Updated: Apr 2
Autumn and weddings go together like peanut butter and jelly. Add some four-legged guests to the wedding party, and you’ll have nuptials folks talk about your special day for years to come.
If you’re thinking about having a Labradoodle of Honor or a tail-wagging ringbearer, you are not alone. The dogs-in-weddings trend is turning into a mainstay. A recent study suggests up to 44 percent of millennials plan to, or have included, their best furry friends in their “I Dos.”
Sandy Mann of HeartRock Labradoodles in Austin, Texas -- a WALA Star Breeder who also owns dog-friendly wedding venue, Merryvale Weddings + Events -- sees dogs joining in on the celebrations several times a month. Earlier this month, the trend hit close to home as Mann’s granddaughter Hailey Jones got married at the family-owned venue, complete with 10 Labradoodles on the guest list.
“This one was personal,” Mann said. “Our Labradoodles are our family, so we weren’t going to exclude them from one of our family’s biggest days. The dogs helped calm wedding-day jitters and were better behaved than some of the two-legged guests!”
Courtney Kundmueller, a bride from Northeast Ohio who was featured in a recent wedding article in CLE DOG magazine, included both her dogs in her wedding, and said the best advice she has for dog-mom brides is to tire out the dogs.
“Exercise your dog more than usual the week leading up to and the morning of the wedding,” Kundmueller said. “Exercised dogs are less excitable and easier to manage, especially in a large group of people.”
Thinking about having your Labradoodle involved with your wedding? Here are some dos and don’ts for your I Dos:
● Only Include well-behaved, social and obedient dogs in your wedding plans to make sure your day goes off without a hitch.
● Check into non-traditional venues and sites that allow dogs to participate. Think rustic barns, farms, gardens and wineries.
● When screening photographers, ask if they've worked with dogs.
● Notify guests you’ll have dogs at the wedding by adding a line to your save-the-date card. If guests aren’t allowed to bring their own dogs, let them know.
● Assign your pooch a handler for the big day. Some dogs may get overwhelmed and need to check out before the reception. Make sure the handler is someone your dog likes, and can transport him to and from the ceremony, if needed. Make sure the handler has necessities like food, water, bowls, treats, poop bags, favorite toy, etc.
● Dress your dog festively, but smartly. After you pick your wedding colors, shop for a coordinating outfit or simple collar bow. Do a dry run to make sure the outfit doesn't hinder movement or breathing.
● Schedule a grooming appointment so your Labradoodle looks her best.
● Consider an intimate backyard ceremony if you want to marry quickly. Sites are often booked far in advance, and your own backyard allows your small group to social distance, and your canine will be more comfortable. To amp up the happiness factor, invite others to participate virtually. Once you say “I Do” they can toast you from afar.
If you’re hesitant to involve your fur kids in your wedding day, don’t be. With some creativity and pre-planning, your furry family members can be a part of one of the best days of your life.
Authors Anita Main and Karen Uthe-Semancik
Photo cutline: Labradoodle Riverbend Gimmee More Smooches (Romeo) was a big part of Hailey Jones’ wedding day.
Photo by Jerrell Trulove Photography
WALA Board of Directors
Worldwide Australian Labradoodle Association