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Planning Your Dog Friendly Wanaka Wedding

Your wedding day is one of the most important days in your life and what better way to celebrate your marriage than to have your furry best friend there with you?

Having your pet celebrating the big day alongside you and your guests is an amazing thing. It’s even better when there is no stress involved and you know that your pooch is being cared for throughout the day.

The reason many people steer away from having their dog at their wedding is because of the unanswered questions and organisation involved... Who looks after them? When can we feed them? Where can they get water from? What if they need to be let out in the middle of the ceremony? Your guests are far too busy soaking up the atmosphere (and the booze!) and of course you have a million and one other things to think about. This is where a professional service such as ourselves comes to the rescue. Wanaka Dog Walking & Pet Sitting now offer wedding pet care services! Yay!

So, in celebration of this new wedding pet care service, let us give you a few tips on what to consider about having your dog at your Wanaka wedding.


Think about yourself and the other humans

You and your partner need to have a relaxed attitude if you want to enjoy having your pooch there at your wedding. If just thinking about having your dog around on the day is making you feel anxious and stressed out, then perhaps it's not such a good idea to have them there. They would be an adorable addition to the day but not at the cost of your nerves

Also, as rare as it is, there are people who might not be so keen on having pets involved. If you’re sure your dog is going to be a part of your wedding, inform your guests of your dog’s attendance in advance, as someone (or a few people) might be allergic or afraid of dogs - at least with this knowledge in advance you can plan accordingly.

Look at your dog’s character

What you also need to take into consideration when thinking about having your pet at your wedding is their personality. Are they cool as a cucumber and will be happy to be standing/sitting around all day, or are they a bit excitable and are going to jump onto the guests in their beautiful attire? If it is the latter, then you might run into some problems on your big day, which wouldn’t be ideal (although you can always enlist the help of your on-the-day wedding dog attendant to take them for a nice big walk to burn off some energy before the main event!).

You can work on your dog’s behaviour in preparation for the wedding too, so that they are less unpredictable and are able to show their faces on the day. And if your doggy is already the sociable type then great, there should be no issues with them getting in on the party.

On the other hand, if your dog is the aggressive type, or has a very anxious personality then it's probably best for them, yourself and your guests if they don’t make an appearance at the wedding. You want your pet there to have a more memorable day but it’s not worth risking a disastrous situation. And nothing is worse than putting your already anxious pet in such a highly charged environment.

Decide your dog’s role

There are a lot of decisions to be made about your big day, but determining the role of your dog should be pretty easy in comparison to the rest. Will you have your furry friend be a part of the ceremony as a ring bearer or flower dog? Or will they just attend the wedding as the most adorable guest ever?

If you’re not into having your dog carry out important wedding duties, or you just don’t even want to think of the stress that goes with training them for the ceremony, then they don’t need to be so involved. You can have them there rooting for you in a more subtle way. Imagine looking out at your friends and family and seeing your most beloved pet, sitting there smiling at you too. Just, awww!

Ensure that your wedding is pet-friendly

An important thing to remember to do if you want your furry friend at your wedding is check that you are getting married at a dog friendly wedding venue. It may seem obvious but planning your big day isn’t easy and you really don’t want to forget to do this or your dog will be turned away from attending your wedding, which would be sad for everyone. There are many dog friendly wedding venues in Wanaka, however most do require that they're kept on lead.

If you are travelling to this beautiful part of Otago to get married and are going to be staying in a rented accommodation, then it’s essential that they too are a dog friendly accommodation. But, hey, I’m sure you know that. (If you need a recommendation for accommodation you can bring your pooch to, ask us! We know a few excellent options.)

On a different note, it would be wise to also think about any potential hazards for your dog i.e. any poison that has been laid down near the venue recently or any plants that are around that may be toxic to animals. This should also be considered if you are involving your pet in the wedding as a flower dog, some popular flowers (such as lilies and daffodils) are very bad for canines. We wouldn’t want any dogs harmed on such a beautiful day!

Make your pooch look perfect

Having your dog at your wedding means having a bit of fun in making them look stylish! Take them to the groomers so that their fur is the softest and shiniest it’s ever been, and give them something incredibly cute to wear (yes, I am suggesting some sort of doggy suit or at the very least a bow tie. Even a collar made up in your wedding colours to match the bridesmaids for a more subtle option).

Of course, seeing a pet looking smart is always heart lifting, and no doubt your guests will be gushing over your furry friend, but you don’t want them to feel uncomfortable throughout the day. Look out for signs that the dog may be upset or aggravated by anything that you try on them first and if they aren’t feeling it, then ditch the formals. If your pooch seems fine being dressed up, it’s still probably best to avoid making them wear anything for a long period of time - even if this means just having your dog in their bow tie for the photos!


Phew! We know there is a lot to think about when considering your pet’s role in your wedding but it really is worth it to have them there. You will feel so much joy with your fur baby celebrating alongside you, and I’m sure they will put a smile on your guests’ faces too.

The best way to go about it is to set out your dog’s day; be prepared but flexible. And with a Wedding Pet Care Service there to lend a helping hand (ahem! that’s us), having your dog at your Wanaka wedding should be no trouble at all!


For more information about our wedding pet care services visit We have a range of packages available to suit all requirements and budgets, or we can work with you to create a bespoke service.

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