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The Woof Guide: Involving Your Dog in Your Wedding

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Dogs are, of course, man’s best friend and are a much-loved member of your family. But what if you wanted your canine companion at your wedding? The most important day of your life should include your nearest and dearest and, if that includes your furry friend, then so be it. With wedding season upon us we’ve asked wedding planner and dog lover, Ailish McDonnell of Keep Calm and Marry On to give her insight on making your day a part of your big day.

In the world of live television, working with animals and children is generally considered a general no-no. Similarly, when preparing for an important event such as a wedding, it’s important to take extra care to avoid any potential mishaps or problems on the day.

Getting started
Temperament is a major consideration. Many dogs don’t like big crowds so if you are planning a large wedding then be mindful of how comfortable your dog will feel being centre stage. If your dog relishes being in the spotlight then ensure no one else decides to bring their pup as their plus one otherwise it might send your dog into a jealous tailspin.

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In advance of the big day
Let your dog join in the dress up fun with a special accessory or even their own outfit. For girls, I’ve found a beautiful regal pink crown with Swarovski crystals at Poochisimo.co.uk, and for him try this doggy tux from Luxurydogclothes.co.uk. For a keepsake to treasure, couture collar makers, Holly & Lil make a special wedding collar collection called “The Happiest Day of our lives!”

In the final frantic days leading up to your wedding, you’ll love nothing more than some chill out time so why not indulge and treat your pup too. All eyes will be on them so make sure they’re bathed, clipped and groomed to perfection. Dog It Yourself with one of the many gorgeous products on the market such as Pet Head or John Paul Pet Care, or for a special treat, book them in for a doggy day spa day – just ‘google’ to find somewhere near to you as there are lots popping up around the country. Should you have concerns about a doggy odour clouding the air be prepared with a dog-friendly perfume such as Urban Pup’s Summer Garden fragrance, which also has the added benefit of essential oils, which are said to help calm and relieve of stress.

Another good tip is to let him/her have a good walk around the venue in plenty of time ahead of the big day so the sights and smells don’t come as a major shock and cause your pet to become nervous or frightened.

The big day
My best piece of advice would be to enlist a dog walker or pet nanny to stick around for the day; that way you won’t be fretting about your dog’s wellbeing and will be to spend plenty of time with family and friends. Pet nanny or not, it’s best to keep your dog on a lead no matter how well trained they may be - the excitement of a wedding can be overwhelming for dogs and it may cause them to behave out of character with so much going on around them. Like the human guests they also need to be fed and watered so ensure you have water bowls in appropriate areas (where nobody can trip over them) and plenty of snacks on hand.

When it comes to party time, your dog should be tucked up in bed so they are not in any danger themselves or a potential hazard to others under the disco lights, where visibility can be limited and a wandering dog could be a potential hazard. 

Finally! Remember the best-laid plans can go awry, especially when it comes to animals and children, so it’s always advisable to have a Plan B. As long as you are realistic with your demands for your day, try not to be a diva expecting your dog to behave like an adult.  Then if things don’t go to plan your sense of humour will see you through any hound hijinx!

For more information on Ailish’s wedding planning services, visit Keepcalmmarryon.com. You can also follow her on Twitter @keepcalmmarryon

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