White dog Pickle lies on the grass while wearing a Blue Cross harness and lead

How to include your dog in your wedding

If you’re getting married and would like your dog to play a role in your special day, here are eight tips to help you both enjoy the day.

Make sure it's suitable to bring your dog to your wedding

Before involving your dog in your wedding, consider whether it's the right decision for you both.

Weddings are not suitable for all dogs, so think about their personality. For example, do they get stressed in crowds? If they do and you’re planning to have lots of guests, it would be kinder to leave them at home. Instead, consider booking them in with a friendly pet sitter so you can relax knowing that your dog is safe.

Even if you leave your dog at home, you can still feature them in your wedding. Give them a starring role by including them within your table names or on your cake topper instead.

If it is suitable for your dog to attend, think about what parts of the day dog may be able to join, and what parts they will need to sit out. This allows them to join in the fun without getting tired or stressed.


Do not put your dog through anything that will make them feel stressed or scared.

Check the venue is dog friendly

Always call in advance to check whether your venue is dog friendly. Not all venues will allow pets, so never assume that they will be allowed inside.

You will also need to check that the venue has everything that your dog needs to be comfortable on the day. This includes a suitable area for them to go to the toilet and a quiet space for them to relax away from the crowds.

Consider your dog's role

From a ring bearer to a maid of honour, there are many roles that your dog can take. Considering this will help you to plan which parts of the festivities your dog will need to join.

If you do not think they would be happy to sit through the ceremony, consider having them join afterwards instead.


Avoid dressing your dog up, as this can be stressful. There are other ways to involve them such as matching the colour of their collar to the theme of your wedding.

Find someone to care for your dog

Have someone familiar on hand who can keep your dog safe during the wedding. Your trusted person will be able to keep your dog company when you are otherwise preoccupied and take them home when they need to leave.

They can also look out for signs of stress in your dog and take them away if they need a break.

Notify the photographer

Make sure your wedding photographer knows in advance if your dog will be involved in any shoots. This will allow them to plan the shoot accordingly.

Before the big day, you can work towards getting your dog used to the camera. Give them a treat every time the camera makes a noise so they associate the sound with something positive.

Read more about training your dog.

Be treat conscious

Tell your guests in advance not to feed your dog. Some foods, such as chocolate or raisins in wedding cakes, can be poisonous.

Take a portion of your dog's own food instead.

Pick your flowers carefully

Make sure that your bouquets and flower arrangements do not contain flowers that are poisonous to your dog.

Invite your dog on your honeymoon

The UK is blessed with many great dog-friendly escapes, so your dog could join you on your honeymoon.

If you'd prefer to go abroad, read our advice about travelling abroad with your dog.

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• 17 June 2024

Next review

• 17 June 2027

Claire crouching next to her white staffie dog
Approved by
Claire Stallard

Animal Behaviourist ABTC-CAB