Wedding season is officially underway, and while many soon-to-be-married couples follow longstanding traditions, the trend of having dogs in weddings continues to grow in popularity.

“I think overall dog trends have changed, and the viewpoint on dogs has become more family-oriented,” said Shannon Sardella Arnold, who founded dog-walking and dog-sitting service Oh to Be a Dog in Los Angeles in 2010. “We do more for them now, so of course I think having dogs in weddings has just become a bigger trend.”

Oh To Be a Dog has since launched in New York City and added wedding, proposal and engagement services to meet this growing trend, which includes full-service pet care, pick up and drop off, photo assistance and more.

While even the most well-trained, well-watched dog has a mind of its own, which can make for some unpredictable moments if you include your dog in your wedding, Arnold, so far, has been lucky to  not see anything “too super crazy.”

 

“I’ve never had any cake topplings, ripping tablecloths from tables or dogs running amok,” she said. “We did a wedding where we walked the dog down the aisle, and she was a surprise to the groom, so he didn’t know and was super-elated, which caused her to get really excited. But he was really great and bent down to calm her down.”

What to keep in mind if you include your dog in your wedding

If you’re planning to have your dog in your wedding, here are a few things Arnold suggests keeping in mind for the big day.

• Your pup’s personality 

“Some dogs get socially stressed out if there’s a lot of people or noises in the environment,” Arnold said, and if your dog is one of them, being at the ceremony and reception may not be the best thing for them — or you.

• Do a venue visit

If you’re able, take your dog to the venue beforehand, Arnold suggested, and “have them sniff around, so it’s not a completely new place that they’re excited to check out every inch of” come wedding day.

• Pre-ceremony exercise

Exercising before the wedding ceremony can help jittery couples — and their dogs — let off some steam.

“You don’t want to bring them to somewhere they have to behave and they’re full of energy and not ready to do what you want them to do,” Arnold said. “A tired dog is a happy dog is definitely a true statement.”

• Go pro, not family

Many couples choose to have a family member mind their dogs at the wedding, and it may be someone who doesn’t normally care for them.

“You want them to enjoy the wedding and be a part of it, but now they’re worried about your dog because they’re not used to it,” Arnold said.

To that end, professionals like those from Oh To Be a Dog are likely someone your dog is already familiar with, and since they come armed with healthy, grain-free treats, water, toys, first aid and more, they’re up to the task.

For more info, visit ohtobeadogatyourwedding.com.