How to Involve Your Pets in weddings, Elopements, or Sessions

Mkay y’all, this might be my new fav blog post EVER!! You may already know that my dogs are the loves of my life. So I ALWAYS tell my couples to include their pets in weddings, elopements, or sessions!

I think that bringing your four-legged best friends along is such a fun way to make your elopement unique. And that way you truly have your whole family there, even if that family just means the two of you + your doggo and no actual guests! 

 

couple on beech with dogs

 

My hubby & I actually brought our dogs on our own elopement day! Check out their adorableness here!! 

 

There are definitely some things you need to think through + plan for before your elopement day comes if you want to bring your pets in weddings. So I wanted to give you my top 5 tips for bringing your dogs to your elopement! I’m also giving you 7 fun ways to involve your dogs in your wedding/elopement day!

 

Bringing your pup(s) to your elopement: my top 5 tips

 

1. Pack appropriately!

If you want to bring your dog(s) along on your elopement, you need to make sure you pack properly for not only you/your partner but also your dog! You’ll need to pack different things depending on factors like how long your elopement will be, how long you’ll be outside, whether or not you’ll be hiking, what the weather will be like, and where you’ll be at.

 

girl in white dress

 

Here’s a good list to start off with, to make sure you don’t forget any of the important stuff in the midst of the craziness of planning your elopement!

 

  • Water
  • Portable water bowls
  • Food
  • Portable food bowls
  • Treats
  • Leashes (especially if the location/trail you’re going to requires dogs to be leashed)
  • Poop bags (+ a travel trash bag or can to keep those in, if there may not be trash cans at the location you’re going to – or you can double bag it in some thick Ziplocs)
  • Doggy jackets if it’s cold out
  • Booties for their paws if you’ll be walking on hot surfaces

 

2. Do your research ahead of time

It’s super important that you do your research ahead of time. Make sure dogs are allowed at the location of your elopement!! The last thing we want to happen is that we get to your location only to find out that dogs are prohibited, and end up having to switch locations at the last second. No thank you!! 

 

dog laying on rug

 

Every location has different rules and regulations, especially state and national parks in different areas. Some national parks prohibit dogs completely, some only have a few trails that dogs are allowed on. Some even require you to get an additional permit or pass to bring your dogs along.

 

girl petting dog

 

Please please make sure you know ahead of time whether or not your location allows dogs, and what regulations come with that! Are you required to keep it on a leash the whole time? Are they allowed on the specific trail you want to hike for your elopement? Preparing this ahead of time will make sure you know what to expect + what’s allowed, and will help you decide on your elopement location while following rules + regulations!!

 

3. Make sure you’re ready to follow dog etiquette at your location

Piggybacking off that last one, make sure that you’re ready to keep your dogs safe, quiet, & respectful of the environment!! You need to bring along materials to pick up their poop on trails. And be prepared to carry it around somehow if there aren’t trash cans!

 

couple next to mountain

 

It’s important to Leave No Trace wherever you go and to make the least impact on the environment possible. That means not only following *human* rules and regulations, but also guidelines for dogs/animals!

 

girl with her dog

 

Make sure your dogs are well-trained enough to follow your voice commands so that they follow rules at the location! We want to avoid the pups getting in the way of others walking/hiking near you. We don’t want them to run after strangers or anything if they’re unleashed and don’t listen to you!! Def bring along treats to show them when they’re doing a good job!

 

4. Bring a friend along/assign a guest to help

One thing that’s super helpful is bringing along a friend, or assigning a specific guest to help with your dogs. This will make sure that you’re not spending your elopement day wrangling them up and getting them to behave! You have somebody else helping you out!  

 

dog on porch

 

If you want to walk down the aisle with your dogs, this can the person you hand the leash off to while you say your vows. They can be in charge of picking up after your dogs and walking them around + keeping them company when you want some couples portraits by yourselves!

 

5. Be okay with your outfits getting dirty

Finally, it’s a given that your dogs are going to get a little dirty if you’re having an outdoor elopement!! Especially if you’ll be hiking in the dirt, or if it’s muddy/sandy at your location. This means you should be okay with your outfits getting some dirt on them since your dogs will probs jump up on you + be so excited to be there with you!! 

 

couple holding dog

 

Then again, if you’re a dog owner, you’re probably used to that happening and know it’s inevitable on your elopement day, too!

 

7 fun ways to involve your dog(s) in your big day

Now let’s get into 7 fun ways you can involve your dogs in your elopement day! Each of these ideas is linked to Pinterest, where you can browse inspo + find places to purchase the items.

 

Neckties/bowties

Having your dog wear a bowtie or necktie is SUCH a cute way to dress them up a little bit and make them look super beautiful/handsome!! You can buy a tie to coordinate with your wedding colors so they can match you and look cute AF all day.

 

dogs on the beech

 

Custom leash/collars

A fun way to add simple wedding vibes to your doggo? Buy a custom leash or collar for them to wear/walk around in on the day of! You could get an elegant white one, or customize the leash/collar to your wedding colors. It adds a fun touch to their appearance when you walk them and makes for a fun and useful keepsake after the elopement day, too!!

 

dog with different colored eyes

 

Flower crowns

Flower crowns might be one of my FAV ways to make your dog look gorgeous on your elopement day. Have your florist create an extra flower crown for you out of your wedding flowers + colors for your dog to wear, either on their head or around their neck! This is SUCH a cute way to have them match your bouquet + other decors. You can dry the flowers + frame them after your wedding day too if you want to keep them forever!

 

couple with dog

 

Have them carry your rings

If your dog is well-behaved enough, they can be the one that carries your rings down the aisle! Buy them a cute little pillow that will wrap around them + sit on their back, and bribe them to walk down the aisle when it’s time with a treat 😉

 

dog wearing bowtie

 

Mini suits/tutus

If you want to dress up your dog, even more, buy them a mini suit or tutu!! Match their outfit with your wedding colors and make ‘em look super dapper/elegant in a tiny tux or fluffy skirt. The outfits you can find on Pinterest + Etsy are soooo freaking cute!!

 

couple petting dog

 

Doggie bandanas

A super cute + simple accessory for your dogs to wear: doggie bandanas!! Customize a bandana to match your wedding colors, add your dog’s name, or add on your wedding date/names/location/etc. Personalized bandanas are freaking adorable on doggos and usually aren’t spendy! Plus, they don’t have to be too well-behaved for a bandana to stay on like they’d have to be wearing a ring pillow or maybe a flower crown on their head.

 

dog wearing bandana

 

Wedding cake decor/topper

If you’ll be having a cake on your elopement day with some sort of topper, have your dog added to your cake topper! Customize your cake topper with the two of you + your pup through Etsy or a local baker. It’ll be SO cute having your whole little fam on top of your cake. Pinterest also has lots of decor ideas for a dog-themed cake. If you don’t want a topper but still want to involve some cute little paw prints or the name of your doggo!

 

couple with dog on trail

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