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Could there be anything cuter than a dog looking debonair in a tuxedo jacket or smiling into the wind while donning a flower crown? Having your pet participate in your wedding is a sure way to get you – and guests – swooning, and it allows you to include a very important part of your family on such a momentous day. If Sir Max or Lady Lucy are planning to make an appearance at your upcoming wedding, follow this advice to ensure all goes smoothly!

Determine If It Makes Sense

Perhaps the most important part of having your dog at your wedding is asking yourself if your pooch can handle it. If your sweet pup is prone to anxiety, or gets shy or aggressive around new people and crowds, it’s probably not the best idea. Don’t fret if this is the case – you can still incorporate your pet into your nuptials by including him or her in the proposal, save the date announcements, or your engagement photos. If your dog’s a social dynamo, though, get ready to party with the entire family!

Make Sure You’ve Got the Greenlight

Check with your ceremony and reception locations to verify that pets are allowed on the premises. Also make sure the photographer, vendors, and bridal party members are comfortable with pets and aren’t allergic!

Give The Outfit a Run Through

The bride tries on her dress, the groom tries on his suit. It only makes sense to give your pup a “dress rehearsal” too! This will help you determine if you need to size up or down for your dog’s comfort, or if your dog doesn’t want anything to do with that vest or tutu.

Use a Floral Collar or Garland Leash

If your pup is not having the head-to-toe getup, it’s time to initiate plan B. Opt for something that’s less constrictive, such as a garland leash,  a lightweight floral collar, a floral crown, or a loosely-fitted bowtie. Remember: your dog should ultimately be comfortable, even if that means sacrificing a little style!

Give Your Pup Some Responsibility

If your dog can handle it, consider having him or her process down the aisle. Your pup could also wear a sign, walk with the flower girl or ring bearer, or simply be named the “pooch of honor.” Make sure to practice a couple times so your dog knows the drill.

Make Sure They’ve Done Their Doody

It’s hard enough to remember to eat food and stay hydrated on your own wedding day. Remembering to feed, water, and walk your dog is a whole other issue! Let this wedding planner’s story of a dog pooping in the spotlight be your warning…

… And Hire a Wedding Dog Nanny, or Designate a Handler

To ensure all goes smoothly, consider hiring a service that looks after your dog at your wedding. Alternatively, designate a close friend or family member to walk, feed, hydrate, and generally look after your dog throughout the day. You’ll also want someone who can retrieve your dog from your home, and bring your dog to the location he or she will be sleeping that night (it probably isn’t your hotel room)!