Ok – so we all know that pets are family too, but sometimes it’s just too difficult or completely impossible to include your beloved animals in your wedding day plans. Just because they may not make it to the wedding itself doesn’t mean you have to exclude them from all of your wedding plans and photos! Here are a few ways to incorporate your pets in your wedding photos:
- Plan your engagement session to include your pet(s)! You can start with some photos at home with your pets, or take them with you to the park or to that dog-friendly coffee shop / bar patio that you and your partner frequent. Even just one or two shots will be a treasure.
- Include your pet in your getting-ready photos on your wedding day! Obviously this won’t work if you’re doing a destination wedding, but if you’re getting ready in the same city as your pet you have a couple of options. Option 1: you can get ready at your home and include your pet in a few photos before you leave for the wedding. Option 2: you can have your photographer meet you at your house in the morning for a few photos of you snuggling with your pet before you head to the location where you are getting ready. I highly recommend getting a few pet snuggles in before you leave for the day – nothing calms the nerves quite like a little love from your pet who has absolutely no idea what’s going on and just wants to love you back.
- Include your pet in your bridal portrait session! This is a great option for those of you who have a destination wedding, and it also works well for those of you who want photos with your pet while you’re dressed in your wedding attire but you can’t have your pet with you at the wedding. Schedule a separate bridal or couples session with your hair / makeup done and your dress on and it’ll be a much lower-pressure chance at getting photos with your animal while dressed up in your formal attire.
If you DO plan to have your animal at the wedding, here are some things to keep in mind:
- How do they react to situations with lots of people? Will they go absolutely crazy? Will they be nervous? Have an escape plan for your animal if they need to get away from the excitement and decompress. A separate room at the venue is ideal.
- Make sure they get plenty of water – especially if its an outdoor summer wedding!
- Designate a handler for the day. I promise you, you do NOT want to be the one in charge of your animal all day long. A bridesmaid, groomsman, or family member should be in charge of making sure your pet is ok.
- They might not cooperate for photos – and there’s just nothing you can do about it.
- Be ready to just go with the flow. As a photographer I am ALL FOR including your animals – it makes for great photos. But it adds an extra layer of crazy, so you just need to be able to roll with the punches if your dog eats some cake and gets sick or if your cat scratches your Aunt Karen.
Did you include your pets at your wedding? How did it go??