Dog posing with elopement couple

As a pet parent myself, I always encourage couples to include their fur babies in their elopement celebration, whether physically or symbolically. If your pets are traveling with you, and they are well behaved we can certainly plan to have them present during your ceremony and portraits. To accomplish that safely here are five tips to consider:

Dogs at elopement ceremonies

Tip 1: Be honest with yourself about your pet’s behavior.
Your elopement day will be a change in schedule and scenery for your pet, which may make them anxious. If your pet doesn’t handle change well it may cause you and them unnecessary stress to include them in the schedule. Some pets need to burn off energy to be obedient so be sure that your plans include a hike or other activity that will provide that opportunity.

Tip 2: Factor in the environment where you are eloping.
If your elopement location is extremely cold you will want to make sure your pet is acclimated to that climate or protected with booties and layers for warmth. Alternatively, if the weather will be extremely warm keeping your pet hydrated and cool will take planning. Access to your elopement location is also important to consider if your pet is not used to the required distance or travel method.

Dog with bow tie at an elopement celebration.

Tip 3: Introduce them to accessories well in advance
If you are envisioning your pet in a cute collar or outfit I recommend getting these accessories early and introducing them to your pet so they can become accustomed to them in a familiar and relaxed setting rather than on the day of your celebration. This also ensures that the accessories fit them comfortably. Etsy has lots of unique and adorable options!

Bride with a horse in a green field

Tip 4: Consider only having them present for part of the celebration.
If it’s not feasible to have your pet with you the whole time we can certainly plan time to create portraits together before allowing your pet to stay safe and comfortable while you are celebrating. This is also a great option to avoid having to manage a while saying your vows or cleaning up after your pet in your elopement attire.

Dog wearing a lace collar at a wedding ceremony and depicted on the couple's cake.

Tip 5: If your pet can’t be at your celebration physically incorporate them symbolically.
There are several ways to have your pet represented at your celebration even if they aren’t there in person including:

No matter how you choose to include your pet in your day, it is a meaningful part of your story that we will be sure to document. If you’d like to chat about these ideas for your elopement don’t hesitate to reach out!