Should we include our pet at our wedding?

I love my 16-year-old Manx cat, Louis. In fact, if Louis was a little more social and a lot less cranky, I would have included him in our wedding. Louis would disagree, but I think he would have looked handsome in a bowtie!

I’m sure most pet owners would agree with me that our pets are more than just furry friends; they are family members. They spend most of their time keeping us calm, making us laugh, and loving us unconditionally (well, sometimes with a little help from food ;). When I’m documenting the wedding day, I always include a few photos of the family pets because I know how important they are to the couple and to the family.

Including a pet in the wedding festivities, specifically in the ceremony, has become a popular trend in recent years. The decision to include a beloved furry family member really depends, first and foremost, on his or her temperament. Pets who have a calm and easy-going nature, especially around a large number of people in new surroundings are ideal. For many pets, these conditions can be exciting, but also very stressful and overwhelming -- so many people to greet, things to smell and eat!

Also keep in mind that some venues do not allow for animals on the premises and some of your guests may have allergic reactions. If your pet cannot attend the ceremony there are other options you may want to consider. Here are a few suggestions:

1. Before the ceremony

Ask your photographer to include portraits of your pet prior to the ceremony. Your pet is most comfortable at home and will most likely be more relaxed while having his or her portraits taken. Also include a few wedding items, like the rings for example.


2. Photograph your pet’s photo

Sometimes it isn’t possible for your pet to be present on your wedding day. If you have a photo of your pet, ask your photographer to use it as a background.


3. The wedding day portraits

Having your pet at the portrait portion of your day is much less stressful, especially if the session is located in a quiet, familiar area. Ask a family member to care for your pet during this time so that you can move freely during the couple or individual portraits.


4. The First Look

The First Look is a private moment when a couple see each other for the first time before the wedding ceremony. This romantic and often emotional exchange usually takes place at a quiet location on the wedding day and can be an ideal setting if you would like to include your pet. Like the portrait session, have a family member ready and waiting to care for your pet after the exchange is over.


5. The invitations and decor

A great way to include your pets is to feature their image on the invitations, save-the-date magnet, stationary, cake topper or place settings.


6. The engagement session

An engagement session is usually a relaxed and fun session, and a great time to include your pets. You can also see how your pets interact with the photographer and new surroundings, especially if you are unsure about including them on the wedding day.


Including your pets on your wedding day can make for very memorable moments, whether they are physically present or featured in some way. I would love to hear your thoughts and suggestions about including pets on the wedding day!

Lori-Anne Crewe