Today we welcome Nashville’s pet-loving photographer Mandy Whitley to the blog to share her advice on the best way to include your dog in your wedding day. Mandy has worked throughout the Middle Tennessee area for years shooting both weddings as well as pets and knows a thing or two about what works and what doesn’t. Oh, and of course she has a treasure trove of incredible images of people and their pets. I have shared some of my favorites below. – CJ
I love it when my couples include pets in their wedding day. After all, they are family too! Here are a few tips on how to include them in a stress-free way:
- Find a pet-friendly venue. Not all Nashville wedding venues are pet-friendly so make sure you ask before you book if you want to include your furry friend. Even if the venue is pet-friendly, be specific about your plans to ensure they can accommodate your needs. If you want your little pup with you while you are getting ready, but the venue only allows him to be outside, it might not be the right fit for you.
- Designate someone who isn’t in the wedding party, or involved in the photos, to be your pet handler for the day. This is the best advice I can give, and it really helps takes the stress off you! This can certainly be a guest, but it must be someone who won’t be in any of the formal photos so they can handle your pup without worrying about getting dirty, and they will be able to take them home at the appropriate time.
- Include pet decor in your day. You can add an additional touch of pet love by adding pet decor in your wedding. You could have a pet related theme on your invitations. At the wedding you can add a take home treat table, or you could even have a ‘dog park’ set up for your pup & any of the guest’s dogs that attend your celebration! Consider including your pup in your engagement photos and display them at the wedding location as well.
- Know your pet. Not every dog is up for a wedding celebration. Some pups get nervous in crowds and just aren’t going to be a good at walking those rings down the aisle. Please don’t try to force your pup to participate when you know he’s not going to enjoy it. If I’m talking about your pup (and don’t worry, I have one of those as well) and you’d really like to include him consider having that friend we talked about bring him in for a few photos with just the two of you!
Have more questions about how to make it work – feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org! I’d love to talk more about it and help you include your furry friend in your wedding!
CJ’s Off the Square is a pet-friendly wedding venue! Learn more about how we can help you include your four-legged friend on wedding day HERE.