Robin's French bulldog, Buckley, was the flower girl in her recent wedding. What a happy family!
Life’s short, bring your dog. At least that’s the philosophy I’ve adopted in my time at PetSafe. This was never truer than on June 2nd when my husband and I had a dog-friendly wedding. We didn’t just include our dog in the ceremony, we also encouraged our friends to bring their dogs.
The result was a unique and fun-filled experience for guests, those on two and four legs. If you love your dog even half as much as I love mine and you want a bit of whimsy in your wedding day or next event, consider these tips for making it pet-friendly.
Dogs Allowed or Welcomed There is a difference between a venue that allows pets and one that is truly pet-friendly (i.e. they actually cater to pets.) The more pet-centric a venue, the more fun you’ll have and the easier it will be to include dogs in the event. We were lucky enough have the PetSafe Dog Park in downtown Knoxville as our ceremony site, a restaurant venue (The Crown and Goose) that has a pet-friendly garden patio for the reception, and a dog-friendly hotel (the Crowne Plaza) for overnight guests, all within walking distance of each other.
Pet-friendly spots are prepared to host dogs and often go out of their way to ensure pets are comfortable. A dog park is an example of an ideal location for an outdoor pet-friendly wedding or event. Waste bags and water station are usually on-site, and the park's fencing is designed for the dogs’ security so everyone can relax and enjoy the experience. Plus, in Knoxville and in most of the dog parks I’ve visited, the scenery makes a beautiful setting for a special event.
Well-behaved wedding guests You may choose to let anyone bring their dog to your event or you may choose to include dogs by invitation only. Regardless of your method for selecting your canine attendees, it’s a good idea to set some guidelines for guests.
Encourage your guests to only bring dogs that are current on their vaccinations, in good health, and comfortable around many people, children and other dogs.
If you are having your dog in the ceremony like we did, I highly recommend training your dog to use a PetSafe Remote Trainer. You can both be leash-free but you have control in case your dog decides to get into mischief or “speak” when it’s time to hold their peace.
Remember, pets have different dietary needs. It’s a best practice to avoid giving dogs human food, especially if it isn’t your dog. This is even more important at an event where giving a dog food they aren’t familiar with could cause an upset tummy and its residual effects.
Consider posting a sign with a reminder such as “please do not feed the other wedding guests.” You may also want to make dog treats such as a Lickety Stik available for guests to give to dogs during the event and make sure that water is easily accessible.
Leave Tails Wagging One of the major reasons we have dogs is because they are entertaining, so let the spirit of your relationship with your dog set the tone for your event. There’s so much fun to be had from dressing your dog up, including dogs in theme of the event, even teaching them a special trick to include in the ceremony. If you get a little creative, you’ll find the possibilities are endless.
Your guests will remember this experience above any other wedding or event they attend this year. My husband and I are obviously dog-lovers so of course we want to see more events that include furry friends. A little planning and preparation can make having a dog-friendly wedding a huge success. If you’ve been trying to think of just the right personal touch to bring to your next event, make it pet-friendly. It’s too fun not to.
Have you had dreams of a dog-friendly wedding or event? Tell us all about it.
ABOUT ROBIN Robin Hawn is the Senior Brand Manager of the PetSafe Family of Brands for Radio Systems Corporation, head quartered in Knoxville, TN. She works to build a brand of products designed to give consumer more of the best moments they can possibly have with their pets. She has a MBA with a Marketing Emphasis, a B.A in English, and 10 years experience developing and launching marketing plans, brand strategy and PR campaigns across a variety of diverse industries. Her French bulldog Buckley typically logs the same hours at the office as Robin. She volunteers with the Most Pet Friendly Community initiative that has a mission of making Knoxville, TN the most pet friendly community in America.