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How to Involve Cats and Dogs in Weddings

How to Involve Cats and Dogs in Weddings

Congratulations, you're getting married! A big part of any wedding day is involving your nearest and dearest in your celebrations and more and more people are choosing to include their pets. As a valued member of your family, you look after their best interests and want to see them enjoy your big day just as much as you will.

We asked some of Australia's top wedding experts for their advice on ways to involve your cats and dogs in your wedding. Find out the things that could help your day run more smoothly and get inspiration from some of the best pet-friendly soirees.

Sweet Floral

Based in Perth, Sweet Floral has been designing beautiful wedding flower arrangements for 14 years. They once created a beautiful floral lead so a bride could walk down the aisle with her beloved dog, Ole.

The florists recommend dressing your pet up to feel part of the action. They regularly provide floral collars for cats and dogs. They have even created a bespoke floral crown for a rabbit! They always advice using artificial flowers for pets. Otherwise, they may end up eating the flowers during the ceremony.

Haus of Harley

Choose a collar and lead that coordinate with your wedding colour scheme, says dog lifestyle brand Haus of Harley. But make sure they're strong. That way, your pet can't run off if they get overwhelmed by all the noise and fuss.

Haus of Harley is a Sydney-based dog lifestyle brand that has been supplying contemporary dog clothing and accessories since 2012. They say that both dogs and cats make good ring bearers if they respond well to commands. If not, they can always take part in the photographs afterwards.

Their most memorable wedding moment was suppling a bandana for a bride's Pomeranian. The dog, Jack, had sadly lost the movement in his back legs. When the customer showed the staff her wedding video, they all had tears in their eyes watching Jack race up the aisle, assisted by a wheeled cart.

Charis White Celebrant

Charis White is a Melbourne-based wedding celebrant with seven years' experience at over 300 weddings! An avid dog lover, she says not to worry if things don't go exactly to plan. It'll probably make for some adorable photos!

If you are including your pet in the actual ceremony, make sure you have a familiar face that your pet is comfortable with to walk them down the aisle. If your pet is acting as ring bearer, make sure the rings are attached to a collar that fastens securely with press studs. That will reduce the risk of them getting lost.

Charis' learned this valuable lesson for including dogs in weddings at a wedding rehearsal. The dog in question, Mia, was the ring bearer. She got so excited that she ran too fast down the aisle. The rings flew off and everyone spent the next ten minutes looking for them!

LapDog Nation

LapDog Nation specialises in stylish pet wear and accessories from international brands and up-and-coming designers. They think pets make incredibly cute flower girls or page boys. They also provide some adorable photo opportunities.

However, no matter how well-behaved your pet is, there's always temptation at weddings. Keep them away from your precious cake, by occupying them with a toy. LapDog Nation recommends the Odin puzzle from Up Dog Toys. It's quiet and sophisticated looking, so it won't ruin the look of your big day.

Fred and Ginger Catering

Based in Melbourne, Fred and Ginger Catering is conscious of having little impact on the environment. They incorporate seasonal and sustainable produce into their traditional handmade food. They also offer an event design and management service.

Having your pet walk you down the aisle is a great experience for everyone involved, say the caterers. A bow-tie collar is the perfect way to co-ordinate your pet with your colour theme, while still being able to keep them on a lead if necessary. Plus, it looks super cute!

One unusual wedding they catered for not only had a dog ring-bearer, but also saw bride and groom enter the wedding venue on a bike. The bespoke nuptials took place in the middle of Brunswick Velodrome under a floral archway.

Pet Supplies Empire

The forward-thinking owner of Pet Supplies Empire got their inspiration for involving pets in weddings early on in life. At their parents' wedding in 1979, their black Labrador, Jason, was the best dog. He kept the groom calm, got him to the altar on time and acted as ring bearer!

'It's unrealistic to try and look after your pet yourself on your wedding day,' Pet Supplies Empire warns. Ask a trusted family member or friend to be responsible for them on the day so you can relax.

Pet Supplies Empire is an Australian online premium pet store, offering a wide selection of pet products at discounted prices. They remind engaged pet parents to have plenty of treats on hand to keep your pet quiet during the ceremony. They recommend the gourmet treats from Greenies and Love 'em.

Modern Love Ceremonies

After becoming a celebrant to officiate at her sister's wedding in 2009, Cara Gallagher set up Modern Love Ceremonies. She provides unique ceremonies in Byron Bay. Cara recommends making sure your wedding location is suitable for your pet, especially if it's an outdoor location. Think about how well they will respond to it. Also, check if there are any local restrictions in place, such as whether dogs need to be kept on leads.

While officiating a wedding at Belongil Beach, the couples two Staffies, Zak and Navy, were very much part of the ceremony. Zak was a groomsman, complete with bow tie, and Navy walked the bride down the aisle in an adorable floral collar. It made the couple's day to share it with all their loved ones, says Cara.

Good Day Rentals

Good Day Rentals, based in Melbourne, hires out vintage and retro furniture for weddings and special events. They advise that including animals in a wedding means you have to be prepared for accidents. Therefore, it's a good idea to make sure all fabrics and furnishings are easy to clean.

Stay away from materials like velvet and leather for your furnishings! Timber and vinyl are good options if you've got pets at your wedding.

'There is a plethora of beautiful vinyl and timber mid-century furnishings that can create a lux look without the worry of damage,' says Good Day Rentals owner Kate Forsyth.

Erin Woodhall Celebrant

For a unique memento from your wedding, celebrant Erin Woodhall says your pet can make a wonderful wedding videographer! Attach a GoPro camera to their collar and you'll get to relive your wedding from your pet's point of view.

Erin is a civil marriage celebrant whose ethos is providing fun, bespoke ceremonies for couples in Brisbane and beyond. 'I love FuzzYard products,' says Erin, 'as their designs co-ordinate well with wedding themes.'

Erin recalls a special moment when marrying a couple whose two dogs were part of the bridal party. The groom started crying when he first caught sight of the bride, and the dogs started crying too. Then when he said, 'I do," both dogs barked together!

The Wedding and Event Creators

The Wedding and Event Creators offer wedding planning, coordination, styling and d├ęcor hire for the South Coast and Wollongong areas of NSW. They love seeing pets involved in ceremonies and photographs. After that, say the event planners, it's a good idea to take them home. The reception can be too noisy and overwhelming for cats and dogs.

Always keep the comfort of your pet in mind. Outfits and accessories such as bandanas and headbands are cute, but make sure your pet will be comfortable for the time of year. The Wedding and Event Creators have worked on some super-cute weddings. They love seeing brides walk down the aisle with their dogs all dressed up. 'It makes for lovely photographs!' say the planners.

Your big day will be one you treasure forever. If you're a pet-owner, you have the added bonus of being able to incorporate your cat or dog in your wedding. Follow our wedding experts' tips and you're sure to have a magical day!