an amazing Doggie Daycare and Pet Sitting company on Johns Island (I should know, my boys love them!), knows exactly what to do. Gray Moore of Dog Tired suggests, "First and foremost, hire a trained pet professional to handle your dog. Not only will this lift the burden off a family member or other wedding guest, but a professional will also ensure the safety and comfort of your pet. For peace of mind, your dog will be brought to the venue and taken home by the handler designated to care for your dog throughout the day." Not only will pet handlers jump in for smaller projects - like your Save the Date or Engagement photos, but they'll also help if you'd like for your furry friend to act as the ring bearer or greeter at the ceremony. "By hiring a professional, says Cassandra of Dog Tired, "you alleviate any stress or hassle, so it really is as simple as having your buddy there while you, your friends and your family still get to enjoy the day and know that they are in well-trained hands." ...and that's just how we like it!
To help our Lowcountry Brides as they consider their options, the Dog Tired crew has put together some helpful tips for including your dog in your wedding day:
1. Meet with your handler ahead of time to ensure a positive relationship between your dog and the person they will be spending the day with. Your handler should provide a free consultation and a written contract once details have been determined.
2. Make sure the venue is pet friendly. Don’t be afraid to inquire about any options available. Most churches and some venues will not allow dogs inside, but can make other accommodations for your special day. Although your pup may not be allowed indoors, you may still be able to have a photography session outside. Always ask!
3. Arrange for a bath, or groom if needed, prior to the event. You will be looking your best and your dog should too!
4. If your dog is going to be a participant in the actual ceremony, do a test run. Have your handler bring the dog to the rehearsal so they familiarize themselves with their surroundings and what is expected of them.
5. Let your photographer know in advance, and look up photos online where others have included their pets so you can give them ideas about certain shots you would like to have taken. They should be aware that you will be having your pup in the photos and schedule those sets to be done first, before any others in that session. That way your dog’s part will be finished quickly and he can rest, get hydrated, and have a potty break instead of waiting for his turn. This ensures the continued safety and comfort of your dog.
6. Finally, have fun with it! Talk with your wedding planner or florist about a having a special collar or outfit made. Just as every wedding is different, your dog’s role can be customized to your big day. You can do anything from a flowered collar to pearls and a tutu! At minimum, have a good collar and leash that will compliment your wedding party’s attire for the photos. A nice leather collar and matching leash is always a classic choice that will ensure a timeless look.