How to Include Dogs in Your Elopement:
You decided to elope. That's amazing. Your guest list includes no-one or just the very few you want to have on this special day. It's going to be intimate, romantic and all about you and what you love doing as a couple the most. But wait...what if you have a dog and they're also the most important part of your family? Great news is that unlike traditional wedding venues, elopements allow you to structure your day the way you want, and that means include who you want- and I meant your dogs!. There are some restrictions such as in National Parks (in general dogs are not allowed in national Parks and that's to protect the natural habitat, and don't disturb it).
But in developed areas, on many trails (paved paths) and campgrounds, and in some lodging facilities dogs are allowed. It depends on a park. Keep reading for my dog friendly elopement checklist, favorite dog friendly elopement locations, a packing list, Leave No Trace tips and more.
Finding Elopement Locations That Are Dog Friendly
Firstly you want to make sure the area and location you are considering for your elopement is dog friendly. In general, National Parks are the strictest, and shouldn’t be considered unless id don't mind just having some pictures taken on paved paths or camping/picnic areas. There are so many options for dog friendly adventure wedding locations in national forest, State Parks and BLM lands, but not every National Park allows dogs. If they do allow dogs, it may only be on a few limited trails or parking areas. It’s so important to understand that your elopement photographer (say hi!) understands the area so that they can ensure that the location you choose is dog friendly. I’ll be happy to scout the perfect dog friendly elopement location for you, and make sure we can include your pup in all day adventure.
If you’re really set on a National Park elopement and really want to include your dog in your wedding day, another option is to have the ceremony outside of the park, where you can bring your pet, then have someone look after it while you go inside National Park for pictures and hiking.
Make Time for a Photoshoot with Your Dogs
Capture candid moments: Inform your photographer and videographer about your desire to include your dog in the pictures and videos. They can plan shots that highlight the bond between you, your partner, and your beloved pet. Even though the location you chose might not allow dogs (for example a National Park) make sure to make time in your timeline for a quick photoshoot with your pet. This can be at the accommodation or pet friendly location outside of restricted areas.
If you're planning a post-elopement celebration, ensure that the venue is pet-friendly and inform your guests about your dog's presence. Consider having dog-themed decorations or a dedicated area for your dog to relax. Arrange specific shots where you, your partner, and your dog pose together. These images will create lasting memories of your elopement day.
Another Ways to Include a Dog in Your Elopement
If you want to avoid the stress of looking for places where you can have your dog during the ceremony, I recommend including him or her in the getting ready pictures at your Airbnb cabin or accommodation that allows pups. Even if your dog doesn’t come with you for the hike or adventure part of you elopement, it can still be so special to have your dog there for photos, the getting ready, or the first look photos. This is a really great way to include your pup i your elopement day! If you choose that option you can arrange for someone to look after it, or if your coverage isn't very long you can leave your dog relaxing at the cabin. If you have a dog that absolutely loves the outdoors and and hiking, I highly suggest picking location in a state park or BLM (great news for all Utah, the state now allows dogs on leashes in all state parks). Remember, including your dog in your elopement requires careful planning and consideration for their comfort and safety. By taking these steps, you can create a beautiful and memorable experience for both you and your furry friend on your special day.Now, are you ready to elope and bring your dog along?
Fun fact: prior to my photography career, I run a successful dog walking and pet sitting business in NY.