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Should You Include Pets in Your Virginia Wedding?

Bride and groom cuddle their pet dog at Castle Hill Cider in Central Virginia


You’re planning what is sure to be one of the happiest days of your life – your wedding day! And if you are on my page, your are probably planning a Virginia wedding! The good news is that many of our Charlottesville venues welcome your furry friends. We have had pets join us at UVA, the Clifton Inn, Castle Hill and Veritas! If you have been to King Family Vineyard, you know that Frank the cat is a frequent very welcome wedding-crasher there as well!

Everything about the day is coming together beautifully, but what will your beloved pets do while you say “I do”?

Including pets in a couple’s big day is becoming more and more popular, and with a business name of 3 Cats Photo, you better believe that we’re big fans of this as long as your fur babies are comfortable and happy.

Here are a few things to consider before you include a pet in your wedding:

  • Role – Here are a some popular wedding day duties for dogs, in particular: flower dog, ring bearer, best dog, dog of the bride, dog of honor
Image of a couple getting married and walking down the aisle with their Wheaten pet dog
  • Your Pet’s Personality – You should always keep the best interest of your pet at heart. Be honest with yourself when asking, “Can my pet handle a wedding?” Some pets eat up attention, and aren’t bothered by large groups of people or a loud setting such as a reception. Other pets may start to tremble at the very thought of leaving their everyday environment. Weddings can be stressful for pets who aren’t comfortable around strangers or in highly stimulating settings. Likewise, if your dog is a jumper or mouthy, a wedding may not be the best environment for them. If this is the case, be a good pet parent and keep this important member of your family at home or with a trusted pet daycare or sitting service.
A groom high five with his pet wheaten dog


  • Venue – Some wedding venues have strict policies concerning pets. Be sure you know whether or not your chosen venue allows pets. If you’re planning a destination wedding, block rooms at at least one pet-friendly hotel and reach out to the right contacts to see if pets are allowed on the beach. It would be a mistake to assume that an outdoor wedding venue is pet-friendly so politely check in with your venue to ask what their policies are concerning pets.


  • Guests – It’s proper etiquette to notify your guests that your pet will be in attendance at the reception or involved in your wedding ceremony. Do any of your close relatives or friends have allergies to your pet? Or a history with dogs that causes anxiety for them? Let your wedding party know you’re thinking about including your pet in the ceremony and be open to making accommodations for potential sensitivities.

Now that you’ve carefully considered including your pet in your wedding, check back soon for a post on fun ways to include your pet as you form a new family!

Love the idea of pets at weddings? Here are a few more pet friendly ideas that you might like as well!
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