Dogs at Weddings: The Guide to Cute Dog Photos at Your Wedding

Two dogs sat in autumn leaves with flower collars on

I’m Jenna, a wedding photographer based in Yorkshire!

As a dog lover and dog owner myself, there’s nothing I love more than photographing dogs at weddings. They provide an element of comedy and chaos which is always a joy to capture and really suits my relaxed, candid style of wedding photography.

Here I am with my 5-year-old German Shepherd, Jet!

Portrait of Yorkshire Wedding Photographer Jenna Kathleen

How to Include Your Dog in Your Wedding

Dogs are our best friends, and they’ll probably be your most important wedding guests too. Photographs of dogs at weddings are incredibly cute, but it’s really important to make sure they’re happy and comfortable during your wedding festivities.

So with that in mind, I’ve put together a whole bunch of tips and advice from my experience of photographing weddings with canine guests which will hopefully help if you’re thinking about including your dog in your wedding and in your wedding photos.

Advice for Bringing Your Dog to Your Wedding

Let Your Guests Know in Advance

During wedding planning, make sure to let your guests know about your VIP guest in advance so they can be on their best behaviour. Don’t be afraid to tell people if you’d rather they not make a fuss!

Dog being petted by guests during wedding speeches

Hire a Dog Chaperone

Hiring a dog chaperone is a no brainer. The benefit is that you won’t have to worry all day knowing their being looked after by professionals. It also means that they’re flexible and can bring your furry friend for the whole day or even just for an hour in the afternoon for pictures.

Dog chaperones are great because it means your dog will never be left alone and they can enjoy their regular routine whilst you’re busy with the wedding party.

If you’re looking for a dog chaperone in the Yorkshire area, I’d recommend Bow Wow Vow. They do a great job and always post stories from your dog’s perspective so you can see your wedding through their eyes!

If you’re planning on hiring a dog chaperone, make sure to reach out as soon as you know your wedding date as they’re in high demand!

Dogs looking at the camera whilst being held by couple

Have a Trusted Inner Circle

If you’re getting married in a pet friendly venue, then chances are they may have on-site accommodation that’s also pet friendly. If this is the case you could have a family member or two on doggy duty that can go back and forth to make sure your fur baby is safe and happy.

This is a great idea if your dog would rather not hang around a stranger as your family will know your pet’s personality and understand their behaviour and individual needs.

The downside to this is that your family members now have a job to do and won’t be able to fully relax and enjoy themselves on your big day so bear this in mind if you’re planning on asking for a favour!

Dancing dog on two legs at wedding reception

Do What’s Best for Your Dog

Make sure you’re prepared with your dog’s favourite toy and food on hand. Having someone on hand for a quick dog walk before the ceremony is a good idea too. If you have a specific job in mind for your dog, make sure you’re training that desired behaviour in the run-up to your wedding so they’re comfortable with the task.

On your wedding day, you want your dog to be relaxed and happy so there shouldn’t be any surprises in store or anything that could cause them stress or discomfort. Make sure to think ahead and prepare your dog well in advance to be calm around lots of different people, in different environments and situations and always have a backup plan in place if your dog needs some time away.

Remember, as much as we would all like our furry friends to be part of the wedding celebration, not all dogs are suited to the wedding environment and we have to respect that and do what’s best for them, even if that means leaving them at home with their favourite dog sitter.

Dog stood in the aisle during wedding ceremony

Don’t Forget Poo Bags

I think this one is pretty self-explanatory…

Ring Bearing Dogs in Your Wedding Ceremony

If your dog is confident around strangers, well behaved and easily trained, you may want them to have a more formal role on your wedding day. One of the most popular roles I see dogs performing is the role of ring bearer. What could be cuter than the delivery of your wedding rings via your four-legged friend walking down the aisle?!

I absolutely love photographing a dog ring bearer, especially as you never quite know what’s going to happen!

Dog ring bearer with guests watching

Here are Some Tips for the Smoothest Ring Delivery and the Best Photo Moments:

  • If you’re popping your rings into a pouch on the dog’s collar, make sure your dog is comfortable wearing the pouch long before your wedding day. Practice taking it on and off at home and rewarding their calm behaviour so it doesn’t feel strange to them.
  • Put the rings into the pouch at the very last minute. Don’t take any chances as you don’t want to lose them before the ceremony!
  • Make sure your guests sitting in the aisle seats are well behaved! That means no stepping into the aisle taking photos and no crouching down to pet your dog. Not only does it get in the way of their grand entrance photo, but it can also distract your dog from the job at hand and over-excite them.
  • Once your dog has performed its duty, make sure someone is on hand to look after them during the rest of the ceremony.
Dog ring bearer at The Venue with guests smiling

Involving your Dog in Group Photographs

Involving your pets in your formal group photos is nothing short of chaotic, but it can often produce hilarious results like the photo below which speaks volumes…

Group photo at wedding with dog running in the foreground

It’s not always possible to get your dog to sit or stand still, especially whilst looking at the camera, but having treats or a toy I can hold whilst taking the photo will help stack the odds in your favour.

Consider only including your dog in the smaller, most important group shots. That way they won’t have to sit still for too long.

If they do decide to sit down and you’re wearing a dress, it acts as a great blanket so be aware of mucky paws! I’m so glad I was able to capture the moment Iris chose to sit down on her owner’s dress as the resulting image is incredibly cute, check it out below!

Dog sat on bride's wedding dress in garden

Your Dog in Couple Portraits

If there’s one aspect of your big day that you’ll want to involve your dog in, it’s your couple portraits! The best time to go for a wander around your venue with your dog is after the ceremony as all your guests will be busy enjoying the drinks reception.

I absolutely love involving pets in couple photographs as the possibilities for cute photos are endless.

Involving your furry friend in your portraits is a great way to make you feel more relaxed in front of the camera. If you have big dogs walking them together is a really easy way to get natural photos like this one.

Grooms holding hands and walking with dogs on either side

If you have a smaller dog, picking them up for a cuddle makes an adorable photo. Here my bride and groom picked their dog up and gave him a good squeeze and a kiss.

Groom and bride portrait with dog

Dog Accessories for Your Wedding Day

Many couples choose to dress their dogs in some form of fancy wedding attire. Here are a few ideas to make sure your pup looks the part for your celebration:

A Collar of Flowers

Two of my grooms had their florist put together a ring of flowers to go around their two dogs necks. It makes a lovely statement is your dog is also acting flower girl!

Two dogs sat in autumn leaves with flower collars on

Classic Bowtie

A great easy option for your dog is a fancy bowtie. You can make sure your dog matches with your wedding party and colour scheme.

Personalised Ring Pouch

If your dog has the duty of ring bearer, they’ll need a pouch to carry them in. I love this personalised pouch from Create Gift Love that one of my brides used for her dog.

Dog delivering the rings on his collar

Dog-Friendly Wedding Venues in Yorkshire

Some of my favourite pet friendly wedding venues in Yorkshire are:

If you want the ultimate dog-friendly wedding venue, then why not get married in your own garden or on family land? You can enjoy a more personal celebrant-led ceremony and your pets can run around and have the time of their life!

Couple kiss during first dance whilst holding dog between them

I absolutely loved Gemma and Joe’s wedding at home as not only their dog but a few of their guest’s dogs were also present for the big day. Just make sure you keep an eye on them as they’ll happily steal food and lick all the empty plates.

As you can see from the photo below, Louis did a great job of washing up after their wedding breakfast!

Dog licking a pile of plates clean at a wedding reception

You can see more photos from their Laid-Back DIY Wedding here.

What If I Can’t Have My Dog at my Wedding?

Sometimes it’s just not possible for your dog to be at your wedding. Maybe you have a venue that is not dog friendly, or maybe your dog is reactive or nervous around lots of people. For whatever reason, if your dog cannot be at your wedding, it doesn’t mean that they have to miss out altogether.

Pre-Wedding Photography with Your Dog

The perfect way to include your dog in your wedding celebrations is to have a pre-wedding shoot. That way you can still capture lots of lovely natural shots together as a family. You can even print your photos out and use them in your wedding reception decorations.

This couple decided to go for a walk with their dog for their engagement photoshoot.

Couple crouching down by a canal laughing at camera on their pre wedding shoot with dog.

Dog Wedding Decor

Another popular way of including your favourite pet in your wedding decorations is to have a cake topper made. I’ve photographed lots of adorable pet cake toppers over the years. Lots of dogs feature but I’ve seen some incredible cat figures too!

Dogs made from icing on a wedding cake

The most unique approach I’ve seen so far is a couple who brought a personalised cushion with a picture of their cat and used it as a photobooth prop so all their guests could use it for photos.

We Don’t Have a Dog, What Can We Do Instead?

If you’re an animal lover and you want other animals to be a part of your day there are plenty of options:

  • Get married on a farm and visit the farm animals. It keeps your friends entertained too! Check out Wellbeing Farm where you can have your picture taken with llamas and sheep!
  • No dog to walk your rings up the aisle? Why not fly them in instead with an owl! Owls also make great wedding reception entertainment.
Owl ring bearer at wedding ceremony

If you’re currently deciding on whether to have your dog be part of your special day, I hope these tips are useful.

Dog Friendly Wedding Photography in Yorkshire

If you’re looking for a dog-loving wedding photographer in the Yorkshire area with a relaxed colourful style, I’d love to hear from you!

You can get in touch via my contact form and tell me all about your pooch, or you can check out my Yorkshire Wedding Photographer page for more information about me and my style.