Can You Include Your Dog in Your Wedding Ceremony?

As a devoted dog parent, you’re most likely considering including your dog in your wedding ceremony. If that’s true, you’re not alone.

According to a report by Rover, 81% of pet parents want to make their four-legged friend a part of the occasion on their big day. Regarding the practicality of the decision, you’d be delighted to know that 45% of dog parents who have already wedded made their dog a part of the social occasion.

Can you include your dog in your wedding ceremony for a city hall wedding in San Francisco? We’ll cover all the details below.

A dog wearing a bow tie.

San Francisco City Hall Rules About Dogs

If you’re planning to get married in San Francisco in the city hall, you should keep in mind that you’re only legally allowed to bring your emotional support dog into the building since the city hall is always full of people and kids who are there for other reasons.

However, this doesn’t mean you can’t make your furry friend a big part of your special occasion anymore.

Many people wed at the city hall but host the reception elsewhere. If this is your plan, you can still include your dog in your wedding ceremony. We’ll cover all the key details you need to keep in mind below.

Important Considerations Before You Go Ahead

Some important factors you should consider before adding your dog to your wedding plan include the following.

Find a Dog-Friendly Reception Location

The first thing you should do is to find a venue that allows pets. When you find one, review any rules they have about bringing your dog to the ground. Some will recommend using a leash, cleaning up after your pet, and more. Cover all the details before you sign the dotted line.

Ensure Your Dog Is Up for the Occasion

What is your dog’s general temperament? Are they aggressive or friendly? Will they make a lot of noise during the event? How do they act around food and strangers? You should only include your dog in your wedding plans if they are well-behaved and can understand basic commands. It’s the only way to ensure your dog will add color to the day instead of distracting everyone. If you’re unsure about your dog’s disposition, don’t include them in your wedding plan. And no, a couple of weeks of training won’t help.

Ensure You’re Truly Up for the Demands

Dogs at weddings make for classic wedding pictures. However, incorporating one into the occasion takes some planning. Don’t include your dog in your wedding if it will cause unnecessary stress for you and your partner.

Inform Your Friends and Family

As a dog owner, you don’t need any further education on the fact that not everyone will be comfortable with having your furry friend around. Some of your guests may be ecstatic about having your dog (who they probably know already) around, while others will want to keep their distance.

Sometimes, those keeping their distance from your dog do it to avoid allergic reactions. Therefore, it’s important to communicate beforehand (perhaps via the invite) that your dog will be a part of the ceremony. This will allow your guests to better prepare themselves.

Top Ways To Include Your Dog in the Wedding Ceremony

Now you’ve decided to include your pet, you have to decide what approach you want to take.

Some of the top options include the following.

Make Him a Ring Bearer

You can dress your dog in a special outfit with a small pouch. Put the rings in the pouch and have your dog walk down the aisle with a bridesmaid or a groomsman.

According to a report by Many Pets, 37% of people who added their dog to the festivities made them ring bearers. However, you may have to skip this if you already exchanged your vows (and rings) at the city hall.

Your Pawfect Flower Girl or Boy

Who says you can’t make your furry friend your flower boy or girl? You can install a flower pack on your dog, allowing them to scatter flower petals as they walk you to the stage or your seating area.

A Special Dog of Honor

You can name your dog in the wedding invite as a dog of honor and have him walk you and your partner down the aisle. This is the most popular option among dog owners, as 40% chose it in the Many Pets survey mentioned above.

A Special Wedding Mascot

If it’s not practical to include your dog in the main event, you can include him in some of the wedding photographs. It’s a fantastic way to immortalize the memory of your furry friend for years to come.

Other Ways To Make the Day a Resounding Success

To ensure everything goes smoothly on your big day, here are a few things you should keep in mind.

Don’t Forget To Schedule a Pre-Wedding Grooming Session

You want your dog to look great on the big day. Don’t get so lost in your preparations that you forget about their appearance. Ideally, you should groom, trim, and bath them a day or two before the event. On the event day, you may need to bathe and dry them if necessary.

Plan for a Dog Sitter

You’ll be pretty busy on your wedding day. Therefore, you’ll need someone to act as your dog’s handler throughout the day. Ideally, you should choose someone the dog is already used to. The pet sitter will provide them with water and food, handle potty breaks, and keep them engaged.

Don’t Forget To Pack Essentials

Some things to include in the bag include snacks, a collar or harness, water, medications, waste bags, and other essentials.

At City Hall Wedding, we are always happy to answer any questions you might have about your wedding.

Do you want to learn more about including your dog in the wedding ceremony? Do you want to learn more about getting married without a marriage license in San Francisco? Contact us to book a consultation.