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Letting your wedding go to the dogs

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Are you planning a wedding? Don’t forget to include the family dog. It has become a trend for pet owners to include their four legged family members in their wedding ceremony, or at least to have them present. Pet owners think of their dogs as family and quite naturally want to include them in their special day.

Preparing the Pet

Have the dog groomed the day before the ceremony so he or she will look their best. If the dog has a long coat, you may want to take a brush with you to the ceremony and have someone appointed to brush the dog's hair just before he walks down the aisle.

Any pet owner knows that life with a pet is unpredictable, so be sure to remember this on your wedding day, too. You can rehearse all you want, but on the day of the wedding, Fido might have other ideas on how he wishes to behave. Don't stress over it if Fido wanders away and lies down instead of standing with the wedding party.

It's also a good idea to make sure someone is appointed to take the dog for a potty walk right before the ceremony. The dog may be nervous and you don't want any accidents in the middle of exchanging your vows. If the worse does happen, laugh it off and continue on, even if someone must use a “pooper scooper” behind you.

Notify Guests in Advance

It is your wedding and you should plan it however you want, but it is courteous to let guests know that your family dog will be part of the wedding ceremony, or will at least be in attendance. The best way to let them know is to include this information on your invitations.

This allows guests with dog allergies or dog fears to be prepared or to graciously decline before they arrive and are taken by surprise. Other dog lovers may contact you to ask if they can bring their own dog, since yours are coming. You can either allow it or tell them no, but remember that they might get upset if you do not allow other dogs to attend since yours are.

Arrange Dog Sitters

While it is okay to have your dog be part of the ceremony, it's advisable to not include them in the reception, especially if it is a formal dinner and dance. Arrange for a dog sitter to pick up your dogs after the ceremony and take them home so you can enjoy your reception without worrying about your furry friend.

Don't worry, he has probably had enough of the wedding by now and will gladly go home to familiar surroundings. Remember to enjoy your day and enjoy having your pet with you no matter how it turns out. You'll enjoy the memories in years to come!

If you are allowing other dogs to come, be sure to tell your guests, in advance, that dogs are only allowed at the ceremony, so they can make arrangements to have their dogs picked up or can take them home. If guests are staying in hotels, some of them even offer pet sitting services. You can go the extra mile and include a list of pet friendly hotels in your invitation.

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