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Posted: 2017-09-01

One in 10 couples give pets central role on wedding day
Image: wedding horse
Adopted horse 'Dekota' joined Sheryl and her husband at their wedding day in August 2016
Research reveals that almost a quarter of them would choose their horse

Getting married is one of the most life-changing moments people experience, so it stands to reason that people choose to spend it with their nearest and dearest. But many people will have noticed a subtle change in the wedding pictures peppering their social feeds of late – alongside the bonny brides and gorgeous grooms are esteemed guests of a furrier variety.

Research* conducted on behalf of the national pet charity, Blue Cross, has revealed that as many as one in 10 couples have given pets, including horses, a central role in their wedding ceremony.

When asked why, over a quarter (26%) said they did so because it helps them remain calm and overcome anxiety on the big day. They also said they involved their pets because they are such an important part of the family (20%); and some said they had to come along simply because they are so “cute” (12%).

Although we might have become accustomed to the sight of animals making a cameo at wedding ceremonies, the study actually shows that pets are taking on a much more expanded role. In fact, when asked what important role their pets would be playing on the big day, a massive 92 per cent of those in favour of pets’ involvement said they wanted to walk down the aisle with their pet as “maid of honour”.

Almost a quarter of those who’d take a pet would consider their horse. Over half wanted their pets to have a starring role in wedding photos and video (56%) and, although their dinner speeches may leave a lot to be desired, they’re clearly doing something right as a close third came best man (54%).

When broken down by species, dogs lead the way as most desired pets at weddings. With 36 per cent wanting their dog as their best man, 40 per cent had – or would – feature their dog in videos shown at the wedding, and more than half (56%) even choose to have their dog as their maid of honour.

While it is great that pets are finding roles in their owner’s big days, it is important to remember that beyond the cute photos and special moments, their happiness and comfort is the most important thing whilst they’re there. Anyone considering involving a pet in their wedding day should follow the tips below to make sure that a stress-free day is had by all.
  • Your pet’s personality – be sure not to put your pet through anything that will make them uncomfortable or scared
  • Check the venue is pet friendly in advance – you would be incredibly disappointed if you turned up on the big day only to find out your beloved pet isn’t allowed inside
  • Be treat conscious – give guests a heads up that treating your pet isn’t a good idea as they may not be aware what foods are safe for animal consumption
  • Notify the photographer (and your pet!) – make sure your photographer knows in advance that your pet will be involved in any shoots so they can think of some creative ideas of how to get them involved; and get your pet used to the camera too; give them a treat every time the camera makes a noise so they associate the sound with something positive and practice poses if you can
  • Book a pet sitter – have someone familiar on hand that can take your pet home and away from the festivities after a couple of hours.

* Survey of 2,000 Britons carried out by OnePoll

Image (C) Blue Cross

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