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How to successfully incorporate dogs in weddings

Virginia Chavez-Nelson is an avid contributor of words for the greater good (see: writer) and a fun-loving Phoenician by way of Argentina. With a degree in Journalism from Arizona State University, Virginia has more than 10 years of expe...

Taking Fido to the Chapel

You met, you wooed and, to top it all off, he's Fido approved. Now that you've said yes, you'll need those four sturdy paws standing by you on your big day. Incorporating your furry best friend as an honored guest at your wedding is becoming a new tradition for pet-loving lovebirds.
Bulldog in a tux at wedding

If Buddy plans on sporting a tux for your big day, there are a few things to consider before getting to the altar. Follow these tips for wedding day perfection with your pooch.

Check with the venue

First things first: If your venue doesn't have a pet-friendly policy, keep looking. Once you've gained approval from the selected locale, get the specifics in writing especially if the venue is making an exception for you and your pet. Sort out the specifics of Fido's role with the wedding planner, including the length of stay and who will be in charge of your pet during the wedding.

Secure a dog handler

If your pooch is well-behaved enough to play a role at your wedding, chances are he'll be fine on his own but even the best-behaved pups can act up in unknown territories and in large crowds. Take the stress off your shoulders and keep your pooch at ease by assigning a responsible guest to be the official pet-guardian. This should be someone who already knows and loves your dog as much as you do as they will be in charge of cleaning up after Fido and making sure food and water are never scarce. Have a plan for Fido's departure after the ceremony or reception. Whether your pet needs to go back home or to doggy day care, the pet-guardian is responsible for ensuring that Fido gets to his final destination safely.

What to wear

Your pet's attire should resemble the overall atmosphere of the wedding. A tux or gown for formal affairs, sunglasses for a beach wedding and maybe a cowboy hat for a country hoe-down. Shop around local pet boutiques and get creative. Remember, it may be your special day but that stroll down the aisle is your pet's time to shine.

Remember the essentials

Pack a wedding day essentials kit for your pooch. This should include a water and food dish, dog food, water, doggie bags, treats, toys and chew bones. Go over these items with the selected pet-guardian and make sure they are aware of your pup's feeding schedule. Give the pet-guardian tips on how to use treats and toys to keep your pet entertained and well-behaved.

Don't sweat the small stuff

Prepare yourself for accidents to happen. Your pet may walk the wrong way down the aisle, take a potty break on your uncle's leg or even fertilize the reception venue. Let your dog handler take care of the mishaps (and make sure to tip a little extra). Keep in mind, it's all part of the experience.

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