One of my favorite moments of our big day was our first look and bridal portraits. This was the moment where we got to finally see other and take a quiet moment to ourselves before the guests arrive and we get officially hitched! I’m also sharing five tips for having dogs in your wedding. This was something that was extremely important to the both of us, and we couldn’t imagine not having our pups be part of our special day!
All photos by Sam and Sola Lee Studio
The night before, Jeff and I spent the night apart. I checked into a hotel near our venue, while Jeff stayed at our house with 15 other family members that flew in from out of state. In the morning, we were so busy getting ready and running around that we barely had a chance to even text each other. The first look was the first time we got to finally see each other, and it was the last time before we were officially husband and wife! There were so emotions built up prior to the first look – excitement, happiness, and nervousness. Jeff rarely ever cries, but it was incredibly sweet and heartwarming to see him shed some tears when he turned around and saw me. This was the start of Jeff being emotional the rest of the day cause he also cried during our vows and his mother son dance lol. It was funny cause a lot of people asked me if Jeff cries often, which he doesn’t at all lol!
Shortly after our first look, we began shooting bridal portraits, which are photos of just the two of us. Our venue has endless photo spots so it was nice to not have to leave the property. About 15 minutes into taking bridal portraits, it started raining. I was devastated at first and couldn’t believe this was happening since we had perfect sunny, 70 degree weather all week long!
While it was raining, our photographers suggested that we take photos inside the bridal house with our fur babies. We instantly cheered up seeing our pups’ adorable round eyes and wagging tails. They quickly took our minds off the rain and these family portraits of us five are now my all time favorite photos from our wedding album! (Read on for tips for having dogs in your wedding) Luckily, the rain passed 20 minutes later and we were blessed with beautiful weather the rest of the day!
When looking at venues, it was an absolute must that dogs were allowed at the venue. We are so thankful we found Rock Creek Gardens that checked off all the boxes! Here are five tips for having dogs in your wedding. You know your dogs best so some of these suggestions may not apply to you, but these are what worked for us!
- HIRE A DOG SITTER. The most stress-free method is to hire a dog sitter. The sitter should be dedicated to your dogs all day, and could even bring them back to your house to rest comfortably. Since our venue was an hour from our house and our dogs don’t like strangers, this wasn’t really an option for us.
- ASSIGN SOMEONE YOU TRUST WITH DOG DUTIES. The alternative option is to assign someone (or two) you trust with dog duties. Two of our groomsmen dog sit for us often so we asked them if this is something they could do for us, which they happily accepted!
- PROVIDE CLEAR DOG DUTY INSTRUCTIONS. We wrote out every single detail for our groomsmen, including exactly where the dogs should be for photos and ceremony, when they need to be walked, how much to feed them, reminders to refill water bowls, etc. Make it easy for the person with dog duties and provide as much details as possible so that they don’t need to ask you any questions.
- BRING LOTS OF TREATS. Our dogs were stressed being in a new environment so we made sure to bring tons of treats. We distributed the treats in separate ziploc bags to everyone handling your dogs. They especially came in handy when my 10-year-old cousin pulled Tails and Chewy down the aisle in a wagon, and when our groomsmen stood with them during the ceremony. Our pups surprisingly were very well behaved!
- PACK ESSENTIALS AHEAD OF TIME. Prior to the wedding, pack up everything you need for the dogs. You don’t want to rush and forget something on the day of. We packed a huge crate, blankets, toys, food, treats, water bowls, diapers, and leashes.
Hope these are helpful tips for having dogs in your wedding. It was absolutely worth it to have Tails, Chewy and Boba be part of our special day! Not only did it mean a lot to us, it was memorable for our guests too!
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