Easy, Adorable Ways to Make Your Dog Part of the Wedding

Learn the tricks to managing your furry friends as they walk down the aisle.

Easy, Adorable Ways to Make Your Dog Part of the Wedding

Photo: Heather Kincaid

A golden retriever named Gabe charmed the Internet last week when he served as best man at his owner's wedding. For dog lovers, the idea of getting married without their furry friend by their side is unthinkable. After all, they're part of the family! Since not every dog is as perfectly trained and well-behaved as Gabe, couples will need to think carefully about how they want to incorporate their dogs into their ceremonies and prepare for any potential problems.

Event planner Debbie Geller of Geller Events revealed that she's had clients who have used their dogs as a "flower girl" or ring bearer. Dogs can even carry the rings on a pillow secured to their backs! If your dog will be a groomsman, consider having him or her wear the same tie worn by the rest of the groomsmen. Don't forget to give your dog a floral-adorned leash, so they can be managed in style, Geller recommends.

Before getting too excited about including your dog in the wedding, check with your venue to make sure pets are allowed. "At some locations, like hotels and restaurants, it can be a health code violation to have your dog present unless they are a service animal," Geller cautions. If you are allowed to bring your dog, designate one person who the dog is already comfortable with, like a groomsman or bridesmaid, who can confidently manage him or her throughout the day. Alternatively, smaller dogs and pets who aren't very well behaved could be pulled in a wagon that is beautifully decorated to match the ceremony, Geller advises.

No matter how wonderfully your dog behaves at home, there's always a chance something could go wrong on the big day. "Even if your pet is generally well behaved, being in front of a large group can change their disposition," Geller says. "Make sure that someone is seated near the aisle who has been pre-assigned the task of removing the pet if something goes awry. That way, the groomsman or other wedding participant can stay present."

Starting to sound like too much trouble to bring your furry friend along? He can still be part of your day without actually attending the celebration. Consider these fun alternatives:

 – Include your dog in the photo shoot! You'll treasure photos of yourself all dressed up on the wedding day with your special pet. Or, if you'll be displaying family photos at the reception, be sure to include a few shots of your dog, Geller suggests. 

 – Include the likeness of your pet on favor packaging or in logos. "We recently created shoe bags with flip flops in them that had the couple's dog’s image on them," Geller says. "We’ve also done a simple sketch of the bride, groom, and their dog on a cocktail napkin with the word 'family' on it."

Check out these favor bags used at one of Geller's recent post-wedding brunches. Adorable!

dog favor bag

– Set a great dessert buffet as part of your wedding favors, and let your guests take home a “doggie bag” – featuring your dog's image, of course!

– Serve a groom's cake modeled after your dog. Yes, talented cake designers can create amazing confections that look exactly like your furry friend! This cake pays homage to the groom's profession, as well as the couple's two dogs!

fire truck dogs cake

Photo by Michael Segal Photography

With some careful planning and creative thinking, you can keep your dog in your heart on the wedding day, whether he's scampering up the aisle or guarding the house until you return! See some creative ways real couples included their pups in the wedding!

Opening photo by Kris Kan