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wedding ceremony with pets

How to Perform a Wedding Ceremony with Pets

For couples who consider their pets as family, including them in their wedding ceremony with pets can add a special personal touch. As the trend of pets in weddings grows, officiants increasingly need to know how to incorporate animals into the ceremony flow properly. Whether it’s dogs as ring bearers, cats walking down the aisle, or even llamas making a guest appearance, pets can be a delightful addition when handled thoughtfully.

 

As the officiant, ensuring pet participation goes smoothly is partly your job. This requires planning and preparation to ensure the pets are well-behaved, the logistics run seamlessly, and the focus remains on the couple saying “I do.”

 

In this comprehensive guide, we will explore everything you need to know as an officiant to perform a fantastic wedding ceremony with pets. From their roles to tips for keeping pets and guests safe and happy, you’ll learn how to pull off a meaningful ceremony that includes the couple’s nearest and dearest – human and furry.

 

What is a Wedding Ceremony with Pets?

wedding ceremony with pets is when the bride, groom, or both choose to have their pets play a role in the ceremony. This may include:

  • Dogs or cats as a ring bearer or flower girl
  • Pets sitting with their owners during the vows
  • Having pets walk down the aisle
  • Incorporating pets into the ceremony script

The pets are typically dogs or cats, but couples are getting more creative with animals like llamas, horses, birds, and even guinea pigs!

Including pets allows the couple to celebrate their love and commitment surrounded by all family members.

wedding ceremony with pets

Including Pets in a Wedding Ceremony

There are a few ways to perform a wedding ceremony with pets, which include:

  • Walk down the aisle – pets on a leash walk down the aisle, often escorted by an attendant
  • Ring bearer/flower pet – pets carry rings/flowers down the aisle in cute outfits
  • Sit with the couple – pets sit or lay by the couple during the ceremony
  • Mentioned in the script – officiant acknowledges pets in remarks
  • Family photos – pets included in formal ceremony photos

No matter their role, pets add a lighthearted and meaningful touch to the occasion.

As an officiant, discuss options with the couple and determine logistics like designated handlers and cues during the ceremony. Having a plan will ensure everything flows smoothly.

If you’re officiating a wedding with pets for the first time, read up on helpful tips in this guide on How to Officiate a Wedding For the First Time

Dogs in Wedding Ceremonies

Dogs are the most popular pets to include. Breeds like Golden Retrievers, Labradors, Corgis, and Cavalier King Charles Spaniels are very well suited for wedding duties.

Consider:

  • Training – Ensure dogs are obedient, socialized, and comfortable in public. Practice any special roles.
  • Temperament – low-key dogs do best in the excitement of a wedding. Puppies and high-energy dogs may get overwhelmed.
  • Logistics – Have a designated handler keep dogs out of the way during processional/recessional. Provide water bowls and grass for potty breaks.
  • Outfits – Dogs look adorable with a tuxedo, necktie, flowers, or veil. But avoid anything restricting movement or breathing.

Remember, the pets’ well-being is a top priority. Only include participant pets who will remain calm and happy.

Cats in Wedding Ceremonies

Cats can also participate in weddings, but their independent nature differentiates their role from dogs.

Ideal cat roles:

  • Walk down the aisle on a leash/in arms at the start of the processional
  • Sitting with couple – either held or on a pet bed/pillow nearby
  • Fun formal photos, like the cat as “ring bearer” or wearing a bow tie

Cats are typically not recommended for primary ceremonial duties like ring delivery. Their free-spirited personalities make them less likely to follow commands or walk down the aisle precisely on cue.

Work with the couple to determine a role that suits their cat’s demeanor and comfort level. Having a clear order of events will help make sure everything runs smoothly. Check out the Wedding Ceremony Program for a sample timeline.

Llamas in Wedding Ceremonies

Some couples opt for larger animals like llamas or horses for a truly unique pet presence. These exotic pets capture guests’ attention and interest.

Key considerations:

  • Ensure the venue allows large animals and has suitable facilities
  • Only work with experienced wranglers/handlers familiar with that specific animal
  • Plan the llama or horse’s role – walk down the aisle, backdrop during vows, etc.
  • Have a plan in case the animals get nervous or unruly.

Llamas look amazing dressed up with wreaths, garlands, and blankets. But steer clear of noisy bells that could startle them. Always put safety first when handling large animals.

dog ring bearer

Wedding Pet Attendant

For additional help managing pets, consider hiring a professional wedding pet attendant. They can:

  • Walk pets down the aisle and remove them discreetly after
  • Handle pets during the ceremony to prevent disruption
  • Care for pets’ needs like feeding, bathroom breaks, cleaning up accidents
  • Transport pets to and from the venue

This takes the workload off wedding party members so everyone can focus on the ceremony. Share plenty of details with the pet attendant beforehand so they can properly prepare.

One great option is to Contact a Professional Wedding Day Pet Chaperone, who provides trained pet attendants to handle wedding day duties.

Pets in Ceremony Script - Wedding Ceremony with Pets

As the officiant, it’s nice to acknowledge the pets’ presence with a line or two in your script:

“Harley and Barkley, your faithful companions for these last five years, are here to celebrate and bear witness as you embark on this new chapter together.”

This personalizes the ceremony for a couple who views their pets as family. But keep mentions brief so the focus remains on the couple and their commitment.

how to perform a wedding ceremony with pets

Tips for a Smooth Ceremony with Pets

To ensure your wedding with pets goes off without a hitch, keep these tips in mind:

  • Have a designated pet handler so the wedding party can focus on their roles.
  • Do a quick pet rehearsal to practice cues, movements, and outfits.
  • Set up water stations and grass patches for pet bathroom breaks.
  • Choose a low-key, well-behaved pet accustomed to crowds.
  • Have a backup plan if pets get anxious or disruptive during the ceremony.
  • Take formal photos with pets before the ceremony when they’re relaxed.
  • Provide pets with a quiet space to retreat to during cocktail hour.

With the proper planning and precautions, pets can be an excellent ceremony addition appreciated by all.

Special Touches for Pet-Friendly Weddings - Wedding Ceremony with Pets

From fun entrances to unique details, there are lots of ways to make pet attendees feel special:

  • Flower collar or necktie to match wedding colors
  • Signs with the pets’ names outside the ceremony space
  • Designated front-row pet seating on a bed or pillow
  • Personalized pet treat wedding favor bags for guests
  • “Best Dog/Cat of Honor” title for furry wedding party members
  • Pet-friendly wedding cake with dog biscuit topping

Get creative with the couple to showcase their pets in memorable ways. This adds meaningful personalization to make their wedding one-of-a-kind.

When handled thoughtfully, a wedding ceremony with pets can be a delightful addition to a wedding ceremony. With planning and preparation, you, as the officiant, can help the couple incorporate their furry friends meaningfully. Leaving with happy newlyweds and happy pets is the ultimate ceremony success!

Special Thanks

Photographer: Andy Mac Photography
Celebrant: Marry Us Gary

Wedding Ceremony with Pets

Gary is dedicated to ensuring that wedding officiants and wedding emcees like you excel in creating unforgettable wedding experiences! With a passion for celebrations, he is an enthusiastic, down-to-earth, and fun Wedding Celebrant and Professional Wedding MC, operating in Australia.
 
Count on Gary to provide expert guidance and a relaxed approach to help you deliver remarkable ceremonies and receptions. His goal is to empower you to curate the best possible wedding day for couples, where every detail is thoughtfully arranged, and the party atmosphere is electrifying!