If you have a pet, they are a part of your family, and that means you probably want them to be a part of your special day. Well, there’s no reason to exclude them, and there are many ways you can incorporate that precious pup in your wedding. Here’s how…
Kasey Jean Rajotte of Studio Twelve: 52 loves shooting couples and their pets, “We see just as many pets at the wedding itself as we do the engagement session now. Which is so exciting, it adds this whole extra personal element to the day. If you think about it, one of the first major steps a couple takes is either introducing their pet(s) to their partner or rescuing/adopting a pet together. So it only makes sense to include something you love so much together into either the wedding and/or the engagement session.”
“We are also seeing an increase in destination weddings/elopements including pets! Which is so exciting, we love getting the call to photograph love + pups in front of a beautiful mountainous or coastal landscape – pets also have the time of their lives exploring these new places during photos as well. So, truly – wherever you are, surely your pets would love to be.” says Rajotte.
Rajotte has many tips on incorporating your pet and they include always bringing treats or toys for the animal to make sure they perk up when you need them to, bringing a neutral-colored collar or leash for the wedding day so it blends into photos, rather than being a bright focal point, and she also says that having a pet attendant is key for ensuring your pet is properly taken care of. “This doesn’t have to be a service you hire, it can also be a close friend who isn’t in the wedding party/who isn’t a personal attendant who is familiar with your pet and wouldn’t mind being their bestie for a day.”
But there are professional pet attendants out there. We spoke to Lara Leinen of Doggy Social MN, and she stressed the importance of having a pet attendant to ensure your wedding day is stress-free “It’s always important to hire vendors that you trust so you can enjoy your wedding day. It’s no different when it comes to having your pet in your wedding. You want to have someone in charge so you don’t have to think about it.” Leinen provides a timeline and keeps everything organized when it comes to your pet, the photos that he or she is in, and anything else you want for your furbaby (as she refers to them).
Leinen says just as with all weddings, all families are different, and she can work with whatever your needs are. If your pet is shy, you might opt for having her there for the pre-ceremony photos and then send her home. If she’s more comfortable with people, perhaps she’s a part of the ceremony and beyond. “Pets can be a part of social hour, or for really adventurous couples, sometimes we do a photo shoot traveling around town with their dog, and that is always lots of fun.” So far Leinen has dealt mostly with dogs and one cat “but I just know we’re going to get a request for a bunny very soon!”
It’s also very important that your photographer is comfortable with pets. Rajotte, who has worked with “everything from the usual dogs and cats to rabbits, hedgehogs, birds, goats, llamas, and even horses” can’t stress this enough. “Make sure you choose a photographer who is comfortable working with pets and has the experience of doing so. There’s so much that goes into it. Motion, our voices, patience, commands, luring, noisemakers, knowing how to read body language so you can capture moments of movement as well. We photograph close to 100 weddings every year, and of those 60-70 of our couples state, they chose us because of our ability to work with pets specifically. This is huge, it means couples are prioritizing their pets more than ever before, and they are wanting to document their love not only between each other but between them and their fur-baby/babies as well!”
When it comes to the most unpredictable combo (because you never know how each is going to act, or react), that of kids and pets, Leinen says “it’s the best!” Just make sure to have your little ring bearer or flower girl practice a bit with your pup so both are comfortable before they head down the aisle together, and you’ll have the cutest photos around.
Rajotte also advises not to avoid having your pet because you’re concerned about your gown getting ruined. Going back to knowing how to deal with animals, she says, “don’t let the fear that your animal will get you dirty stop you from including your pet(s). If you choose the right photographer AND have a pet attendant there’s no reason they will not be able to calmly bring you all together for photos.” She said everything from the tone you use with your animal to pace with which they are brought in is important to keeping your animal calm. She also advocates for including your animal in your engagement sessions so that the photographer, and the animal, can get familiar with each other prior to the wedding.
“Seeing how your pup responds to a camera click and a big lens is so important, as well as seeing how they interact with your photographer. This will also help you gauge what kind of high value treats you will need to bring on the wedding day. The engagement session is a super important test run for so many reasons. You can even test out your Pet-Attendant choice and have them tag along so your pet(s) can also take breaks from being in front of the camera during the session as well but also bond more with that person in advance of the big day.”
Rajotte has one final tip: “No drones while pets are present at all. It is often way too scary of an experience for them. I’ve seen them freak out dogs, cats, and horses in person – and no one wants to witness a fearful animal on what is meant to be a really happy day. “
If you dream of having your best fur friend by your side on your wedding day but want to partake in a responsibility-free day, Becca’s MN Pet Care is thrilled to make your dream “pawsible”. Becca’s MN Pet Care is a professional wedding pet attendant servicing southern Minnesota and beyond. Becca and her consultants provide dedicated, loving, and attentive care on-site for your fur family members during your wedding.
Becca’s MN Pet Care offers comprehensive care services to keep your dog hydrated, fed, and moving throughout the day. Becca and her consultants will arrive equipped with all the essentials to help care for your pup, from food and water bowls to treats and poop bags. Your journey with Becca’s MN Pet Care will begin with a consultation where she can get to know you, your dog, and your wedding day details. Becca is happy to keep an open line of communication from booking to celebration to ensure that everyone feels confident and prepared for the exciting day ahead.
If having your pet there isn’t possible, there are still many ways to incorporate him into your wedding. You can put them on the paper elements such as invites or save-the-dates, on the appetizer napkins or even on the cake topper. One couple gave out doggie treats as favors, for each guest to bring home to their own pet. Another new way to include your pet is through artwork. Claire Ward is an artist who recently made an illustration of a couple with their dog, and they turned that into a sign-in board for all their guests to see and sign at their wedding. This is a memorable and original wedding detail that the couple will have as a keepsake, whether their pet is physically with them on the big day or not.