How to Include Your Dog on your Elopement Day
Dogs are our best friends. They’re a part of the family. OF COURSE we want them to be part of this special occasion… but how? If you’re wanting to include your pup (or any pet for that matter) in your elopement or wedding… know this: YOU CAN DO IT! It just takes a bit of extra planning. Read on to learn just how to include your dog in your elopement day.
5 THINGS TO THINK ABOUT WHEN INCLUDING YOUR DOG IN YOUR ELOPEMENT
1. IS YOUR LOCATION DOG FRIENDLY?
This is (quite obviously) the first question you need to ask. When considering bringing your dog to your elopement, remember that not all venues, lodging, parks, or outdoor spaces allow them.
If your dog is not allowed on site, we can still get creative so that we can bring him/her/them into the celebration somehow! Or maybe they’re allowed on site but not allowed overnight. This would be a great time to look into a designated handler/walker to be in charge (friend, family or professional).
And if they ARE welcome at your elopement location - great! Just be sure to follow any leash laws and LNT policies!
2. CONSIDER YOUR DOG’S ACTIVITY LEVEL.
Your dog’s fitness is another big factor. Are you planning an adventure elopement that involves a long hike? Is your dog used to this type of activity? Is your dog mellow or hyper? Now isn’t the time to be trying something new just to get that mountain top sunset photo with your pup. His/her safety and comfort are just as important today as they are every day, and including your dog on your wedding day should be enjoyable for everyone involved!
3. WHAT SEASON ARE YOU PLANNING YOUR ELOPEMENT?
If you're going to include your dog on your elopement day, ask yourself if the weather is appropriate for them. Please, please, please consider the elements you might be dealing with before deciding to bring your dog along for the adventure.
Will it be too hot? Too cold? Is there access to water? What if it rains? What if it snows? How long will you be exposed to the elements? Will your dog like it? Will your dog get dirty? Would it be best to leave your dog at home? Think about the season that you’re planning your wedding and what extra things you might need to pack to make sure that everyone is happy and healthy!
3. HAVE SOMEONE ELSE BE IN CHARGE OF YOUR DOG
Designate a friend or hire someone to be your 'dog handler' for the day. This is one of the best things you can do on your wedding day (though not always necessary). If you’re sticking to a more traditional wedding, I highly suggest you hire someone (or designate a friend or family member) to exercise your dog in the morning so that when it comes time for getting ready, ceremony or group photos, we’re dealing with a calm and tired dog and not a high energy anxious pup.
Having a handler means that you can continue about your day, worry free, including your dog in the moments that make sense and not having to step away from the celebration to care for him/her yourself throughout the day. If you’re planning a private elopement, a handler isn’t always necessary, but it’s definitely a good idea to consider it as you work through the details of your day.
4. WILL YOUR DOG ACTUALLY ENJOY BEING INVOLVED?
Are you wanting to include your dogs on your elopement day because you love them so much and can’t imagine your day without them, even if it might be a bit stressful? Or are you bringing them along because they’ll be having the time of their life, too? Take some time to consider your dog’s behavior. Do they like crowds? Are they okay with loud noises? Do they enjoy the outdoors?
If the answer is no to most of the above questions, perhaps they'd be happier at home and you can schedule an adventure session or family session with your dog at a later date. Instead, let's think of fun ways to include your dog without needing to be present: bring a stuffed animal look-a-like or find a cake-topper that looks like him!
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Adventure Elopements + Intimate Weddings
vermont, new england and the wild west