WANT TO INCLUDE YOUR PET IN YOUR WEDDING?
Think of it as a domino effect. Your animal's participation in your wedded bliss will factor into every decision you make including the venue, the wedding procession and more so the earlier you make the decision the better.
That includes when you are going to have the wedding (season and weather can be an issue), where you are going to have the ceremony and the reception, what you are going to wear, the flowers, the food, how many guests and so on.
Check the allergy status of guests.
If one or more of your closest family or friends suffer from pet allergies, you should take their well-being into consideration. It would be nice to let them know that your pet will be there and ask how you can best accommodate them.
Take temperament into account your pets and your own!
Lets face it, there's nothing pretty about a stressed out bride or groom, or a stressed out pet. If your stress level will rise with your animal by your side on your wedding day, think hard about whether that's the right decision and the same goes for your pet.
Your pet's temperament should drive your decisions about a wide range of things, including where the venue is, the type of venue, how many people will be present, the role your pet will play, and whether he or she should be quietly taken away after playing his or her part. Pets and perfectionists can be an uneasy combination, so if it is important to you that everything goes according to plan, including a scene-stealing pooch, or one that behaves badly on the day, that could be way too stressful for you.
On the other hand, having your pet present can be wonderfully calming!
Make sure the role you choose for your pet is one they can handle.
Dogs can handle a wider range of roles than cats (Maine Coon cats are the exception), so use your head and remember who you're dealing with your wild idea of making your skittish pet the greeter at your wedding reception isn't going to fly.
The most popular role for a dog is just to be a member of the bridal party. Perhaps walk in on a lead with one of the bridal party and then just stand as an accessory. Make sure whoever that is, is well able to control the dog. A St. Bernard and a small child are not a good mix. And make sure someone keeps control of your dog during the ceremony.
Alternatively, you may face more challenges controlling the movements of a feline. Cats can be trained to carry the rings, but are best suited to be a greeter. They are great at sitting or lying around, so if you are having an intimate wedding, particularly in your own home, and your cat has a mellow temperament and you put a favorite cushion on the table next to the guest book, you will definitely up the 'awe' factor.
Choose a venue that is both pet-friendly and safe.
Make sure your chosen venue will allow your pet to be present and have that written into your wedding contract. Its also wise to do a thorough walk through beforehand. If the venue allows pets, carry out a rigorous inspection with your pet's safety in mind just because the venue is pet-friendly doesn't mean it is pet-safe.
Find out the following:
Is the area fenced or will your pet need to be on a leash the whole time?
What's the venues schedule for applying fertilizer and/or weed killer? Fresh application of either can be hazardous to your pet.
Are there any plants in the garden or indoor plants, or flowers used in decorations that are toxic to your pet?
Note whether slugs are present since they can make a dog seriously ill if eaten.
Popular wedding flowers and greenery, used commonly in bouquets, boutonnieres, centerpieces and for aisle decorations, are toxic to both cats and dogs.
Hire a pet minder.
You and your partner will be the center of attention, so it's very unlikely that youll have the time to get your pet dressed and groomed beforehand, or to handle the scooping up of poop on game day.
You will be too busy getting married and interacting with your guests to take care of all your pets needs, so hire someone to take care of your pet before and after the ceremony. This person should be trusted to manage your pet's exit from the event and bring him or her to whoever is going to care for them during the honeymoon.
Train, rehearse, familiarize, and expose your pet to event-related things and activities.
Now is not the time for surprises! Make sure your pet is ready for all of the wedding experiences that will take place on the big day. Whatever your pet's role, you need to make sure he or she is fully trained and rehearsed is familiar with the venue, and has plenty of exposure to similar social situations (people, music, camera flashes and general commotion) to progressively desensitize him or her.
To train a cat you will need more time, more patience, more persistence, and more positive reinforcement than you need when training a dog. And you need to include interim steps, so first get him or her used to walking on a leash, and only when comfortable with that, move on to attaching a ring pillow or bag. Only the Maine Coon cat is far more intelligent, helping to make training a breeze.
Alert your photographer, video grapher and guests.
Your pet's presence at your wedding is a big deal, so make sure you document it. To ensure that your pet's role in the day is perfectly captured, your photographer and video grapher need to know how and when he or she will participate. You might even consider having an extra photographer present who can concentrate on your pet.
Make sure treats are available.
Your pet definitely deserves to be rewarded for his or her participation in this momentous occasion not to mention all the fuss everyone will be making throughout the day so make sure you've got lots of treats on hand. For the tricky moments when things aren't going as planned, they could come in really handy. Bribery and distraction might be needed.
Have a backup plan!
Pets can be unpredictable, so it's always a good idea to have a Plan B. Fluffy may not feel like walking over to you with those wedding bands, so select a human who can step in and take over the role assigned to your pet if your pet freaks out on the day.