Being a lifelong animal lover, I tend to have a major crush on weddings that include our four-legged friends. In the hopes of this insanely awesome North American trend catching on in Israel, here are some tips for the pet-obsessed bride:
Selecting the Right Location
- Want your dog to walk down the aisle? Don’t be fooled by parks. While it seems like an outdoor setting would be the obvious choice to accommodate this little detail, most natural parks and reserves in Israel don’t allow dogs on site.
- Israel has a surprisingly high number of pet-friendly hotels, some of which also provide special event facilities (The Sheraton Hotel in Tel Aviv for one has stunning views of the Mediterranean). Make sure you inquire with the hotel first to see if your pet is permitted to participate in the wedding. Note that this may be an added expense; some charge extra for pet-friendly rooms, and could also tack on a fee for letting your mutt mingle with guests in the ballroom.
- If possible, host the wedding at home, as this would afford the most flexibility, and likely be more comfortable for your dog, who already knows every nook and cranny. Backyard weddings are popular in Israel, even if “Flower Dogs” aren’t.
Taking Precautionary Measures
- If your dog will be joining you for an outdoor wedding, have a pet-sitter or designated attendant on hand to ensure he has regular access to water. You will be too busy to keep watch so your dog doesn’t get dehydrated, which is a high risk factor in Israel.
- If you’re going the hotel route, it is strongly recommended to hire a pet-sitter who can bring your dog home (if you live nearby) or up to the room after the ceremony and pictures (you won’t want him running around a food-filled reception). A hotel room will be a new environment and can be frightening or stressful for your dog, especially if left alone. He may also damage the room and incur the cost of repairs, which will be yours to pay for.
Doing the Prep Work
- If possible, take your dog to visit the wedding location beforehand so he can familiarize himself with the sights, smells and surroundings (unless he’s already a regular). This will make the wedding day less stressful.
Knowing Your Dog
- It goes without saying that a wedding day can be overly exciting or nerve wracking for your dog. As much as you love the thought of him wearing a bow tie and sitting in the front row next to your grandmother, he may not be up for the task. If that’s the case, there are many other ways to incorporate Fido in the festivities without him actually being there (stayed tuned for Part 2!)
- Have treats on hand to reward wagging down the aisle or picture posing!
- Inform your photographer if your dog will be there so he can plan his shots accordingly.
- Be aware that some guests may be allergic and especially uncomfortable if your wedding is in an enclosed space.