Tips for Including Animals in Your Wedding

Seven things to consider if you want to have furry friends at your nuptials.

Who says weddings are exclusive to humans? Animals are great entertainment and are adored by guests of all ages.

Photo: Simply Splendid

Who says weddings are exclusive to humans? Animals are great entertainment and are adored by guests of all ages. Many couples have involved their beloved pup or cat in their nuptials by having them participatie in the processional or simply posing with them for portraits. Some even rent horses or llamas for all to enjoy! If you are a true animal lover, you may want to bring one or include a few in your celebration. However, there is more to consider than just your fondness for furry friends.

French bulldog with satin collar and leash for wedding pet friendly animal

Photo by Liz Banfield


Take a look at the following tips to help finalize your decision.

- Ensure that your venue allows animals. Depending on city laws, neighborhood ordinances, and sanctuary or property rules, you might not be able to invite your pet, rent a horse, or bring wildlife to the celebration. If this is a deal-breaker for you, inquire before signing the dotted line.

-  Consider the occupancy of the site. Will the animal have enough space to eat and rest? Are there any floral arrangements or decorations that the animal could accidentally ruin? If your guest list is hefty and your venue tight on space, it may not be spacious enough to accommodate animals. Be mindful of this as you search for venues and decide which animal you want at your wedding.

- Inform your vendors in advance. Just as you would mention your theme or color palette, you should notify event staff about any animals attending your soirée. This will allow the photographer to brainstorm and prepare fun photo ops, your planner to make necessary arrangements, and your caterer properly equipped to prepare food for these special guests.

- A pet sitter is highly recommended. While horses and llamas always arrive with an attendant, your personal pet is your full responsibility unless you hire a caretaker. A sitter will feed your pet, take him/her for a walk if necessary, and overall give proper attention. Be sure to designate an area where your pet can freely relieve himself, and inform your sitter to avoid any accidents.

- Think about the personality of the animal. If your pet is not the sociable type, barks often, or is not well-trained, it might be best to leave him/her at home even if that comes as a disappointment. Also, be sure to talk with handlers well in advance and understand the needs of wild animals.

- Tell your guests beforehand. You want everyone to be excited about pets or exotic animals while also feeling comfortable enough to pet or pose with them. It might be a good idea to mention their presence either in the details portion of the invitation suite, on your wedding website, or spread the word amongst friends and family.

- Consider any potential allergies. If your pet or rented animal is not hypoallergenic, think about the safety of your attendees. Some guests with allergy issues may not be affected as long as they sit far away, while others can keep symptoms at bay with allergy medicine. If you plan to surprise guests with animal guests, it might be a good idea to have over-the-counter allergy medicine available so that everyone stays comfortable. 

For more ideas and advice, discover 10 ways to include your dog in the wedding, learn the pros and cons of including pets in your nuptials, and find out how to train your dog for a walk down the aisle.