The following bi-weekly column is written and sponsored by Bark + Boarding, which provides a heart-centered and safe environment for your pets. Conveniently located at 5818-C Seminary Road in Bailey’s Crossroads, Bark & Boarding offers doggy daycare, boarding, grooming, walking and training services, plus in-home pet care.
Wedding season is fast approaching and many couples want their beloved four-legged companions to be part of the festivities.
Planning ahead is the key to incorporating your canine in the celebration and will help preclude any mishaps on your big day. Take into account the following factors when deciding if their presence will be a help or hinderance for either you or your pet.
Consider hiring a dog handler. If you’re concerned about the logistics of having your dog at your wedding, let Bark + Boarding be your dog’s personal assistant for the day!
Miranda Namrow of Arlington hired Bark + Boarding to dress, transport and handle her dogs Boz and Kobe at her October wedding to husband Mitch.
“Wedding planning is stressful, but having our pups with us on our wedding day was super important to us! It was such a relief to know our pups were not only in good hands, but would be dressed and delivered in time for our post-ceremony photos. They even helped get them to sit and settle down for the photographer!”
Will your dog be comfortable? Big gatherings such as weddings can be scary and overwhelming for a dog that does not adapt well to new environments or is uncomfortable around strangers. If your dog is fearful or shy around people, it’s best to leave her at home where she’ll be able to relax in the comfort of familiar surroundings.
In addition to Boz and Kobe, the Namrows have two other dogs, Barry and Jaxon, who did not attend the festivities. “Barry is a flight risk and Jaxon is not comfortable around new people, so there was no question that we would leave them at home” notes Miranda. “Their comfort level and safety were paramount.”
Check the location. Does your wedding venue allow dogs? Be sure to ask if your dog will be allowed in all areas or if there are certain areas that will be off-limits. Imagine the stress and disappointment if you’ve planned on having your dog walk the rings down the aisle only to discover ten minutes beforehand that she’s not allowed in the ceremony area.
The Namrows were married in a church in Old Town Alexandria, that did not permit dogs inside. They opted instead to include Boz and Kobe in several wedding photos taken on the grounds of the church.
Let everyone know. Inform your wedding party, guests and photographer well in advance of the event that your dog will be present. Not only is this common courtesy, but you want to provide people with pet allergies ample opportunity to prepare.
Practice makes perfect. Rehearse as much as you can with your dog before the big day and allow extra time to practice during the rehearsal so that she knows exactly what to do and when to do it.
Ensure that your dog is well-controlled around your guests. If your dog has a tendency to jump on people, teach her an alternative behavior such as greeting a person by sitting and offering her paw.
Most importantly, enjoy your big day and have fun!