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Including Your Dog in Your Northern Michigan Wedding: 10 Essential Tips You Need To Know

Congratulations on your engagement! Planning a wedding in beautiful Northern Michigan is truly a magical experience. The picturesque landscapes, charming venues, and serene atmosphere create the perfect backdrop for a dream wedding. If you’re considering including your beloved dog in your celebration, you're not only adding a touch of personalization but also creating unforgettable memories that will last a lifetime.

As wedding photographers based in Traverse City, my husband and I have had the privilege of witnessing how incorporating your furry friend into your special day can bring an extra layer of joy and love to the festivities. From heartwarming moments captured on camera to the sheer happiness your dog will bring to you and your guests, there are numerous benefits to having your pet by your side.

Dog at wedding reception with dog mom and dog dad pawrents elberta life saving station dog friendly wedding venue traverse city
We brought our dog to our own wedding reception so this information is coming from our personal experience!

 1. Check the Venue’s Policy

Before you fall in love with the idea of your dog being at your wedding, make sure your chosen Northern Michigan venue is pet-friendly. Some venues have strict no-pet policies, while others are more accommodating. Discuss your plans with the venue coordinator to ensure there are no surprises.

 2. Assign a Dog Handler

Your wedding day will be busy, and you’ll have a lot on your mind. Assign a trusted friend or family member to be responsible for your dog during the event. This person can handle walks, feeding, and any other needs your dog might have, allowing you to focus on enjoying your day.

Dog flower girl ring bearer side eye wedding rotweiller
Bring something for your dog to chew on and stay busy with at your wedding!

 3. Prepare for Photos With Your Dog

Including your dog in your wedding photos can make for some heartwarming and memorable shots. Inform your wedding photographer in advance so they can plan accordingly. As experienced wedding photographers, we know how to capture the best moments with your furry friend and how to help you make the most pawsome memries!

Rottweiler dog flower girl with bride outside in the sun
The sweetest flower girl!

4. Plan for Comfort

Weddings can be overwhelming for dogs with all the noise and activity. Set up a comfortable, quiet space where your dog can retreat if they need a break. This could be a room at the venue or a shaded outdoor area equipped with their bed, water, and a few favorite toys.

Dog ring bearer in a tuxedo wedding bride and groom
Dogs Make Great Ring Bearers!

5. Grooming

Schedule a grooming appointment for your dog a few days before the wedding. This ensures they look their best for the ceremony and photos. Plus, a freshly groomed dog is less likely to shed excessively or have matted fur.

Golden retriever dogs at wedding with bride and groom pawrents dog mom and dad
Golden retrievers on their pawrents' wedding day

6. Practice Makes Perfect

If your dog will have a role in the ceremony, such as walking down the aisle or being the ring bearer, practice their part beforehand. Familiarizing them with the venue and the ceremony routine can reduce stress and make them more comfortable on the big day.

7. Safety First

When choosing decorations or attire for your dog, prioritize their safety and comfort. Avoid anything that could be a choking hazard or cause discomfort. Simple and comfortable accessories, like a bow tie or flower collar, are great choices that won't hinder your dog's movement or breathing.

Incorporate my dog on my wedding day
A surprise visit from your fur baby is a great wedding day gift!

8. Pack Essentials

Bring a bag with all the essentials your dog will need throughout the day. This should include food, water, bowls, a leash, waste bags, and any medications. Having these items on hand ensures your dog is well-cared for and comfortable.

9. Consider Their Temperament

Be mindful of your dog’s personality and how they handle crowds and excitement. If your dog is particularly anxious or aggressive in unfamiliar settings, it might be best to include them in the wedding photos and then have them relax at home or in a quiet place nearby during the ceremony and reception.

10. Have a Backup Plan

Even with the best preparations, things can go awry. Have a backup plan in case your dog becomes overwhelmed or anxious. This could involve arranging for someone to take your dog home or to a quiet place away from the festivities if needed. PRO TIP: If you know that a wedding day with your pup would be TOO MUCH for them to handle...consider bringing them to your engagement photo session instead!

Northern Michigan Sleeping Bear Dunes Pierce Stocking Drive Fall Engagement Photos With Dogs Doodles Couple Walking
Fall Engagement Photos With Dogs

Engagement photos on the beach with St Bernard dog
The beach is a great location for engagement photos with your furry friend!

Planning Your Perfect Northern Michigan Wedding

Including your dog in your Northern Michigan wedding can add a special touch to your day and create lasting memories. With beautiful locations like Traverse City, Petoskey, and Mackinac Island, Northern Michigan offers stunning dog friendly wedding venues that can accommodate your four-legged friend's presence. By planning ahead and considering these tips, you can ensure your dog’s comfort and make your wedding day as stress-free as possible.

As wedding photographers who have captured many beautiful moments in Northern Michigan, my husband and I are here to help make your wedding day as perfect as possible. We understand how important it is to include all members of your family, including your furry friends. If you’re planning your wedding and would like to discuss how to incorporate your dog into your big day, we’d love to hear from you.

Ready to Capture Your Special Moments?

If you’re planning a wedding in Northern Michigan and want to ensure every moment is beautifully captured, including those with your beloved dog, let’s chat! Contact us today to schedule a time to chat with us about the details of your day and see how we can help make your wedding experience unforgettable! Pick a time below to chat:

Remember, your wedding is a celebration of your love and commitment, and your dog is a cherished part of your family. Including them in your wedding festivities is a wonderful way to honor that bond and share your special day with all of your loved ones, both two-legged and four-legged.


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