Putting the ‘I do’ into Fido – a guide to dog weddings

Dog weddings might not be a familiar concept to everyone, but they do exist and are growing in popularity. In 2011, they became the centre of media attention when Essex dog lover Louise Harris shelled out £20,000 to treat her Yorkshire terrier Lola to a special day.

To those without a love of animals, pet weddings may sound a little absurd, but if there’s one key rule about organising a wedding of any sort, it’s to make it all about you and your interests. Dogs are, after all, one of the family and play a huge role in their owners’ lives. This was particularly the case for Harris who, as the owner of a dog grooming parlour, dealt with our four-legged friends both at home and at work.

So, if you want your dog to tie the knot with a canine companion, don’t let anybody put you off the idea! Here are some tips to keep tails wagging and your human guests happy too:

Keep it light-hearted

Perhaps the most important thing to remember is that most of your guests will probably see the dog wedding as a bit of fun rather than a serious ceremony, so it’s wise to approach the day with a sense of humour.

Your guests will no doubt enjoy the day, but try not to be overly sentimental. Your wedding invites, for example, will curry favour if they have a gentle doggy touch, such as a paw print as a signature.

Make it snappy

It’s not every day that you get to dress up your pets and devote a full day to them, so make sure that you have plenty of ways to remember it.

Hiring a professional photographer can really make a difference here. Just like with a human wedding, it takes a real knack to capture the essence and mood of the day in a collection of still images, so taking on an expert could really make a difference.

Give the dogs a little time to themselves

By its very nature, human weddings tend to involve a lot of general waiting around, whether it’s the groom anticipating the bride walking down the aisle, or the speakers waiting for their turn to say their bit. Don’t forget, this isn’t always natural for dogs, who have plenty of energy to burn off.

A wedding ceremony will humanise them for a day to an extent, but be sure to allow them some time to simply be dogs. This might include giving them toys to play with, or perhaps taking them for short walks in between the wedding formalities.

Combine it with a human wedding

If hosting a wedding just for a pair of dogs sounds like a bit much, then why not get them to tie the knot as part of a ceremony for their owners?

After all, dog lovers tend to have a similar personality, and often strike a chord with each other. If you and your partner are both dog owners, you could add a section to your wedding to celebrate your respective dogs becoming a part of the new family.

All in all, you don’t have to spend £20,000 like Ms. Harris, but remember that the day is for the dogs, and they deserve it too!

Matthew Rycraft is one of the leading wedding photographers in North West England, and a regular contributor to high-profile wedding magazines and blogs. Visit http://www.matthewrycraft.co.uk for examples of his work