New research has shown that pet owners want their furry friends to be with them on their big day, their wedding day.
A walk around town and you’ll see lots of owners with their dogs, glued to their side and after the pandemic, is it any surprise that owners are feeling closer to their pets?
A majority (56%) of dog owners getting married in the next year revealed that their dog would be a priority when planning a wedding, with 39% going so far as to opt for their dog to walk them down the aisle, 37% naming their dogs Dog of Honor or Best Man and 30% assigning them the role of ring bearer.
That’s a lot of responsibility for a dog. But the new trend follows a shift in attitude towards dogs, with three times more dog owners including their pup in their weddings this year than 30 years ago and 39% more than the year before the Covid pandemic.
A survey commissioned by charity and canine experts Guide Dogs to celebrate their Good Dog program found that on the biggest day of their lives, 94% of dog owners planning a wedding this year will give their dog a starring role in celebrations.
This shows a new trend for this year, increasing by more than a third (39%) since pre-Covid and reaching more than three times the level of 30 years ago (an increase of 213%).
In addition to starring in the nuptials, more than half (58%) of paw rentals who are set to get married in the next year say they would make changes to their dream wedding to accommodate their dog, with 33% stating the wedding would not take place. feel complete without the four-legged friend present.
As a result, more than a third (35%) said they would only consider a venue if it was suitable for dogs, compared to just 11% of people who were planning a wedding 30 years ago.
Nearly half (49%) of the dogs will also be dressed up for the occasion; ‘dressed for canines’ with wreaths (42%) or bows or similar (33%). 71% will be styled with a specific grooming style to match too, with a five (21%) suggesting they would be happy to spend up to £100 in preparation for the big day.
The research looked at why this trend is increasing. 47% of dog owners surveyed said their views on dogs and marriages had changed in recent years. wanting to include pets in weddings, as they are now less religious (35%), less formal (31%) and more individual (29%).
So what is the main motivation? Well, mostly, dog owners want to count their pup as part of their family (50%), but a third (32%) admit it’s to capture cute content for social media.
Tim Stafford, Director of Canine Affairs at Guide Dogs, said: “It is exciting to see so many dog owners wanting to share such an important event with their canine companions. It is a testament to the important role they play in our lives and the close bond we have with them, and even more so for guide dog owners. If couples think carefully about making sure their dogs are comfortable and well taken care of during the big day, most dogs will happily join in the celebrations – even if they may snore during service and speeches!
“When guide dogs are paired with someone with vision loss, they form a truly transformative partnership and invaluable companionship, and it’s important to be able to share those moments with them,” he added.
Guide Dogs also shared important tips on how to make puppies feel more comfortable at marriages:
Think about what your dog is happy about – you might have one that is super confident in crowds and loves all the attention, but some dogs might find the hustle of a marriage stressful. Coming in for just a few quiet photos with the bride and groom is a good option.
Have someone on hand to look after your dog so you don’t miss a thing, whether it’s a trusted pet sitter taking him home after the ceremony, or a dog-loving friend happy to hold the lead at dinner. After all, it’s your big day!
You want your dog to look stylish, but choose simple accessories like bow ties and lace collars so your dog can move freely.
Beware of the wedding cake, particularly if you chose a creamy variety of chocolate or fruitcake, as they can make dogs sick if they accidentally bite. You definitely don’t want to spend your wedding night at the emergency vets.
Practice, practice, practice your positive reinforcement training so your Best Dog or furry flower girl can fulfill her role, and have fun doing it too!