FUR-EVER IN LOVE
When it comes to your special day, the inclusion of your pet can create an incredible moment between you and your favourite furry companion. Annie Slevison speaks to marriage celebrant Romy Pritchard from RDP Enterprise Solutions about the rise of pet-friendly weddings.
The idea of walking down the aisle to the love of your life is one of the best feelings in the world. You’re surrounded by family and friends as you stride towards your partner, but how wonderful would it be if your beloved pet was there to celebrate with you? Western Australia Wedding & Bride Summer Expo explores the many ways in which you can incorporate your furry friend into the celebrations.
THE PLACE TO BE
Your wedding day should reflect your unique personalities and showcase the things you love most as a couple, which is why many brides and grooms are opting to include pets in their ceremonies. Animal lovers are swooping at the chance to have their furry friend by their side, and for some couples, the idea is one without question. “Pets are a part of the family,” says Pritchard. “There are definitely some couples who are interested in making their fur child a part of the ceremony.”
Pritchard notes that the inclusion of pets has been increasingly requested over the last five years, and many venues are now catering to this desire. The most important thing to do when scoping out possible ideas for a pet-friendly ceremony is clear clarification from the venue itself. Be sure to find out if your particular type of pet is welcome on the property, and if there are any restrictions that you and your animal must follow.
While many venues are more than happy to accommodate your furry friend, they will likely have guidelines to adhere by. There are usually areas of the venue where your pet won’t be allowed to go, or they must be on a lead at all times. It is always best to check with the venue and have these requirements clarified in advance to save you from any future awkward conversations or mishaps on the day.
Don’t be disheartened if your pet is not allowed inside your dream venue, as there are many ways you can still incorporate your animal into the day. Pritchard, who has worked with many couples wishing to involve their furry friend in the celebrations, suggests hosting the wedding in a pet-friendly location such as a backyard or park.
Having photos together with your pet prior to the wedding, or including them on the invites, is another lovely way to honour their importance in your life. You can also acknowledge your furry friend during the ceremony within a speech, especially if they are a part of how you and your partner met!
The inclusion of pets on your wedding day is a beautiful nod towards their loving company, but it needs to be met with consideration as to how the day can run smoothly when bringing an animal on board. Tackling the unpredictability of a pet in a new environment can be managed by familiarising it with the venue beforehand. Try taking your pet to rehearsals and letting the area become known to them to ensure there’ll be limited surprises on the big day.
When dealing with a pet, it is important to remember its individual personality; each animal has its own temperament and some handle social events better than others. If your furry friend is the excitable type, Pritchard recommends leaving them with someone who they trust and can be controlled by. “Using a pet sitter can be useful… have a family member or friend look after the pet,” she says. This will ensure your pet will be on its best behaviour during the ceremony and everyone can enjoy the presence of your beloved furry friend.
If you’re unable to provide your pet with a watchful partner for the day, there are trainers and companies available that provide such a service. However, Pritchard also believes that if your pet is not happy in the situation, save yourself the added responsibility on your wedding day. “Having a pet with you on your special day can be a wonderful experience, however think of the animal and what is best for [it],” she says.
Having your pet involved in your wedding is a touching tribute, but it’s important to acknowledge the potential risks involved with having them there. In order to guarantee effortless movement of your big day, consider how your animal will react to being around lots of people and noise. It is also essential to notify guests that your pet will be at the ceremony so you have time to amend any issues that may arise from this. “My advice would be to somehow let people know, whether it be via the invite, an additional message or a call to those invited,” Pritchard says.
The ways in which you can include your pet in your wedding are endless; you may want your furry friend to be the ring bearer, bridesmaid or best man, in the car on the way to the ceremony, or in the photos after the ceremony. A cute way to involve your beloved pet is to have it as a second videographer – attach a GoPro to its head so you can capture your wedding from its point of view!
Letting your pet partake in your wedding may not only complete the whole occasion, but it’s also a wonderful way to highlight its importance in your life. Just remember to be understanding of your pet and the people involved in the wedding.
Image credit: Kevin McGinn Photographer