With National Pet Day on 11th April, our Guide to Pet Friendly Weddings shows how some of our amazing WED2B brides shared their special day with furry friends, as well as some info on professional services available to make the day stress free for everyone.

Sarah & Alex. Photo credit: Stacey Oliver Photography

More and more couples are involving their pets in their big day. After all, these days, most pets really are part of the family. What’s more, there are also a growing number of suppliers who specialise in getting your four-legged friends ready for their big moment, as well as walking them, feeding them and quietly taking them home afterwards when it all gets a bit too much!

Sarah & Alex. Photo credit: Stacey Oliver Photography

WED2B couple Sarah and Alex had the family dog, Bob, as their ring bearer. “He walked down the aisle with the rings tied to a cushion on his back,” says Sarah. “He was very well behaved!”

Are pets allowed?

The first thing to do is check that your venue is happy to accommodate pets. Many will, as long as your pooch/cat/horse is well behaved and well looked after. Designate one person to be in charge of your pet for the whole day, including getting them to the venue, keeping them happy and stress free then taking them safely home later. 

Jemima & Ben. Photo credit: Purple Rose Photography

Alternatively, consider hiring a pet chaperone. Jemima and Ben from Milton Keynes had their dog Barry with them. "Hire a chaperone. They collect your dog the morning of the wedding and walk them, so they arrive at the venue calm. They’ll also get them dressed and look after them until the ceremony, when one of our groomsmen took over. Afterwards, they’ll have your pet close by for the photos before leaving to take them for another walk and look after them overnight. Then you collect them the next day.” If you like the sound of that, then check out our supplier pages for lots of businesses that have experience in pet friendly weddings, such as Wags & Weddings or Mendip Dog Walking, who can help. 

Laura & Nathan. Photo credit: SMH Photography

How to involve your pet

It’s one thing having your pet with you but how can you get them involved? It does all depend on what kind of pet you have, how well behaved they are and whether performing in front of a crowd will cause them stress. If you’re happy that they’ll be happy, why not have your dogs as ring bearers or even as bridesmaids? It has been done! Sarah and Tom’s dog Chester was a model pet on the big day. “He showed up for some of the photographs and stole the show,” she says. “He stole a few hearts as well!”

Sarah and Tom with their dog at their Leeds wedding venue
Sarah & Tom. Photo credit: Folega Photography

Chaperone service Peonies & Pooches also offers wedding day-focused training. Book a training session and they’ll train your pooch to sit nicely for photos, carry the rings, wait at the end of the aisle or greet guests calmly. Alternatively, if your pet is something a bit bigger, like a horse, why not consider riding them to the ceremony?

What should they wear?

They obviously don’t have to wear anything, but a new lead, a floral collar arrangement or a little bow tie certainly looks cute. If you’d prefer something even more formal, Canines and Confetti can help. They offer bespoke wedding attire for dogs, including cravats, collars and little waistcoats, which can be created to match your wedding theme. WED2B couple Zara and Ronnie dressed her mum’s dog up to the nines and included him in their ceremony. “He stood at the front in his tuxedo,” she says. “At the end, when everyone clapped, he started to bark and it was adorable!”

Include them in a different way…

You might have a much-loved pet but a wedding day can be busy and stressful, and not all animals are suited to this. If your pet can’t be there on the day, there are plenty of other ways to include them. How about adding a picture to the stationery, having an animal theme or simply having their picture on display? Amy and Sam decorated their cake in honour of their dog. “Our cake topper featured me, Sam in his uniform and our dog Thor,” she says. Sarah and Alex also did the same for their cat, “Our wedding cake was a three-tier buttercream cake with a fondant figure of our cat, Mr Pig, on top.”

Real Weddings Norwich: Amy and Sam’s relaxed and romantic wedding day - Bronwyn
Photo credit: Hannah Betts Photography

Bethany and Tom’s classic wedding look included lots of little nods to their pug, Narla. “We had a wooden silhouette of her on our cake, as part of our topper. There was also a 'Biscuit Bar' with packets of dog treats for people to take home for their own dogs,” says Bethany. “Narla was mentioned on our Order of Service too, where it said that she was celebrating at home!”

Love all animals? How about…

Finally, if you don’t have a pet or just want as many animals as possible there are plenty of other options, too. Lovey Dovey can supply a flock of pure white doves for you to release at your wedding, for a super romantic moment after the ceremony. Alternatively,  Melody and Robert decided their love of alpacas should be reflected at their wedding. “We got married in the golf club next door to our church in Edgbaston,” says Melody. “It’s very beautiful and the food was fantastic. It was all perfect, as we could arrive on a golf buggy and we also hired alpacas to join us for the drinks reception!”

Melody & Robert. Photo credit: Laura Jayne Photography

So, however you do it, if you’re an animal lover or have a special furry friend in your life, there’s no reason why you can’t incorporate them into your big day for a pet friendly wedding. Whether they’re your bridesmaid, your ring bearer or your cake topper, if they have a special place in your heart then they should have a special place at your wedding too!

If you’re celebrating National Pet Day and you've had your pet at your wedding we’d love to hear about it! Click here to share your story and photos with us and we’ll be in touch. Also, for more inspiration, check out our Instagram, Facebook or Twitter pages. Lastly, for more details about National Pet Day, click here.