Pet Friendly Elopement
When your dog is a part of your family, it can be hard to imagine leaving them behind when you elope! Especially if you’ve raised your dog together, having your four-legged child by your side on the most important day of your life can make it even more special. If you want to tie the knot with your furry companion by your side, there are a few things you’ll need to know first.
Choosing a Location
Step one to planning a dog friendly elopement with your pooch is to find a dog friendly elopement location! Before you commit to one spot, do some research and make sure you’ll be able to bring your pets. Most national parks, for example, aren’t dog friendly at all. They’ll allow dogs in parking lots and at overlooks (basically anywhere that cars can go), but other than that, dogs can’t be on the trails or anywhere else in the park.
National forests, on the other hand, almost always allow dogs on the trails – as long as they’re on a leash.
As an added bonus, they tend to be much less crowded than national parks, and are usually less strict about where you can have an elopement ceremony!
When you’re looking at potential elopement locations, make sure to research if they allow pets! Rules vary from park to park and sometimes even trail to trail, so always double check.
After you’ve confirmed that your fur baby is allowed to join, make sure that they will be safe to do so! You know your dog best, so you’ll know if they can handle a long, steep hike or a rock scramble. Are they okay to fly to your elopement location? Can they be in the car for a road trip?
Including Your Dog In Your Elopement
Here are a few fun ways to get your dog involved in the big day!
GET THEM SOME WEDDING ATTIRE
Most dogs aren’t into wearing a three piece suit (but if yours is… go for it!), but that doesn’t mean they can’t get a little dressed up for the occasion. A bow tie is always an adorable addition, or a floral collar. You can ask your florist to make one for your dog to match the bouquet!
MAKE THEM YOUR RING BEARER OR FLOWER DOG
Ring bearers aren’t bears, but they can definitely be dogs! Traditional weddings have a flower girl, and so can yours! Attach the rings to your dog’s collar or load up a basket with flower petals and have your pup carry it – you’ll have everyone melting from the cuteness!
HAVE THEM SIGN YOUR MARRIAGE LICENSE
This one might be surprising – but yes, your dog can be your witness! But only in some states. Marriage licenses always have room for two witnesses to sign, but some states only require one, or even none! Double check the marriage laws of the state you’re eloping in, but if that’s the case, you can bring an ink pad and have your fur baby stamp their paw print on the witness line! Colorado and Hawaii don’t require witnesses at all, while Nevada only requires one.
Keeping Your Dog Safe During Your Elopement
I know safety is always the number one priority when it comes to your four legged child, and your elopement day is no different. Here are some tips for keeping your dog safe!
KEEP THEM LEASHED
Even if your dog is a well behaved angel, it’s important to always keep them on a leash unless permitted. You never know how other dogs will react, or you may even run into an animal on your elopement day hike! Your pup probably doesn’t have a lot of experience fighting off bears, so keep them close and keep them safe.
BRING THE PROPER SUPPLIES
Your dog will need a few things, especially if you’re hiking! Here are a few things to remember to pack with you.
- Food & water + dishes
- Treats (to bribe your pup to pose for photos)
- Leash & harness/collar
- Poo bags; I prefer these ones from Amazon
- Optional: Fido Pro Pack (for emergencies)
- Accessories: Bow ties, floral collar, or even a veil!
Do your research on your elopement location! If you’re hiking, check if there are any tough rock scrambles or spots that might be difficult for non-humans. Make sure your dog is fit and able to hike, and that you have extra water in case the weather gets hot. Stay alert for wildlife, mystery plants that your pup might be tempted to eat, and anything else that might distract your fur baby. You know your dog best, so trust your instincts!