For better or woof

After a year of weddings being postponed, cancelled or being massively downsized, couples can finally start planning again to make sure they have the wedding of their dreams. Once again, the whole family can be involved – and all the arguments of who sits next to who, who can’t be in the same room as each other, and who you might be able to pair off in the hope of another wedding next year, can begin in earnest.

While you might want to ‘accidently’ miss Aunt Maude or Uncle Frank off the guest list, for many couples who own dogs, one member of the family they feel really shouldn’t be left out is their dog.

I understand this desire totally – and as a behaviourist and trainer, I made the decision to train as a wedding celebrant as well – just so that couples who wanted to involve their dog in the ceremony had someone who understood how this could be done, knew the potential problems – and had a much-needed sense of humour about it too!

Can I have my dog at my wedding?

If you’re reading this and think that having your dog at your wedding ceremony will make your special day complete, here are my top tips:

  1. Be really honest with yourself. Does your dog have the kind of ‘social butterfly’ personality that would enjoy being among loads of people or would being surrounded by your friends and relations, all wanting to talk to them and stroke them, be their idea of doggy hell? If you have any doubts about this at all, leave them out of the big day and celebrate with them later in a more dog-friendly way that they will enjoy.
  1. Is your dog well enough trained not to jump on your prospective mother-in-law’s brand-new dress – or anyone else’s posh wedding clothes?
  1. If you’ve decided that this is a day your dog will enjoy, task one of your most reliable wedding party members to do nothing else but be on ‘dog duty’. Trust me… on your wedding day, you have way too much to think about other than if your dog is happy, had a wee, not escaping through open doors in the pre-wedding madness, not being accosted by small children, not eating the flowers, and most importantly that they can be removed from any situation they find stressful.
  1. Make sure the venue is dog-friendly. Not only that but identify places around the venue for short walks and toilet opportunities as well as somewhere out the way they can have a break if needed.



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