How to Include Your Dog in your Wedding—Dog-friendly elopement ideas
How to Include Your Dog in your Wedding—Dog-Friendly Elopement Ideas
Baby talk nicknames that make absolutely no sense to anyone else who might overhear you lovingly coo to your four-legged-dog-child.
No matter what you call the canine love of your life, there’s no denying the bond between you and your scruffy little sidekick.
Pups are important (and adorable) members of your family that pawsitively mean the world to you (disclaimer: we’ll try not to fill this post with dog puns, but don’t be mad at us if a few slip out).
Your dog is a huge part of your life, so, it makes sense that when the time comes for you to say yes to one of the biggest decisions you’ll ever make—you know, pledging your life, heart, and future to another person—you probably want them to be a part of that.
Listen, we don’t blame you.
Sure, we might be professional adventure elopement photographers with years of experience, but we’re so much more than that, too—we’re dog moms.
We get it.
To us, it makes sense you’d want to include the light of your life in your special day, and one of the most beautiful things about adventure elopements is that you have the freedom to (pretty much) incorporate your pup however you want to!
Whether you want your pooch to be front and center while you say your vows, as part of your wedding party in your elopement ceremony, or simply want your pup there with you in spirit during your elopement, there’s always a unique way to make it happen.
(PS: Prepare to melt into a puddle over these adorable elopement photos filled with pooches!)
How to Include Your Dog in Your Wedding
We always encourage our couples to do exactly what they want on their just us day—including how you want your pup involved in your elopement.
That being said, we always like to provide some past inspo for couples who might need a creative kick start.
Check out a few of our favorite ways we’ve seen couples incorporate their pooches into their elopement day!
Best Dog + Dog of Honor
A traditional wedding day is probably a far-fetched idea for you in the first place (we’re not sorry about the dog puns, okay), so why not go all out by including your pup as part of your wedding party.
Seriously, we’ve seen this done and we think it’s absolutely adorable.
Traditionally, the best man or the maid of honor stands next to the bride or groom on their special day as a support system—a surety that lets that person know they’re on-board with their choice and that they’re there for them.
Why couldn’t this be your dog’s job? That’s what they do best anyway, right?
Dubbing your doggo the Best Dog or the Dog of Honor is always an option—even if, for some reason, you can’t bring your doggo with you to your elopement spot.
We can help you capture a little mini-ceremony with your doggo of honor or best fluffball before or after your official elopement ceremony.
We were lucky enough to capture photos for an awesome couple who wanted to elope in some gorgeous sand dunes but didn’t want to leave their pups out of their whole experience—that’s where the honorary titles came in.
The couple carved out a portion of their morning to spend time with their furballs, have their coffee with them, feed them peanut butter (which we didn’t hate watching), and enjoy part of their elopement day with the two little buddies that mattered most to them.
Ring Barker or Flower Dog
We’re already on board with having a Best Dog or a Dog of Honor, so you can bet we’re going to be on board about having your dog as your Ring Barker or your Flower Dog (for those who don’t speak adorable puppy lingo, that’s the dog ring bearer and the flower girl).
Want your pup to carry a basket of flowers for you? Go for it. Want your doggo to present you with the rings during your elopement ceremony? Do that! Want your pup in an all-out dog wedding outfit? Perfect.
Your pup is a part of your family, and if you want them to be a big piece of your elopement—whether it’s the ceremony, the getting ready, or the party after your elopement—you can definitely do that.
We’re about to blow your mind with this one—if you’re planning on getting married in Colorado, you’re doggo can sign as your wedding witness on your actual marriage license.
We’re not kidding.
It’s one of the greatest things about Colorado’s self-solemnizing marriage law.
Can’t you just picture it?
Whether it’s an adorable paw print signature from your fur-baby or just a simple sign of their name permanently marking your marriage license, we absolutely love this way to include your dog in your wedding day.
(As a note, this is, obviously, specific to states where you can self-solemnize and don’t actually need officiants or witnesses to officially marry you! Make sure this is totally acceptable where you plan to get married before you commit to this idea!)
Include them in Your Vows
Sometimes, having your pup physically with you during your elopement ceremony simply isn’t feasible.
Whether they’re not able to travel with you or aren’t permitted in the location you plan to get married, roadblocks can definitely pop up. That being said, you don’t have to ditch the idea of including your pooch in your elopement ceremony!
You can always include your doggo in your vows that you read or recite to your partner during your ceremony.
Whether you plan to write your vows on the back of a photo of your dog (which we’ve seen and we love), draw pictures of your pup in your vow books (again—seen it, love it), or simply want to make sincere, genuine promises to your partner about your animals in your vows, we say go for it!
Remember, it’s your elopement. It’s all about what you and your partner want and there’s no wrong way to go about this.
That means if you want to write your heartfelt, genuine, and permanent vows on the back of a puppy pic or want to promise that you’ll always be the one to feed Fido in your vows, that should absolutely be a part of your day.
You’re a dog parent, so you’ve definitely wondered (at least once) what everything is like from your pup’s perspective. Wouldn’t it be something to understand what they’re thinking and seeing on a really special day—perhaps, on your elopement day?
If this is something you’re already thinking about then do we have an idea for you.
Enter Doggo Vision.
That’s right, we’re talking about strapping a Go Pro to your dog for the day so that they can film the whole elopement from their perspective.
Sure, you’re probably going to get some choppy shots or some out-of-focus video, but who cares! You’ll have an entire day on video of your dog’s perspective of your wedding day—what’s more adorable and meaningful than that?
As professional elopement photographers, we’re going to be really upfront with how we feel about having another camera capturing your elopement day—please, please do this.
FaceTime Your Pup
We understand that sometimes circumstances can keep your pup from attending your elopement day, no matter how much you want them there— sometimes there are just situations where your pup can’t come along (travel issues, location restrictions, etc.).
That doesn’t mean you have to miss out on seeing your pup on your elopement day.
Technology is a beautiful thing for a lot of reasons, and in this case, it’s a great way for you to connect with your pup on your special day.
FaceTime, it makes the world go ‘round.
If your day would be made extra special by seeing your pup on your elopement day, don’t be afraid to video chat with your pup! We’ve seen couples do it and it’s always a sweet, sentimental, and adorable moment.
Dog in the Details
Whether your pup is in attendance on your elopement day or not, it’s never a bad idea to throw their likeness into your elopement day details.
We’ve seen couples do this in all sorts of ways.
From cuff links with your dog’s face on them to lockets you wear with a photo of your dog to tying your dog’s favorite bandanna on your hiking backpack, there are infinite ways to make your dog a part of your big day.
Oh, and a dog cake topper never hurt anybody, either.
(Look at how cute this is).
Doggo Advice: Dog Regulations + Safety Tips
If you’re planning to bring your pooch along with you during your adventurous elopement, make sure you’re picking a spot where dogs are absolutely allowed. If leaving your pup behind for your elopement ceremony isn’t an option, you’ll want to check the specific rules and guidelines your desired location has about dogs.
As a side note, most national parks have pretty strict rules on where dogs are allowed to be.
If you’re wanting to include your pooch in your elopement but can’t necessarily bring him to the ceremony, consider doing a small ceremony with your pup before you head out to hike to your elopement spot.
Bringing your dog into the wilderness always adds on some additional risks (it’s just the nature of being out in the wild), but there are ways to help mitigate those risks, too.
We definitely encourage you to do tons of research on this topic (especially about the location you’re planning to bring your dog), but we’ve laid out a few starting tips for keeping your pup, yourselves, and the wildlife safe when bringing your dog out into nature:
Pack it out—leave no poop behind. Leaving your dog’s waste behind isn’t just messy, it can also be damaging for the plants and animals that call that area home. If your pup pops a squat, make sure you’re cleaning it up and packing it out.
Know the regulations before you go! There are tons of areas that might not let you bring your pup (these rules typically exist for good reasons).
Confirm your pup is up-to-date on his shots.
Bring plenty of water and some pup-snacks (make sure your pup isn’t leaving these snacks behind and drawing in wildlife).
Protect the paws. Planning to hike in the snow? Is the terrain rocky? Equip your pup with some paw protection!
Pack a little pup first-aid-kit if you’re planning a lengthy adventure.
If your doggo isn’t totally voice-trained (or if the trail or location specifies), make sure you keep them on a secure, but comfortable leash at all times.
Some Helpful Elopement Gear for Your Pup
If you’re planning to bring your pup along for your elopement day, you’ll need to make sure they’re totally equipped to tag along with whatever you have planned. Here are a few of our recommendations
Customized Dog Swag (bandannas, flower collars, bow ties, oh my!)
Want to dress your pup in a tux or a little bow tie? Do that.
Want to buy your pup a customized bandanna for your big day? That’s a great idea, too!
No matter what you choose, just make sure that if you’re putting something on your pup, they’re either totally okay to wear it or you have a way to carry it to and from your location. The last thing you want is your pup to ditch his beautiful bow tie somewhere in the woods.
No matter how you choose to elope, you can always find special, meaningful ways to include your pup in your elopement day. Whether you want them standing right beside you on your big day so you can score a big, sloppy dog-kiss (after you kiss your new spouse, of course) or you want something of theirs incorporated in your ceremony, there are plenty of ways to make sure your pup has a presence in your big day.
And remember, no one gets this more than us—we did mention we’re all dog moms, right?
We’re Maddie Mae, Amber, & Tori—adventure elopement photographers and guides based in Colorado and Washington. We’d be honored to help you plan the elopement of your dreams. As experienced elopement photographers, we can promise you a create and unique way to fully capture your elopement experience, as well as be helpful guides that can answer all your adventure elopement questions (like how to include your dog in your elopement!) We can’t wait to help you start planning your special just us day.
DON’T LET YOUR ELOPEMENT become a product of the wedding industry—do what you want to do! Let us help you craft the most meaningful, unique JUst Us day possible.
We're Maddie Mae, Amber, & Tori. We are adventurous elopement photographers & guides based in Colorado that travel worldwide to help fearless couples like you create your unforgettable, wildly different wedding experience—that is completely yours.
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