A dog dressed up at a wedding at The Oak Barn in Kent photographed by Kent & London wedding photographer Matilda Delves

A guide to having pets at your wedding

If you’ve got a furry friend at home, it’s likely you’ll want to include them at your wedding. They’re an integral part of your life (and chances are of your love story too) so it’s only natural that you’d want them there to be part of the fun – and the photos you can get are super cute. However, it’s not quite as easy as just adding another name onto the guestlist, so here’s our guide to having pets at weddings:

A wedding portrait of a bride and groom with their dog at Clapton Country Club in London

Check if your venue allows pets

This is crucial. If you’ve not yet booked your venue, make the question of having pets at your wedding top of the list when you’re whittling down your shortlist. If you have booked your venue already, ask for their pet policy before setting your heart on having your four-legged pal there. Outdoor spaces or blank, industrial venues with a lot of open space are often dog-friendly wedding venues.

A cute dog in a church ceremony at Benenden Church in Kent

Tell your photographer you’re bringing your pet(s).

If you’d like to have your wedding photos with pets, let your photographer know in advance. The places they had in mind for your portraits session may not be suitable for a pooch, for example, so give them fair warning! On top of that, pets on the whole don’t behave in the same way humans do in front of the camera (that’s a generalisation, mind, some pets love their angles), so it ensures they’re prepared to capture you and your pet at your best.

A black and white photograph of a bride who is wearing a needle and thread wedding dress holding her dog in her arms at a Kent wedding

Accept that things may not go smoothly

They’ll be perfect, because you’ll have everyone and everything there that you love, but they may not be smooth. Pets at weddings will by nature be unpredictable, so don’t expect too much of them. If you’re giving them a key role, ensure you have a plan B: for example, if you want your dog to be your ringbearer, consider having an usher or bridesmaid walk down the aisle with them to make sure they don’t take your expensive rings on a bird chase instead.

A cute dog wedding guest outside of a Stoke Newington Town Hall Wedding photographed by natural london wedding photographer Matilda Delves

Elect someone as petsitter for the day.

If you want your pets there for the full day, make sure you have someone who you can trust to look after them all the way through. Even if you would like to be there for them all day, there’ll be so many demands on your time and attention that it’s a good idea to elect someone as sitter, just in case.

Make a doggy bag to ensure they have everything they need

Or a kitty bag, or a horsey bag, whatever you’re bringing to the party! Make sure you pack their treats and any bits they’ll need over the course of the day, and hand it over to the petsitter.

Give them chance to acclimatise

If your venue is somewhere your pet has never been before, take them before to help them acclimatise. You want them to be comfortable on the day, and taking them to suss it out before means their surroundings will be familiar.

Ask yourself if they’re comfortable

It’s also super important to take a minute and ask yourself: will your pet truly be comfortable in this situation? Ideally it’d be amazing to have them there, but is it worth their wellbeing? If you’re envisaging them wearing a doggy bow tie, will they be comfortable? Their presence isn’t worth sacrificing their state, so be mindful.

Let your guests know

It’s also worth bearing in mind that guests may want notifying in advance. If people are scared of or allergic to dogs they may need to put preventative measures in place, so give them the heads up.

Even if you don’t have pets, there’s still ways to incorporate animals into your big day – anyone fancy a confetti pony?! I’ll be waiting…