Including Pets in Your Special Day

Including Pets in Your Special Day

Recently at one of RainbowWeddingNetwork's LGBTQ+ Wedding Expos, co-founder Cindy Sproul asked the crowd of couples in attendance whether anyone planned to include a pet in their wedding ceremony or reception. Several hands went up, and most people when called upon mentioned various breeds of dogs... one couple mentioned a llama... but one surprised us all when they proclaimed proudly: 'We have a beloved pet frog! And we are absolutely determined to find a role for him during our celebration!' Cindy of course made them promise to post photos to RWN's FB group... Hopefully those will come through so we can all share in the momentous (and unique) occasion!

For most of us, however, the choice to find a job for our pets during our ceremonies is a little less of a challenge. And incorporating our beloved companions into the Special Day is sure to add an extra layer of joy, personality, and love to the festivities. Read on for several endearing and memorable ideas!


Engagement or Save-the-Date Photos:

Casual photos of you, your fiancee and your pet/s is a simple and touching way to say 'Family' and bring out all the feels. If your pets are willing, adding a bow tie, festive collar or leash, or a floral headband can be a fun accent to mark the milestone. Consider creating customized signs, or use chalkboard signs and take your pets' photos by themselves: "Save the Date 11/4/2025..." "Our humans are finally getting hitched!" Decorate the photo with a backdrop reminiscent of your venue, or theme, or add a bouquet in to the shot. Adorably unforgettable!

Keep in mind, images like this are also wonderful to add to your Ceremony Program!


Have a Retriever in the Family?

If your dog, pig (or any other pet, of course!) is very talented at carrying a basket or satchel either in their mouth, or on their back, and is comfortable working a crowd... make the most of it! Allow your pet time to wander the rows of chairs, as your guests await the ceremony... Your guests will absolutely love the opportunity to visit with your pet as they pick out flower petals or buds, small favor bags, programs, etc that can be carried in your pet's basket/satchel.

And if your pet needs assistance with this task, no problem! Assign the role to one of your young family members or attendants, to walk your pet on a leash throughout the crowd. It's a relaxing and endearing way to pass a little time, creatively distribute small necessities, and set the tone for a warm and uplifting celebration.


That Once-in-a-Lifetime Walk Down the Aisle:

Your pets are companions every day of your lives... why not let them join you as you take your steps down the aisle? It's okay if your pet is leashed or carried - do what is best and will work most successfully. Have your larger pet (german shepherd, llama, goat) wear a sign to formally introduce your moment: 'Here come the brides!' or 'YES, I'm bearing the rings!'

(Important: be sure the venue you choose is pet-friendly!)


Building a Cohesive Theme:

If you do plan to include pets on Your Special Day, it's easy to use your ideas as building blocks for your broader wedding theme or decor options. See below for all kinds of ideas about how to integrate... and don't forget to add to your DJ's playlist some fun tunes such as "Who Let the Dogs Out?" "Hound Dog," or "Wild Horses" by Perry Como!


Decorative Accents:

A photo of your pet, with a quote on a chalkboard such as: "My folks are finally tying the knot!" or "Welcome to Our New Beginning"... can be a memorable addition to your reception decor. Combine this with an interactive keepsake station, or the gift table, and it simply adds to the fun and personalization of Your Special Day. Some couples take it a step further, offering a custom bookmark or koozie as a favor, with a note about the new last names they've decided to take as a married couple. "My humans are finally tying the knot... and now I'm forever known as Muffin Smith-Johnson!" Provide a bookmark with a family photo and your full names... and you've got a keepsake everyone is sure to enjoy.

Another idea is to have your well-behaved pet sitting at the entry point to your ceremony seating area with a sign: 'Pet me & pick your seat!' Be sure to drape a lovely floral collar or add a basket of blossoms alongside, to help them look their best: undoubtedly there will be spontaneous portraits taken!


Cake Topper or Dessert Table Decorations:

"I Do Too!" inscribed on a small custom-made statue or framed photo of your pet is an eye-catching and unique way to top your cake, or accent all the treats on your dessert table. Cupcakes, topped with chocolates embossed with your pet's photo, or imprinted with your pet's photo in frosting, is another fun idea. Your pet is a sweet part of your lives: this is one easy way to bring that message to the party!


Photo Props:

Including a photobooth or selfie station at your reception? Customized props, using the image of your pets, can be a budget-friendly and simple way to showcase them in your festivities. Bunny ears, pawprints, face cutouts, piggy snouts, bone-shaped nameplates or guest wish messages - get creative!


Pet Apparel:

These days, it isn't hard to find pet apparel that will blend will with your own ceremony vibe and colors. Some apparel even boasts flair such as veils, bow ties or messages like 'Best Dog...' Kerchiefs, matching your wedding colors, are easy and casual. Mirroring with kerchief-wrapped favors continues the theme. Be sure to search online for all the lively & unique apparel options! And don't forget, if you're using a leash - take time to customize one with your names and ceremony date! It will be a fun keepsake for you for years after the wedding!


Pet Care:

Remember, there are professional petsitters who will attend your wedding and help out with all your pet-related moments... and provide care during your reception or transportation afterward for your pet to head back home. It's always good to have someone onsite who is devoted to help out, especially in case your pet/s are not cooperative on your wedding day and plans need to change quickly. -Be sure you have back-up in place, and staffers or attendants available, that best suit your particular pets and their possible last-minute needs. It's wise to expect the unexpected!... and you want to ensure you're able to pivot smoothly to adjust (and perhaps alter completely) your pet's planned role so that it doesn't disrupt your overall enjoyment of the day's celebration.


Whatever ways you may find to include your pets in your celebration... be sure it's focused most of all on the joy and personalization and not on too many specifics. Keep your plans realistic, remember to remain as flexible as possible, and have a wonderful, critter-inclusive Special Day!


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