Wedding Planning

Ask a Wedding Expert: What Should You Consider Before Including Your Dog in Your Wedding?

Jenifer Vickery, owner and head trainer at the Pawsitive Dog training facility in Boston, shares five pro tips.


Welcome to Ask a Wedding Expert, a series where local pros answer your most pressing wedding-planning questions. Have one of your own? Email rkashdan@bostonmagazine.com.

dog in your wedding

Photo via iStock.com/Julia Semenova

Your wedding day just wouldn’t be your wedding day without all of your loved ones present—and for many, that means Fido, too. He’s your best friend—and likely the guest who will look the most adorable in a tux—but including your pup in the big day will involve some extra preparation. With 20 years of experience, Jenifer Vickery, the owner and head trainer at the Pawsitive Dog training facility in Boston, has helped her fair share of dogs walk down the aisle. Read on for her tips on including your dog in your wedding—from getting your pooch adjusted to “formal attire” to training him to pose for photos.

The Question:

What should I consider before including my dog in my wedding?

Vickery’s Answer:

If your dream wedding day includes your dog, here are five tips that can help him say “I do” on his best behavior.

First, be honest. Does Fido have the personality to enjoy your big day, or will it just cause anxiety for both of you? Should he be part of the wedding party, simply make a guest appearance, or possibly sit this event out? Even if attending the wedding isn’t realistic, you can still include him in the pre-wedding photo shoots and announcements.

Next, if you’ve decided he’s ready to walk you down the aisle, a few dress rehearsals will help. Introduce his “formal attire” well in advance. The sooner his tux becomes an everyday accessory, the higher his comfort level will be at the ceremony.

Third, wedding day prep means reinforcing existing skills and teaching new ones simultaneously. If you expect him to walk down the aisle carrying a basket and then sit or lie down, you may need professional training and enough time to teach that skillset.

Fourth is practice. Train him to happily strike a pose alone, in crowds with friends, and with a photographer. Then, reward and repeat!

Finally, don’t overwhelm your dog. Designate a dedicated dog handler (someone who isn’t in the wedding party) to bring your bestie in just before photos begin and escort him back home after the ceremony.

With a little planning and realistic expectations, your wedding day can be the happiest day of your dog’s life, too!

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