In a city of dog lovers, with 60% of all pets in the city being dogs, it’s no wonder some of you are considering bringing your furry friends along to your special day. So, with that in mind, here’s everything we know about having a dog-friendly NYC wedding.
It is no secret that dogs are people’s best friends. It’s also pretty well known that we are mad dog lovers. If you’ve met us, you’ve most definitely met Cordy, our sweet rescue pup. Our couples pooches often get in on the act when there’s a secret proposal or engagement shoot going on.
As New York wedding photographers, we love capturing pampered pooches from proposals to the big day. Dogs make for super fun wedding photos, and can make for a super fun addition to your wedding day. Who doesn’t want their bestie by their side when they say ‘I Do’? Let’s go over the different ways to involve your dog in your wedding.
The first decision you need to make is to decide on how much involvement you want your dog to have on your wedding day.
It could be that you want them to be there for the day, or even just a part of it. Or perhaps you’d like them to have an active role, walking you down the aisle, being a ring bearer or a flower dog. Or maybe you’d like to get them along for some cute portraits with the two of you in the beautiful surroundings where you’ve exchanged your vows.
Whatever your preference, making this decision before anything else will help you figure out the logistics of how it will happen.
It doesn’t matter how much you want your dog to be involved. If the venue you’ve already booked doesn’t allow them to be there, it won’t be happening! So, if thinking about including your pup at your NYC wedding, factor that into your venue search. We’re going to recommend some places we know of around the city a bit later in this blog post.
Have someone delegated to take care of your dog on the day. You’re going to be super busy and distracted by everything going on around you, so you’re not going to have time to keep a constant eye on your pooch.
Choose someone who knows and loves your pup and who your dog loves in return. Whoever takes the responsibility will need to be happy to walk your pup and scoop their poop when required, as well as keeping snacks and treats on hand too! Remember, caring for a dog is as time intensive as looking after a baby or young child. Whoever you choose needs to be someone dedicated and responsible to look after your four-legged friend for the day.
Alternatively, consider hiring a dog sitter for the day. Having someone other than a guest who is there to see your dog is happy and healthy will be reassuring for you. You can rest easy knowing they’re in good hands for the day.
We’ve found a couple of names to help you, should you need them. Pawfect for You are a dedicated wedding sitting service and cover NYC. And Pawfect Day is a local pet sitting service that also has a wedding day package. You can also consult your own pet sitters and dog walkers to see if this is something they could help you with.
If you get to wear a fancy outfit, have your makeup and hair done and look all jazzy for the big day, then why shouldn’t your dog? Factor in a trip to the grooming parlor a day or two before your wedding. This way, you can be sure they’re looking all trimmed and smart for their photos.
And if you want to go all out, and your pup allows it, of course, check out some of the super cute outfits you can get for them too. Puppy in a tux, anyone? Etsy has a whole bunch of outfits to choose from. We also love Baxter Boo’s selection. And for some cute ideas, check out this link.
Above all else, know your dog and judge, honestly, how they’ll deal with being at your wedding. If you’ve got an outgoing, friendly dog who is comfortable in busy places, then you’ll have nothing to worry about. However, if your dog hates crowds, gets nervous or anxious in busy situations, or gets snappy with too many people making a fuss over them, then you might have to consider not having them there at all.
Be honest when you think about this. Don’t force your pup to do something they wouldn’t enjoy or would make them anxious or upset. We’re sure you’d rather have a happy dog to come home to over than a stressed-out, acting-out pup in the middle of your big day.
Bring your dog to your venue before the day itself, so they can explore, scent mark, and get used to the place before your wedding. A dog in familiar territory is much happier than one in a strange place.
No matter how well-trained your pup is, there’s every chance they might act out on your wedding day. Anything from excitement about seeing all your friends and guests, to running off with your rings and every other crazy possibility in between should be anticipated. Ultimately, the likelihood of everything going perfectly when you’ve involved a pet at your wedding is pretty low. Try to accept what will be, will be!
Not everyone is a dog fan (we know, right?!), and some people also have allergies, so it’s worth scoping out your guests, or at least preparing them before the day that your dog will be in attendance. Also, be open to the fact that some guests may even choose to stay away because you want to bring your dog along. Try not to take it personally.
It’s definitely obvious to all the dog owners out there, but why not throw it out there just in case. Having a food and water bowl prepared for your pup will make them feel more at ease in their delegated space. Plus, a little baggie of treats never hurts!
Another way to include your dog in the festivities is to have them come to your engagement photo shoot instead. This is a great way to immortalize the close bond with your pup in photo (and video, if you want!) without having to worry about the wedding day. Plus, sadly, not all spaces are dog-friendly NYC wedding venues, so be sure to double-check when booking.
Our first recommendation would be outdoor spaces when it comes to searching for pet and dog-friendly wedding venues in NYC. If you’re choosing a park venue to exchange your vows, then you’re onto a great start. There are so many beautiful spots around the city.
Central Park is a place with a wealth of locations for your New York City wedding, and given that it’s all outdoors, dogs are more than welcome! There are areas where dogs must be leashed at all times, and there are some areas where they’re not allowed. We’d recommend checking out this awesome link for all the info before you decide on your chosen spot and whether to bring your pup to your wedding day.
Brooklyn Bridge Park is, without a doubt, a favorite spot of ours. Yes, we live in Brooklyn, and so we’re kinda biased, but the park has so many incredible areas for both your wedding and places to bring your dog along to! Just be careful with bringing your dog onto the bridge itself – many don’t like the loud noises and bikes zipping through.
Prospect Park is an excellent place for a NY wedding, and they’re super dog-friendly too! Like all the parks in the city, dogs do need to stay on a leash, but there are some dog-friendly areas of the park, so that’s worth investigating.
MyMoon Restaurant in Brooklyn is a stunning venue for your NYC wedding. It has a mix of indoor and outdoor areas and has been beautifully refurbished to a super high standard. Dogs are more than welcome, as long as they remain in the outdoor areas and are leashed at all times. It’s a great option for something really modern with a vintage vibe, and the food is exceptional too!
The Boro Hotel is a beautiful space in Long Island City with spectacular views over the New York skyline. They’re also listed as a pet-friendly hotel, so it’s worth talking to them about having your pup along to your wedding there. We’ve got visions of a stunning wedding in their rooftop space with your friends and family, including the four-legged members, there!
Above all else, we’d highly recommend having dog-loving vendors to help you plan and carry out your big day! From planners to wedding photography, the more dog-loving people you have involved, the smoother your day will flow for your pup. Just think of all the fuss and cuddles they’ll get! Do we need to mention again that we’re a totally dog-friendly New York wedding photography and videography team?
If you’d like to talk about your plans for having your dog at your NYC wedding, then you should definitely get in touch. You’ll probably get to meet our fur-baby during our chat too. She loves to hear all about your plans!