Dog wedding tips – How to plan a dog friendly elopement

Your fur baby is a part of the family – so it’s hard to imagine Fido’s parents tying the knot and leaving him at home! If you want to include your pup in your wedding day, you’ll need to plan ahead, as there are some extra considerations when planning a dog friendly elopement! 

Here are some tips for including your dog in your wedding day, and things to think about when planning a dog friendly elopement.

Eloping with your dog

1) Choosing a Dog Friendly Elopement Location

One of the most important aspects of bringing your dog along when you get married is finding a dog friendly elopement location! Some outdoor parks and recreation areas don’t allow dogs, and others have strict rules about where they can and can’t go. For example, French national parks typically aren’t very dog friendly, so you’ll likely need to find alternate locations! On All Trails, you can filter trails and parks by dog friendliness, which can help you narrow down your options.

A) Distance From Home

One thing you’ll need to think about when it comes to choosing a dog friendly elopement location is how far you can travel with your dog! Most likely, you won’t want to board a plane if you’re bringing your dog along for your wedding day, so the place you choose to elope will need to be driving distance away!

Each dog is different, so make sure to take into consideration any needs or quirks that your particular dog has. If your pup doesn’t like long car rides, you might be more limited with location options.

B) Your Dog’s Fitness and Experience

Allowing dogs isn’t the only requirement for your elopement location – you’ll also need to make sure that your dog is safe and happy! If your pup is older (or too young), a long, strenuous hike may be too much for them to handle. And just like humans, your dog needs to have some experience before setting off on a long trek, to make sure that they can physically handle it.

C) Your Dog’s Personality

Another important aspect of bringing your dog along for your wedding day is their personality. If you have a happy-go-lucky, go with the flow kind of pup, you probably won’t have to worry too much! But if your dog is nervous around new people or fearful in new places, you might consider eloping somewhere familiar, or somewhere more remote where there aren’t too many people around.

It can also be a good idea to take your dog to the elopement location ahead of time, so that they can get used to it before the big day. Overall, your elopement location needs to be dog friendly, but it also needs to be your dog friendly!

Dog friendly elopement location

2) Giving Your Dog a Role in Your Elopement

There’s nothing cuter than a doggy ring bearer – and on your elopement day, you can give your pup a job to do! This can be carrying your water up on the hike, or holding your rings until the ceremony. On Etsy, you can find little pillows with clips for the rings, or collar attachments for your dog to safely transport the rings.

If your dog is easy going and will let you dress them up, getting them an elopement outfit can be super cute! It can be something simple, like a bowtie or a fancy collar, and you can also ask your florist to make a matching floral collar for your pup. I recommend getting your dog a leather leash, or one that’s plain black or brown, because this will look much better in photos than the typical nylon or retractable dog leashes.

3) Designate Someone to Watch the Dog

If you’re having guests at your elopement, it can be a good idea to have someone in charge of the dog! That way all your attention can be on each other, and you won’t have to worry about the pup. Designate one person to hold the leash, and give them some treats to give your dog throughout the day.

You can also consider having one of your guests take your pup after the ceremony, if you want to go off for some photos without worrying! You know your dog best, so if they’re not well behaved or they’re going to want to say hello to everyone you see, it can be easier to spend some of the day with your dog, and some time just the two of you. 

Eloping with your dog - think about the weather

4) Think About the Weather

When you’re planning a dog friendly elopement, it’s important to think about weather! Dogs with a heavy fur coat can be more sensitive to heat, and on the other hand, dogs can get chilly, so it’s important that your elopement location and the season are dog appropriate. If it’s snowing, or if the ground is going to be hot, some booties can keep your dog’s paws safe! Pack a doggy jacket or a cooling vest just in case, and be prepared for whatever weather you and your pooch will encounter on the elopement day.

5) Bring the Essentials

You’ll have to pack a few extra things when your dog is attending your wedding! Think about food, water, a bowl, treats, poop bags, jackets and booties, and anything else your pup might need throughout the day. You can get them a backpack so that they can carry their own supplies!

For food and water, be sure to pack extra – just like when humans hike! It’s always better to be over prepared than to not have something you need.

How to elope with your dog

6) Learn About Leave No Trace

Leave No Trace is important anytime you explore the outdoors, and with your pup, you need to take extra precautions! To protect wildlife and plant life, be sure to keep your dog on a leash and keep them on the trail. Pack out anything you bring in, including poo bags, and get familiar with the Leave No Trace rules of your specific elopement location.

7) Hire a Dog Friendly Elopement Photographer

If you’re ready to start planning, hire a dog friendly elopement photographer! I create customized location recommendations for all of my couples, and can help find the perfect dog friendly spot. Plus, I’m ready to give your dog all the love on your elopement day!
Ready to get started? Contact me!

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