Article kindly provided by Langley Castle Hotel.
From school friends and work colleagues to relatives scattered across the country, there are many people you may wish to invite to your special event. But in recent years, there has been a rise in couples incorporating another well-loved pal into their big day: their pet.
52% of UK adults own an animal, so it is no surprise that more and more cats and pooches are getting the chance to take part in their nuptial celebrations. Indeed, it has been revealed that one in ten Brits now actively involve their four-legged companions in their wedding day. What’s more, pets are an integral part of the family, so bringing them along is gradually becoming a natural, heartfelt choice.
Here, we take a look at some of the ways to include your faithful friend in your wedding celebration, while touching upon aspects to remember if you decide to invite them to party.
Walk down the aisle together
One of the most memorable scenes of a wedding is when the bride finally makes an appearance as she elegantly struts down the aisle. As the notes of Wagner’s or Mendelssohn’s wedding march play in the background, there is no hiding that guests will struggle to conceal a few tears. To make the iconic moment even more special, you may choose to have your furry companion accompany you to the altar.
Alternatively, if you want to venerate your pooch alongside your bridesmaids and groomsmen, you may want to arrange a separate processional for them. For instance, they could be your very own ring-bearer and precede the exchange of the all-important vows. You could also attach a light GoPro to your dog’s back to capture a truly unique perspective of your wedding ceremony.
Give your pet a role
Your faithful friend is likely to have been there for you through all the ups and downs. Why not reward them by allowing them to stand by your side and witness your first kiss as a married couple? They would certainly make the perfect pooch of honour!
There are also many other roles you could entrust to your four-legged friend on your special day. One of them could be to greet your guests on arrival. If you have a confident pet, they will love welcoming your attendees and receiving endless, loving pats. A waggly reception is bound to put a smile on your family and friends’ faces too!
Arrange picture opportunities with them
Wedding albums are a possession you will cherish forever. In fact, photos are the perfect opportunity to immortalise special moments with your better half and your jubilant guests. As the years go by, leafing through the images will invoke happy memories, and you will end up looking back at the ceremony with teary eyes.
If you are planning to incorporate your pet in your wedding celebration, make sure they do not miss out on a photo shoot with you and your spouse. It may be wise to notify your photographer too, so they can come up with creative ideas from the outset. Based on your location, you will be able to capture sweet pictures with different stunning backdrops. If you have organised a Northumberland wedding, for instance, you can pick from an array of beautiful, natural spots.
Let your pet join your ‘first dance’
Another pivotal moment of most weddings is the couple’s first dance as husband and wife. This could be anything from a slow, sentimental waltz to a livelier salsa, samba, or show-stopping dance routine.
If you need an extra dancer to join your choreography, you may want to consider including your pet. If they are playful by nature, they will enjoy a boogie with their newly-wed parents! In this respect, you could start practising beforehand. Browse through some YouTube videos in the lead-up to the ceremony and find the inspiration you need.
Set up a stand for charity donations
An alternative way to make your pet an integral part of your celebrations is to invite guests to make a charity donation to an animal shelter rather than a traditional wedding gift. If you found your four-legged friend through a rescue or rehoming charity, setting up a stand or a specific fundraising page would be a meaningful step to take.
In exchange for your fundraising, the chosen charity may even be able to print themed cards for you using a picture of your pet. You may want to leave them on the tables and include details on how attendees can donate a little something to your chosen animal shelter.
Things to keep in mind
Having your beloved pet by your side on your big day will certainly fill you with joy. But it is also important to make sure that your four-legged companion enjoys the event as much as you, your better half, and your many other attendees. Here are a few things to bear in mind if your pooch, cat, or other furry friend is on the guest list:
- Hire a pet-sitter – It may be wise to find a reliable pet-sitter in the area who can take care of your pet during the event. Weddings can also be very exhausting, so your loyal friend may need time and space to relax and snooze. Whether that’s going home or finding a calm room in the venue, a pet-sitter can ensure your pet is properly looked after throughout the day.
- Be conscious about treats – If your pet joins you for your celebratory lunch or dinner, there is a chance that guests will be tempted to offer them a taste of your wedding menu. Make sure to give guests a heads-up that treating your four-legged friend with human food is not the best of ideas, as some things may not be safe for animal consumption.
- Pick plants and flowers carefully – Animals are curious creatures and may end up munching on odorous plants and flowers. When picking your bouquet and flower arrangements, have a careful think about what to include. Some flowers, such as lilies, are toxic to cats, so avoid them if you want your kitten to take part in the celebrations.
- Consider clothes and temperature – It is only natural to want to dress up your pet for the occasion. Some pooches will not mind wearing an elegant, miniature tuxedo for a little while. Others, however, will find it extremely uncomfortable from the start. Ultimately, your pet’s well-being should always be your priority, so opt for more lightweight garments to keep them happy throughout the ceremony.
Pets are special members of the family. As such, you may rightly want them by your side as your tie the knot with your spouse.
From walking down the aisle together to making them your pooch of honour and ‘first dance’ partner, there are many ways to include your furry friend in the celebrations. With a few precautions, you can ensure your big ceremony will be an enjoyable day for your pet as well.
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