So, you’re planning your wedding and you’re making a list of all your favorite humans to invite to celebrate the day with you. Family, friends of the family, college friends and work friends will all make the short list.
But what about your furry friends?
For some of us, our pets are just as important (and let’s be honest, sometimes even more important) to us than our human friends.
But how do you incorporate your pets into your wedding without it becoming a hassle?
Don’t worry, we have your back on this! We’ve shot nearly 200 weddings in our 13 years as wedding photographers and we’ve seen everything under the sun.
Pets at Wedding Ceremonies
The easiest way to incorporate your pet into your wedding ceremony is by bestowing upon them honor of being your ring bearer. And it doesn’t have to be a dog either. We’ve had the distinct pleasure of photographing a pig ring bearer and a hawk ring bearer, which are still to this day two of our favorite wedding moments of all time.
By the way, one million bonus points to you if you have a pet bear. I’ve always wanted to see the pun “ring bear” actually come to life.
If your furry friend is too energetic to walk down the aisle with your wedding rings, you can also have him or her “sign” your marriage license with their paw/hoof/claw, etc.
We’ve also had a bride who rode into the ceremony on her horse, which was f*cking awesome.
Pro-tip: If you decide to incorporate your pet into your wedding ceremony, be sure to designate a friend or family member to act as a “handler.” This way, you can enjoy the rest of your day without having to worry about taking care of your furry friend.
Wedding Portraits with Pets
One of our absolute favorite things to photograph is couples in love with the pets they love. It’s love-ception! It provides a really cool and unique new dimension to the shoot and acts as a great complement to the rest of your portraits.
The way that we like to approach this is to have your handler tag along with us for the first part of the portrait shoot. Once we get a few really great shots, he or she can take your furry friend away while we do the rest of your couple’s portraits.
Pets at Wedding Receptions
If you’d rather not have your furry friend at your wedding ceremony or your portrait session, you can always have him or her hang with the rest of the crew during the reception. Of course, this always works best if you’re having an outdoor wedding.
It’s also better if your pet is super well-behaved like this cute little guy giving a wedding guest a high-five!
What if our dog is too high-energy for our wedding?
If you’re worried about your pet wreaking havoc on your wedding, you can simply have them present during the “getting ready” portion of your day. This is when you’re hanging out with your closest friends and family before the wedding ceremony, getting your hair and makeup done, having some cocktails, getting dressed, etc.
Having your furry friends in the room during this portion of the day not only makes for some really meaningful wedding photos, but it’s also a great alternative to having to designate someone to corral them for the rest of the day.
Engagement sessions with pets
Instead of having your pets at the wedding itself, feel free to bring them along for your engagement shoot instead. We really enjoy shooting the love between our couples and their pets and this is always a great complement to the rest of your engagement and wedding photos.
Similar to wedding portraits with pets, we always encourage our couples to bring along a friend or family member to take care of their pets after we’re finished doing those photos, so that we can take just the two of you off for the rest of your session without having to leave your furry friends in the car.
You may have heard the term “found details” in reference to wedding detail photos. This just means that instead of placing your rings on a pine cone or laying out your wedding programs on a piece of burlap or lace, we’ll photograph these important items within the natural context of your wedding day.
For example, we’ll shoot your rings as they’re going on your fingers and your wedding programs as your guests are picking them up and reading them. This way, it feels less contrived and more real.
The same concept applies to anything that captures our interest throughout the wedding day, including (but not limited to) various members of the animal kingdom. So if you’re animal lovers, but don’t have pets of your own, we’ve got you covered!
If you have any questions about incorporating your pets into your wedding or ideas you’d like to run past someone who’s in the wedding industry and understands the flow and logistics of weddings, feel free to reach out to us anytime. We’re here as a resource for you throughout your entire wedding planning process. Cheers!
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