Understandably, the thought of leaving your beloved four-legged companion(s) behind while you and your fiancé ship off for your destination wedding is hard. While bringing them along for the festivities is a tempting option, it's also something that should be thought about carefully. This is your wedding, after all, and there shouldn't be any surprises upon arrival with your pets already in tow.
"While we all want to include our pets in these monumental moments in our lives, the first thing to consider is where the wedding is and how difficult it would be to travel there with pets," says Amy Burkert, founder of GoPetFriendly.com. Even if the destination itself is pet-friendly and your pets are seasoned travelers, you'll need to clarify all of the fine print of your hotel's pet policy.
Burkert notes that guests with pets may be kept to certain room blocks, which could impact your options of where to stay on property; that suite you've been eyeing for your wedding day and night might not be an option. Confirm which areas of the property are pet-friendly, as well as if there are any that are not. "Pets might not be allowed in all areas of the hotel—especially pools, restaurants, and bars, the places people tend to gather at destination weddings and spend time together," says Burkert.
Since you'll be so busy, it's also important to clarify your destination wedding hotel's policy on whether or not pets can be left unattended in the rooms, as well as if they have or can recommend pet services in the area. Realistically, how much care and attention will your beloved fur babies need over the course of your destination wedding, and how will you manage, share, or assign those responsibilities? It's important they're as happy to be there as you both are!
That being said, so long as the property's pet policy seems reasonable, and you have thought through and discussed responsibilities with your fiancé and anyone else who may be involved, it's always a memorable moment to see pets walk the aisle at a wedding ceremony. Pet-friendly L'Auberge de Sedona hosts more than 160 weddings a year, and four-legged companions frequently play a pivotal role.
"L'Auberge de Sedona recently accommodated a beautiful fall wedding where the couple's two, sweet chocolate labs served as the ring bearers. The dogs performed wonderfully, but the bride and groom had spent numerous hours working on commands with them so they knew the walking routines and when to rest on their beds," says Katie Cortopassi, the venue's catering and wedding sales manager. "Once the ceremony began and the labs, wearing matching brown suits, were ready to strut, they noticed the crowd and began greeting guests on both aisles while rolling in the grass playfully. When they made it to the altar, the crowd went wild and the bride and groom were ecstatic."