our thoughts on Why Your Dog May Prefer Not Attending Your Wedding

Caroline Langham


Why Your Dog May Prefer Not Attending Your Wedding

One question we get asked a lot is “Can we bring our dog?”
As dog lovers ourselves we absolutely love dogs – We have had dogs all our lives, and have spent many years breeding, training and showing our beautiful golden retrievers. We have spent the last 12 years with our lovely Alfie and Bess, until losing Bess to cancer in Feb 2022.
So we really do understand what a huge part of your family they are and what a lovely “idea” it is on the surface to want to include your proud pooch on your wedding day. 


We are also super experienced at weddings – 10 years in we think we have seen quite a few, both with and without your family dogs…. and there are many reasons not to bring them too.

On balance I wouldn’t make Alfie endure a wedding, I know he would much rather be up on the fells for a couple of hours, followed by a lovley long sleep in his own bed, his dinner on time at 5:30, then a tidde on his own patch before bedtime! 

Happy Dog Alfie the Cote How Labradoodle
Alfie - The Cote How Labradoodle
Happy Dog Bess - Alfie's Twin Sister
Bess - Alfie's Twin Sister

So is bringing your dog to your wedding right for your dog?

We understand how important it might feel to you both to have your dog at your wedding, as in your eyes he or she is a big part of your family. I understand that. But after the initial excitment of having them there have you considered how your furry friend might feel about it once all the fuss has died down?
Most dogs love meeting a greeting people and getting a little fuss and attention, who doesn’t, but weddings are long days and after that inital 30 minutes, dogs really would rather be elsewhere. They are used to their own routines and if that includes snoozing for 8 hours, or hiking for 8 hours, then that is what they are used to, and probably would prefer doing.
So many times I have seen dogs paraded out for photos, coerced with a million treats, shouted at, tugged and pulled to get that all imoportant selfie, and while some dogs are placid enough and tolerant of their humans, many would rather not be be there.


Timing is Everything…

Most weddings will take the entire day – What with your prep… hair, makeup, dressing, eating, travelling…You already have so much to think about and consider – Maybe having one less thing to worry about (your dog and his needs) will help you too???

But if you are still not convinced, be aware that we can at times be a little selfish by nature, and sometimes only think about our own needs, especially when it comes to our wedding day, but to keep our dogs happy, you must be mindful of your dog’s needs too.


Why the change in Dog Policy?

We have seen too many confused, stressed and really not happy dogs… and while some are fine with it, this doesn’t prevent the amount of organisation, stress and constant honing to make the wedding work around the dog.

Cote How weddings are designed to be stress-free, easy-going and relaxed with a natural and seemingly effortless flow. But behind this effortlessness is a lot of organisation, which we work very hard to achieve. This means us focussing purely on you, our couple, to ensure you are getting the best from your day. Trying to do all of this and manage the dog photoshoot is just too much. The time spent trying to get your dog to perform for the photographs can be endless, and disappointing for you too when you realise that your dog might not be loving it like you expected! 
Here are a few other reasons…

  • Dogs are not allowed in the house, so if the weather is inclement, where will the dog go?
  • If you have arranged an outdoor ceremony, and it rains, your wedding will be switched indoors and your dog left outside.
  • We have witnessed many a time the dog has held up proceedings, at one point Cumbria Registration Services banned dogs for this reason.
  • The mad panic for scissors trying to retrieve the rings from a bow that is double-knotted about its neck. 
  • Muddy paw prints all over the bride’s dress.
  • Howling dogs, because they don’t want to be tied up outside.
  • Unsightly dead patches on the lawns that we spend so much time and attention trying to keep perfect for your photographs…
  • Chasing our resident cat 🙁

Sorry, but we have had to make a change… So we are no longer allowing dogs at weddings. 

A very Happy Dog - Not at the wedding but by the lake shore with the dog walker!
A very Happy Dog - Not at the wedding but by the lake shore with the dog walker!

Dog Sitter

Appointing a dog sitter on the day is a great idea – As Cote How does not accept dogs for the wedding we recommend either leaving your dog at home with a dog sitter or if you are away on holiday in the Lakes, employ a dog sitter to come to your local accommodation for the day, to care for your dog’s every need.
Make sure your dog sitter knows your dog well, and they have bonded before the wedding day. It might be a friend or a professional dog sitter, but it is always better to do a dry run for a couple of hours first so that your pet knows they will be reunited with you later.

A-walkies-in-the-woods-A very happy dog at a wedding
Walkies in the woods - Photo Tom McNally

Arrange A Photoshoot

 Plan a photoshoot offsite
Cote How does not allow dogs at weddings, but you could meet your dog walker/sitter for photos down by the Lakeshore post-ceremony, while your guests are enjoying a post-wedding drink on the terrace up at Cote How. 
A nice and cosy dog bed - and a very happy wedding dog
A nice and cosy dog bed to start with! - Photo Tom McNally

Professional Dog Walker

Consider using a professional dog walker who is employed to come and collect your dog before your wedding, take it for a lovely walk, and then bring it back to you after the wedding. This works perfectly if you are planning one of our elopement or micro weddings which only last 2-4 hours.


Overnight Kennels

Consider that your lovely dog may prefer to snuggle down and relax for the rest of the day while you and your guests continue your celebrations in style. Consider finding a dog sitter who can look after your dog overnight for you – That way you know they are safe and happy and you can focus on your celebrations.

There are a variety of local dog services providing pick up and drop off services and can kennel overnight, chaperone your dog at your wedding, or simply take them for a walk.

If you are being whisked away on your honeymoon straight from your wedding venue, think about the logistics and who can you trust to look after your dog while you are away – Maybe you have arranged boarding kennels. Who will be taking your dog to the kennels for you, and what will they need to pack?

Family cote how - Steve Caroline and Bess


… without them being there in the flesh…

  1. include them in your save the dates
  2. include them in your venue decor – photos, name tags, themed favours
  3. add a cardboard cut out of them and stand it in the ceremony or in the reception
  4. add them as cake toppers for your cake
  5. add a photo of them with absent friends on the bar
  6. mention them in your speeches
These plus lots more great ideas are here in this great blog called HOW TO INCLUDE PETS AT YOUR WEDDING

I hope you have enjoyed reading this blog. If you have any comments please add them below I would love to hear from you.

There are more wedding tips here:
Choosing the best wedding photographer for you
How to decorate a Rustic Wedding Barn
How to book a Virtual Show Around


If you have found this article useful why not share it with friends and family…. 

Useful Links:
Ambleside Dog Walkers
Barking Mad Lakes
Just Love Dogs – Dog Grooming and Dog Walking


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