Written By: Olivia Connatser CPDT-KA

 If you’re anything like me, you consider your dog to be a member of your family. So when it comes time to plan your wedding, of course you want to include your dog on your big day! However, there are some challenges that you might not have considered. But this doesn’t mean you can’t include your dog at all! I’m going to provide you with three unique ways to include your dog in your wedding, without actually having them there in person.


Problems you might encounter

My wedding was in May 2022, and I planned almost all of it myself, so I know how much effort it takes! Throughout my planning process, I knew that I wanted to include my dog in our wedding one way or another. We booked a venue that allowed dogs, but there were some specifications that would make things tricky. The first problem was that although they did allow dogs, the dog could only be at the venue during the ceremony. Meaning that someone would have to bring our dog from our house, (an hour away), to the venue for the ceremony, and then back home. When I started to think about who I could ask to do this, I quickly realized that they would all be attending the wedding! I do know there are companies out there who will do this service for you, but that would have been another expense that we weren’t willing to pay, so that wasn’t an option for us.

The second problem we encountered was that even if we did find someone to bring our dog for the ceremony, I didn’t know how she would behave or how she would feel about the situation. My dog is very well trained – I am a professional dog trainer after all – but in an environment she’s never been to, surrounded by 150 people, that would be a lot for me to ask of her. We would also need to ask someone in our wedding party or a guest to be the one handling her during the ceremony, which would be a lot of work. I didn’t think it would be fair to her for me to put her into that situation and expect her to behave well. Plus, our wedding was in Texas in May, so it was quite warm and she is a dog who can overheat quickly due to her size and color.

For most dogs, being in a wedding is most likely going to be a pretty stressful situation for them and that’s not something I wanted to make her do. I also wanted to be able to relax and enjoy my wedding day without worrying about my dog if we did end up bringing her, so ultimately we decided to leave her at home with a pet sitter and include her in other ways that were stress free for everyone!


Engagement Photos

The first way we included our pup in our wedding was by taking our engagement photos with her. We went to a local park with lots of pretty trees and had our pictures taken! This was a fun way to capture this stage in our life and include our dog. I made sure to bring my treats with me and instructed the photographer on how to make silly noises to get our dog’s attention, and they turned out great! We will cherish these photos forever and it was a good way to have her included in the wedding activities, while also keeping it low stress and relaxing for us all.

Welcome Sign

The second way we included our dog in our wedding was creating a custom welcome sign with her on it! I was gifted a custom dog tag made on Etsy that said “Dog of Honor” with our wedding date on it, and I took photos of her wearing the tag. Websites like Zazzle and Minted allow you to create custom signs, invites, etc. for affordable prices. Simply upload your photo, add text, and order! We placed the sign on an easel by the wedding entrance, so everyone who attended got to see our cute pup!

Cake Topper

The third way we included our dog was by having a custom cake topper made. I ordered a mini dog figurine that was similar to her color, and my sister, who is an artist, painted it to match her markings. There are artists on Etsy who have these available, or you can DIY this. It turned out super cute, and when we put it on the cake we used a fork to make a small hole next to the figurine to make it look like she “took a bite” of the cake.


There are lots of other creative ways to include your dog in your wedding, so spend some time looking around and find something that speaks to you! In hindsight, I am so glad we went the route we did and kept our dog at home on our wedding day. Our wedding was wonderful, I loved the ways we included her, and I don’t feel like I missed out on not having her there. Of course everyone’s wedding is going to be different, but this worked out so well for us and I hope my ideas inspire you!