01 Jun 2011

Dogs at Weddings

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With the wedding season in full swing, many of you brides-to-be will be planning what you hope to be the best day of your lives. So, what better way to enjoy your day than having your dog there to witness it. This isn’t for everyone, but if you want your best friend to celebrate with you, here’s how.

Checklist

The first thing is to ensure that this will not stress you or your dog out too much to enjoy the day. Here is a checklist for a stress free wedding involving your dog.

1.     Check that your registrar or priest is happy for you to have your dog there.

2.     Check that your venue allows dogs inside and out, and not just in the hotel bedroom.

3.     Have a designated dog sitter; this person can keep an eye on your pooch throughout so you don’t have to.

4.     Is your dog good with crowds, strangers and children, if not, it may be too much for him.

5.     Take him or her home before the reception, the noise of a band and rowdy people dancing will result in a stressed out puppy.

6.     Discuss this with your fiancé; you don’t want him not to be on board with this plan.

7.     If your venue is not a hotel or you are going elsewhere for the night that will not take dogs, your dog will need a place to sleep for the night.

8.     Train your dog before hand; ensure that if he is carrying rings he has done it before so it is not a completely new experience. If he is walking you down the aisle, practice at home.

9.     Can your dog sit through a ceremony, will he bark or fuss? If he will, consider the impact this will have.

Venue

You can either book a dog friendly venue or book a venue and ask whether they will allow dogs and in which areas of the venue. For many venues, this will vary on whether you are having your wedding inside or out. It is up to you which way round you do this. However, if you have your heart set on a venue, you may have to give up having your dog around if they won’t allow it.

Many women do not just want to have their pooch around on their big day but also give them a role. The most obvious choice for your dog is a ring bearer. To do this, attach the rings to a cushion which is in turn attached to a collar or your dog itself using ribbon, or, if you are feeling brave, in his mouth (only for the well trained dog). Other roles can include walking the bride down the aisle, a pageboy or bridesmaid.

Clothing

So, now you have picked a venue, chosen a role and trained your dog ready for the big day you need to make she he looks the part. However, do make sure your dog is comfortable in what you dress him in so you don’t cause him unnecessary stress. The choices with clothing are endless. Your dog can wear a bow tie or full tux, even a dress. Flowers can be used in a wreath around their neck (loosely of course), or in their collar. A nice new pretty collar will add some extra glam to help them look good.

Having your dog share your big day can be a blessing and for some a necessity. However, follow the checklist to ensure a stress free day and remember to not make your dog unnecessarily uncomfortable.

Venues that accept dogs

Eastnor Castle – www.eastnorcastle.com

Based in Herefordshire, Eastnor Castle is a stately home that boasts its friendliness towards dogs. Dogs are allowed in both the home and the grounds on a lead.

Rydon Inn – www.rydon-inn.com

This is a restaurant in Devon that allows well-behaved dogs.

Ivy House Country Hotel – www.ivyhousecountryhotel.co.uk

This is a hotel in Suffolk that allows well-behaved dogs on leads. The only catch is a charge of £15

Down Hall Country House Hotel – www.downhall.co.uk

For a £5 charge, this hotel in Hertfordshire will allow dogs. This hotel boasts that it is one of the friendliest dog hotels in the UK. On arrival, each dog receives a welcome pack including a bowl and doggy do’s and dont’s to ensure a good stay.

Tulloch Castle Hotel – www.oxfordhotelsandinns.com/OurHotels/TullochCastle

This hotel, based in Highland, Scotland, has no charges for dogs coming to stay; the venue is both a castle and a hotel providing the perfect background for a wedding.

Brynafon Hotel – www.brynafon.co.uk

This hotel in Powys, Wales has select dog friendly rooms.

For all of these venues, it is essential that you call/email and confirm that your dog will be allowed in the venue during the ceremony and reception, not just the bedrooms.

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