We were going to title this piece “dogs at weddings.” But after a super quick look around on the google machine, it turns out that people have all kinds of animals at their wedding, so “animals at weddings” it is.
Some of our favorite weddings have included dogs. If you know us, you know we are all about dogs. Some photographers might not be excited to see that you want to include your furry, four footed friends. We are not those photographers!
Now… if you mentioned penguins, pigs, llamas, or elephants, we might have some questions, but we’d still be game. Take a look at the variety of animals at these weddings! Animals seem to be an emerging trend in weddings, including zoos becoming popular spots for the nuptials.
Let’s start with some general tips that would apply no matter the type of animal:
- above all, make sure that your venue is animal friendly (that is, if you’re not having your wedding at an actual animal venue);
- check to see if you might need additional insurance if you’re bringing in animals beyond just dogs;
- consider family and friend allergies;
- consider family and friend fears. Not everyone is comfortable around horses, for example;
- limit the time you have the animals involved. Even if it’s your dog, you might want to arrange for them to be taken home after a couple of hours;
- think about anything that is edible and reachable; some flowers are toxic to cats and dogs; some dogs are very wily about getting to chocolate (which they shouldn’t have, of course);
- if there are children at the wedding, consider that not all kids are good with animals — whether they are afraid or too aggressive or too young to know how to be around strange animals;
- consider overall care and feeding and watering of any animals (and is there a space where they can… relieve themselves out of view of the guests?);
- if you’re having multiple animals, consider their comfort with one another, with public spaces, and with strangers;
- if animal handlers are involved, make sure they’re also being fed and taken care of.
What ways might you incorporate pets into your wedding?
- maybe you want to walk down the aisle with your dog next to you?
- or you could have your pets waiting for you at the altar.
- are you going to costume them? a dog in a bow tie is pretty classic. ((smiling))
- you could bring them in just for photos and then send them home.
- you could also have them as part of your engagement photos.
- perhaps you want your pet with you as you get ready. They can be so soothing in times of stress (and who isn’t a little nervous before their wedding?).
- if your pet is super well behaved, you could have quite the unique ring bearer.
- some people are incorporating loved pets’ images into what they’re wearing, from embroidered images on veils to printed on handkerchiefs.
- or you could make them part of the favors. What better way to make a box of matches uniquely yours than have your pet’s image on it?
- really… depending on how wonderfully nutty you are for your pet, you could print their images on everything from save the date to place holders to cocktail napkins.
- attach a go pro to your pet and let them get their own video of your day.
- you could also consider incorporating a fundraiser for a local animal rescue.
What ways might you incorporate other animals into your wedding?
- if you’re horse people, consider riding down the aisle instead of walking! But make sure you’re super comfortable and make sure the horse is okay with crowds of strange people. You might also want to consider only coming from a distance on the horse and then getting off at the top of the aisle. (Think of Hindu weddings! They often incorporate horses and elephants!)
- if you’re having a wedding in the county, it will be easier to include horses and ponies and even allow for interaction with the guests.
- you could hire a small petting zoo for guests to cuddle animals and take photos between the wedding and the reception or during the reception!
- birds and butterflies can be a beautiful addition to the wedding. Release them instead of the usual throwing of rice.
- or you could have an owl be your ring bearer, a la Harry Potter.
If animals of the ocean variety are more to your liking, well, there’ll be no riding in on a dolphin or an octopus as a ring bearer (excuse us… getting silly here), but there are weddings being held at aquariums. And you know that our esteemed photographer, Matt, started out in underwater photography so if anyone is interested in a diving sort of wedding. (Weirdly, people have been doing that for a long time.)
Everyone wants their wedding to be uniquely their wedding. And everyone has different ideas of family. Bringing in animals and pets, who are like family, can be a fun and sweet way to add even more memories to your big day.