We’ve all seen the adorable pictures of dogs carrying engagement rings around their necks or “holding up” a sign as the ring bearer at a wedding. People bringing their dogs into weddings and engagements makes for some “aww-worthy” moments. But, for all of the benefits, there are some challenges to consider, too.
For many couples, their dog is a crucial part of the family. Dogs can help to relieve stress, motivate you to stay healthy, and provide companionship when you need it most.
So, if your four-legged friend is important in your life, including them in your proposal or ceremony might seem like a natural fit. If you’re considering it, let’s cover some of the pros and cons, as well as ways you can incorporate your dog safely and with the right kind of etiquette.
Make Sure They’re Not a Distraction
If you’ve been considering using your dog for your proposal, you might already have a cute plan in place. But, it’s important not to let that “cuteness” overshadow the meaning of the proposal itself.
If your dog can sit still and isn’t going to go chasing after a seagull on the beach while you’re down on one knee, you should be okay. Make sure they’re well-behaved enough for you to practice proper proposal etiquette, including:
- Starting with a pre-proposal speech
- Rehearsing (but not too much!)
- Getting down on one knee at the right time
- Staying on one knee until you get a response
On your wedding day, the same rules for your dog apply. They should enhance the experience, not distract from it. Having your dog walk down the aisle or even stand upfront with you is a great way to include them and bring your new family together.
But, it might not be realistic for them to stay for a reception that follows – especially if you’re planning on eating and dancing. You don’t want to be distracted by having to care for your dog all night. If you want your pet included, make sure you have someone who can take care of them on-site or someone willing to take them home.
Take Your Dog’s Needs Into Consideration
No matter how beautiful they are, weddings are often stressful. Even for the couple getting married, everything from planning every detail to butterflies about the actual ceremony can cause overwhelming feelings. Dogs can help to reduce that stress even just by sleeping with them. Studies have shown that dogs typically don’t disturb sleep quality. They can actually help with a variety of health conditions, including:
- High blood pressure
Sharing your bed with your furry friend a few nights before the big day can get your circadian rhythms back on track and calm your nerves, so you’ll be well-rested for the wedding.
Even though your dog might be able to keep you calm before and on your big day, make sure you’re keeping their health in mind, too. Research has shown that 70% of dogs display some type of anxiety.
You know your dog and its personality. If you think attending a wedding ceremony would be too much for them, consider their well-being and opt to leave them at home where they feel secure. If you do plan to have them around all day, bring some of their favorite toys, a t-shirt of yours, or even their bed from home so they can rest. Having familiar belongings and smells around can give them a sense of comfort and alleviate their anxiety.
Include Your Dog Safely
Can you include your best furry friend in your proposal or wedding day? Absolutely. Are there better ways than others to make that happen? Of course. The most important thing to keep in mind is not overwhelming your dog and making sure they don’t distract or disrupt the meaning of either event.
When it comes to making your dog part of your ceremony, there are plenty of cute ways to get them involved. Try a few of the following ideas:
- Have them walk you down the aisle
- Include them in wedding photos (a great way to include them quickly to create memories that will last forever!)
- Dress them up in “formal” attire
- Give them a job as a ring bearer
It’s also a good idea to spend some more casual, one-on-one time with your dog on your wedding day. There will be people around them all day – some more familiar than others. You’ll keep them calm and have a better chance of managing your own stress levels if you allow for some “fun” time before the festivities get started.
Keep these ideas in mind for including your dog in your wedding or engagement. If you consider your pooch to be part of your family, including them in some special way will make these milestone events in your life truly seem complete.