By Kaleigh Wilkinson & Kim Moody

For some of you, your dog is your first “baby.” Of course you want to include your fur-child in your big day! Many couples, however, hit a wall when it comes to incorporating him or her. It’s not as easy as it may seem — complications with the venue, a sitter, and interactions with guests all play a huge role. Here are some successful tips we have gathered over the years.

The best place to start is the venue. If having your dog in your wedding is non-negotiable, shop around for locations that will allow dogs. The guidelines for venues generally follow a checklist of the size and temperament of the dog. From there, it is at their discretion. Always talk with the venue about your dog specifically before booking if including your furry pal is important to you!

RW Tip: Be sure to have baggies or a pooper scooper handy! Cleaning up after your pet at a venue is a MUST!

Typically, venues are more inclined to admit dogs if the couple is working with a wedding planner, especially a preferred vendor.  If a wedding planner is present, they share the responsibility with the couple and the planner to ensure the dog is always taken care of.

Puppy Love How to Include Your Dog on the Wedding Day

We recommend your dog only be involved in the ceremony and then be taken home for the reception. Large crowds and loud noises are stressful on the animals and could cause a commotion. This is as much for the sanity of the animal as it is for YOU! Hiring a trusted dog handler allows you to incorporate your dog and ensures he or she gets home safely.

Real life situation from the KMD team:

“We recently had a couple that had their dog stay for the reception. The cymbals on the bands drum set caused their dog to bark every single time the drummer made contact. The couple was slightly embarrassed that was happening when they invested thousands of dollars in the band!”

If you have a dog and can’t figure out how to incorporate him or her into your wedding, reach out to your vendors to ask for ideas and tips!

Kim Moody Design is a wedding planning and floral design studio with locations in Richmond and Blackstone, VA.  To learn more about how they can use their dozen years of wedding planning experience to serve you, please visit

Featured photo: Hunter Henkel Photography