Ask the wedding expert: How to fit a dog into your big day

Photos by Quaint + Whim Photography.

As a newly engaged couple, deciding who to include on your special day can be as daunting as telling your future mother-in-law she can’t invite her entire book club to your wedding. And while it is customary to ask your dearest friend to be your maid of honor or best man, why not think about including your furriest friend while you’re at it? This concept might be a bit new to a few of us, so we reached out to Kate Cook of KBCook Weddings to share her experience on including your pet on the big day.

“As long as it is allowed by your venue and your dog is comfortable in a crowd, incorporating your pet into your wedding can be relatively easy and a sweet touch,” says Cook.

Felix played a major role in his owners’ wedding by accompanying the ring bearer down the aisle.

While your pup might be on their best manners for your wedding day, Cook advises having someone in charge of your dog to make sure their moment to shine goes smoothly.

“The best tip is to have someone on site, that is not a guest, in charge of your dog,” says Cook. “You don’t want that responsibility to fall on your shoulders on your wedding day and you don’t want to burden a guest with your pet either. Hire someone, ideally someone that the dog knows and trusts to help out, so the dog is only there when he/she is needed, is well taken care of, and can be brought home after his/her obligations are complete.”

While some venues might not be pet-friendly, Cook recommends photographs as another way to include them.

“If your venue does not allow pets—for instance, a church—just know that it’s not totally impossible to have a moment with your best furry friend on your wedding day,” says Cook. “I have had several couples hire someone to bring their dog to the church campus at the end of their ceremony to take an outdoor photo before heading to the reception.”

One of those couples was Mandy and Chris Woodward in 2017, when Cook helped them feature their dog Felix on their wedding day.

“An older (pre-teen) ring bearer was assigned the task to walk Felix down the aisle, but they also hired Felix’s trainer from his doggy daycare to be there,” explains Cook. “The trainer kept Felix occupied before the ceremony as guests arrived and was holding Felix on his leash when the processional lined up. He helped transition the leash over to the ring bearer for a successful walk down the aisle in front of the crowd. He was also in the wings, ready to take Felix away from the ceremony area after the processional, so we didn’t have any accidental barks during the ceremony.” 

Once Felix had trotted down the aisle, it was time for portraits with the newly-wed couple.

“Following the ceremony, the trainer and Felix were ready and waiting so Felix could join in some formal portraits with Mandy and Chris,” says Cook. “After the photo session, the trainer was able to bring Felix home so he could be comfortable, and Mandy and Chris could enjoy their reception.” 


Would you include your dog in your wedding ceremony or reception? Let us know in the comments below.

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