Your wedding is likely going to be one of the biggest days of your life, and most people want to be surrounded by their loved ones.
So, why should our beloved pets have to miss out on all the fun? Particularly when you probably love your dog more than that second cousin you only see every other Christmas.
A new study by financial comparison company money.co.uk has revealed the biggest trends set to dominate weddings in 2022 and beyond – and having pets in attendance has taken the top spot.
Searches for pets at weddings have seen a 200% year-on-year increase. And with so many people adding a four-legged companion to their family over the past couple of years, it’s no surprise that so many brides and grooms would want them to play a special part – like ring bearer – or just being a VIP guest.
It’s not just our beloved pets making an appearance, with some couples looking to hire slightly more interesting animals for their guests to marvel at, such as llamas or alpacas.
So, why do we love getting our furry friends involved in our nuptials? For some, it’s a non-negotiable.
We spoke to some people who involved their pets in their big day to find out why they did it – and what they loved about it.
Nadia and Michael and their dogs Monty and Maggie
‘It was very important to us that they were on the big day – because they were the two creatures we spent the most time with and the two creatures that bring us so much joy!’ says Nadia.
Nadia and Michael got married in Shropshire in 2019, and all the guests were delighted with the appearance of the two much-loved pubs.
‘They were there for a very small part of the day but we wanted to capture pictures with the so we have the memories forever,’ says Nadia.
‘Shortly after our wedding, we lost Maggie, so the pictures are even more precious now.
‘Everyone at the wedding was thrilled to see them too, as they know how much they meant to us.
‘These two little dogs made us smile more than anyone in the world (sorry family and friends!) so on our happiest day we wanted to see them.’
Sara and her dogs Lolly, Skye, Smithy and Ross
‘Nathan and I met whilst working at a rescue centre, so dogs have been a huge part of our lives together,’ says Sara.
She says Lolly, Skye, Smithy and Moss are part of our family, so they couldn’t have imagined their wedding day without them.
‘I don’t think any of our family and friends would have expected us to get married without the dogs their either!
‘My Dad died a few years before our wedding and Moss was such a comfort to me at that time. He was my best friend, so when it came to who would walk me down the aisle he was my first choice.
‘Sadly Lolly, Skye and Moss have since passed away so it’s really special for us to have these photos and memories.’
Richard and his dog Syd
‘In total we had eight dogs at the wedding. Two were part of the wedding party (Ollie and Syd), two dogs from a charity I’ve been involved with for 14 years, a couple of my aunty’s lurchers, and a pair of King Charle’s Spaniels that belonged to my Master of Ceremonies, ‘Richard says.
‘Syd is such an important part of our life, so it just made sense that we would bring her along with us. She was at my stag do and even joined us for a few days in Scotland after the wedding.’
Richard’s wedding venue was in the Yorkshire countryside and, thankfully, dogs are very much welcome.
‘We had dog sitters and the hotel took them for walks and fed them, so they were very well looked after throughout the day,’ he adds.
‘They were only there for the ceremony and a handful for the reception, but they were tucked up in bed by the time the dancing started at the end of the evening.
‘It was important to have them there because often dogs become an extension of ourselves and people will ask “where’s Syd?” if I turn up at the pub without her, or ask how she is.
‘Everyone loved having the dogs there and asked a lot of questions about the Medical Detection Dogs, so I think it added a huge amount – they’re a great conversation starter.’
Matthew and his dog Jasper
‘Jasper was our ring bearer,’ says Matthew.
‘The rules in Surrey were that you couldn’t have a dog be part of your ceremony until just a few months before our wedding, so we were so relieved he could be part of it.
‘The wedding celebrated the start of our new family, so we had to have the first new addition to it there with us. He was the most popular guest by far, even though he ate all of the confetti and left a muddy paw print on the wedding dress!’
Sheryl and Scott and their horse Dekota
Sheryl Buxton and her husband Scott married in August 2016 at their local church in Nottinghamshire.
The couple adopted Dekota from Blue Cross in 2014. When she joined them she was an unbacked four year old who still had a lot to learn and needed to gain the trust of people. Just two and a half years later, Dekota was ridden to her new owners’ wedding to be included in the photos.
Sheryl says: ‘We could not imagine looking back on the day and Dekota not being in any of our photos or memories.
‘It really was amazing and just made our day perfect. I was so proud of how well she stood for all the photographs and how patient she was whilst we were organizing my wedding dress.
‘I wouldn’t ever have considered a wedding day without her, she is part of our family.’
John and Katia and their dog Bingo
Bingo, a rescue dog from Southampton was guest of honor at his owners’ wedding in glamourous Monaco. Bingo even helped to raise an amazing £10,000 for Blue Cross pet charity.
Katia Gershun and her fiancé John Downer decided to get a dog and when they met Bingo at Blue Cross a rehoming center in Southampton, it was love at first sight. They soon took him home where he quickly settled into life with his new family.
Just two years later, Katia and John decided to move their business and live in Monaco and of course there was no question that Bingo would join them in their new life. On Valentine’s Day this year, Bingo was the guest of honor at their wedding, along with some of his doggy friends. He even gave Katia away.
Katia says: ‘Bingo has become such an important part of our lives that there was never any doubt he would have to come to our wedding. He helped to make our big day even more special and he looked very handsome in his bow-tie.
‘We’re so happy to have Bingo in our lives that we asked our guests to make a donation to Blue Cross instead of giving us gifts – it was lovely to be able to say thank you to them for helping us find Bingo and to make a difference for more pets like him.’
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