Dogs In Weddings

Love your dogs like family? Are you thinking of having your fur baby (or babies!) in your wedding? If so, then you need to read this!

Full disclosure, some of the links I have provided, I make a small commission on (at no cost to you!) when you purchase from them! However, I never advertise for products unless I love them and fully believe in them!

Hire a trainer

My number one piece of advice is to hire a dog trainer/handler. I cannot suggest this highly enough.

  • Look for a freelance dog trainer/handler in your area. I found mine by simply googling for dog trainers in my city, but if that doesn’t work, you can always try sites like and

  • I highly recommend you do some training with the person you hire before the big day.

  1. Helps the dogs get comfortable with that person.

  2. You can work on specific concerns you may have, such as heeling, focusing (so they ignore guests), and staying seated.

  • The trainer can help get good pictures of the dogs because he/she will know the right commands to get the dogs to look at her (as she stands beside your photographer) and can be there in case of emergencies.

  • The trainer's presence will relieve a lot of stress because you know your dogs are in good, well-trained hands. You know that he/she will not let the dogs slip out of their collars or anything else.

  • You will be able to have him/her handle the dogs throughout. He/She will be able to pick them up and bring them to the event early and walk around with them (read below on why that’s important). They will also be able to hold the dogs during the pictures they are not in. They should be able to take your dogs back to the boarder or your home when they are no longer needed.

Don’t forget to set up boarding

  • Make sure to figure out what to do with them before and after the wedding.

  • Who will pick them up and take them back to the boarder (trainer)?

Don’t forget to dress them up!

  • Tuxes, flower collars, hair pieces, leashes, collars, ties, etc.

Make sure you get permission from your venue

  • You need to make sure the dogs will be allowed at your venue; don’t just assume they will for any reason.

  • Often dogs will be allowed only at outdoor areas, but may not be allowed in any buildings on the same property (so don’t forget to consider that in your rain plan).

Don’t forget treats!

  • Whoever is handling them needs to have treats to help keep their attention.

  • Men and boys will have pockets to keep treats in, so when possible try to have a groomsman walk the dog(s) down the aisle.

Get them groomed a week before the big day

  • Sometimes grooming doesn’t go quite as expected--bad hair cuts, mattes that have to be cut out, or even their fur just laying a little funny for a few days after a cut, so it’s best to do it 1-2 weeks before the wedding.

  • However, be prepared to have to give them a bath between grooming and the wedding in case of dirt, mud or anything else!

Make sure you let your other vendors know

  • Make sure all your vendors are comfortable with dogs.

  • Try to choose a photographer who has photographed dogs before, as they present their own set of challenges.

Have them arrive at the venue early

  • Gets "marking" out of the way.

  • Helps burn off some of their energy before the ceremony and/or pictures.

  • Lets them explore and get to know the venue beforehand so they are more comfortable.

Want to see more of my dogs in my wedding? Click here!

Check out my Pinterest for some awesome inspiration!

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© 2019 by Alyssa Alley.