Your dog is your first baby. You take them to daycare, to the park, to get their hair cut, and even parade with them like true Mardi Gras pooches! Since pets are part of their fur-ever family, many couples are increasingly choosing to include them in their wedding day. If you’re lucky enough to be able to have your animal as part of your ceremony or reception, there are a few factors to consider before springing for flower pup attire. It’s always best to first think of the comfort of the animal and their level of sociability. Will they be uneasy with a large number of strangers or with loud music? Are they well enough behaved to not lunge at guests or try to steal food?
Next, you should consider having a handler to assist with your pets on the wedding day. Angela Portera, owner of Puppy Love Daycare in Metairie, offers services for just such occasions. She is available to handle your pet prior to the wedding, including making sure they potty, have water, are dressed and there on time. She brings a bag of items including treats, travel water bowls, clean up bags & various other items that may come in useful during the day. She can either assist your pet down the aisle or act as the behind-the-scenes handler before and after they strut their stuff down the aisle. She can also take your pets back home, or to stay at Puppy Love, if you’d like them to participate but not party all night.
If your pets are social party animals and stay at the reception, plan to have a quiet space separate from the party for your pet to go to eat, drink or lay down for small breaks during the night. Having a crate, their bed or favorite toy can help ease their nerves if they are feeling a bit overwhelmed. When excited, many pets will get thirsty so make sure to let them drink plenty of water so they don’t get dehydrated. And lots of water means lots of potty breaks! If you don’t have a professional handler for the reception, plan to have a family member or friend who the pet is familiar with who can help take them outside and also get them home at the end of the night.
Finally, if you really want to go “doggone” wild, you may also consider incorporating your pet into your reception in other ways. Some couples forego a gift registry or favors and instead contribute to a local animal rescue group. Pet treats for guests to take home to their own pets get a cute New Orleans twist from Amis des Paux bakery, who offers themed treats like snowballs, red beans and Ponchatoula strawberries. Amis des Paux also offers special event gourmet cakes as well as cat treats. Their cakes come in individual or large sizes and are made with all natural, human quality ingredients that are not only pet safe but delectable, with your choice of flavors, icings and colors.
If your location does not allow animals, you might consider having your pets in your engagement photos, bridal portraits, or getting ready. You might also include your pet’s photo inside the ceremony program or display photos of them at the reception.
Rena is the owner of Alchemy Events, LLC, a full-service event planning service in New Orleans. She has nearly 20 years of experience as an independent event coordinator, and brings energy, creativity, and dedication to every project she oversees. She also believes in giving back to the community through her work with local animal rescue groups, often spearheading fundraising events for local animal charities.