So You Want Your Pet in Your Wedding: Tips & Tricks

Pets are family, so who wouldn’t want to include them in their wedding plans? We chatted with Shannon Arnold, founder of Oh To Be A Dog at Your Wedding, who works with clients to make sure the day with their dog goes off without a hitch. Engagement season may be over, but that means planning is in full swing! Take a peek at what Shannon has to say:



What spurred you to start this business?

I started Oh To Be A Dog in 2010 after working at numerous daycares and training facilities. I saw the need for a pet care company that put the animals first, and I knew by doing that, the business would follow. A few clients asked us to provide help on their wedding day since they knew and trusted us. I realized there is a gap in our industry and decided to add Oh To Be A Dog At Your Wedding.


Do you see a lot of demand for your services?

Yes! I will say this has increased in the last couple of years. More and more people want their dog to be part of their big day. After all, their dog is part of the family! I think more and more people are realizing it is a lot to ask of a family member or a friend, plus hiring a professional insures someone will know how to handle your dog.


Garth the Golden’s parents gave us a few tips of their own! They said, “Have a plan but learn to ‘be okay’ with things not going perfectly as planned. Life happens! For instance, when he proposed he was originally going to do it at another spot in Holliday Park (Indianapolis, IN) but that was being occupied by a family photo sesh — just be willing to  improvise after all, we’re all human and/or a dog and people will expect things to not work our just perfectly. Secondly, think about the photo opps ahead and what you want your dog to look like: book an apt to get your pup groomed, make sure it’s a leash that you like and it’s clean— it’ll be in a lot of pictures, have treats in your pocket for when you need them to sit, stay or come.”


What is the first thing you would tell someone planning to include their dog in their wedding?

Really consider your dogs personality and comfort level while planning. My dog for example is a little anxious in large crowds so we decided to have him participate in photos only and then head home. You don’t want them to be stressed out, or jumping all over people, etc. There are ways to include all personality types.


What’s one of your favorite ways someone included their dog in their wedding?

The best so far was a bride contacted us to surprise her groom. We hid out at the location and when it was time we walked her down the aisle and she was carrying the rings. The Groom was totally surprised! It was fun and sweet.


NOT JUST DOGS! From Stella’s people, “Stella was the flower pig at my brother’s wedding. The hardest thing about her at a wedding is everyone wanting to take pictures and pet her. It can be overwhelming. Also trying to keep her entertained throughout the ceremony. We walked down together and the ceremony wasn’t pretty long, so we had to keep giving her snacks to keep her quiet. Number one tip would be to be patient and have plenty of snacks at the wedding! The place my brother had his wedding did not allow pigs, but they made an exception for Stella since they had heard of her.

Do the dogs usually behave? Have you seen any mishaps?

Yes, they usually behave. The higher energy ones are the most challenging. However, we arrive early and let them burn some exercise with us on a walk or a jog. Preventing them from jumping up on their parents out of excitement is something we always watch for. Luckily so far, no mishaps!


What’s the best dog outfit you’ve encountered?

Cooper, a Goldendoodle looked so cute in his tie, but the bests part he had little cuff links on that were silver with paw prints. So cute! There are so many amazing people that create wedding outfits for your dog. Etsy is a great source for that. One of my favorite shops is Canines and Confetti.




What are your favorite venues to work in?

Anything with a lot of space and grass. Barns are fun and some country clubs. It all depends on the dog. Staff at venues are always so nice and accommodating. They love having a dog there!


How do you make sure your clients are prepared for the big events?

We are available to talk via phone or meet before the event. We make sure we have all the logistics ironed out. We offer pick up and drop off, as well as overnight sitting so we make sure everything is coordinated beforehand. At the event, we work with the planner so the couple can be worry free. That is the ultimate goal.



Image courtesy of Oh To Be a Dog at Your Wedding, featuring Shannon herself!

Any other tips and tricks for our readers?

Always exercise and walk your dog beforehand. Having them be a little tired will help them pose in photos and listen better over all. Plus, you want them to relieve themselves before being part of any event. Also, if you are able, have your dog visit the venue beforehand so they can sniff around and be somewhat familiar with the place beforehand. That ensures day of they are not more interested in exploring rather than what you have them there to do!


Follow Oh to Be a Dog on Instagram, and be sure to share this article with pet parents!




Become an Insider

Steph Wasser

Steph has lived in NYC for 7 years, and knows all the best neighborhoods for dog watching. Currently, she's a mom to 15 plants and one sweet dog. She firmly believes there is nothing better in life than a wet snout.

Your inbox could be cuter.