How to Have a Dog Friendly Elopement

When your dog is a part of your family, it makes sense that you simply can’t imagine having your wedding day without them! Read on to learn more about how to include your dog in your elopement or wedding.

Eloping couple petting their dog in Garden of the Gods in Colorado Springs

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As a devoted dog mom, I could never imagine getting married without my little floofer. Does that sound like you too? 

Luckily, there are tons of ways you can include your pup in your elopement, regardless of whether they are present with you when you have your ceremony. 

I’ve put together a list of ways you can have your dog be a part of your special day.

How to incorporate your dog into your wedding

If you’re lucky enough to be able to have your dog present with you on your wedding day, here are several ideas for how to give your furchild a special role.

Get ready together with your pup

Your time spent getting ready on your wedding day is very special, and often you’ll have lots of photos from your photographer of this time. 

Including your pup in this part of the day can also be very special if they can’t be with you during the ceremony.

Include your dog as your Best Man or Maid of Honor

A.k.a. Best Dog or Dog of Honor!

Aside from your partner, your dog is basically your best friend right? Your dog supports you and is there for you when you need them. Dogs are as loyal of friends as they come. 

So it makes sense to have them in a role typically held by the bride or groom’s best friend. 

Even if you aren’t able to have your dogs with you at your ceremony, you can still give them the title and get some adorable photos with them before and after!

Fluffy rottweiler mix dog wearing a flower collar for wedding

Include your dog as your Ring Bearer or Flower Girl

This is another adorable option for formally including your pupper in your wedding. 

You can have your dog carry the rings or deck them out in flowers! Bonus points if you can train them to carry a basket of petals!

Get your dog wedding attire

Nothing will melt your heart like seeing your pup in their adorable dog wedding outfit!

It’s like a first look, but possibly even better!

Here are some ideas for how to dress up your pup in wedding attire that will make them look and feel extra special!

Include your dog as your witness

If your state doesn’t require a witness or officiant, you can have your dog be your witness instead! 

For example, when you elope in Colorado you are allowed to self-solemnize your marriage, which means you don’t need either a witness or an officiant. Learn more about self solemnizing in this post!

Bring an ink pad and stamp their paw print on your marriage license, and then die of cuteness overload.

Have your dog wear a GoPro for a special wedding video

You may or may not decide to hire a professional videographer to capture your day, but either way, having your dog record your wedding is sure to result in some adorable footage.

Sure, you might also get some video of them sniffing their butt or chasing a squirrel, but in between those hilariously awkward shots, you’ll get to see your wedding day from their point of view. How magical is that?

Ways to include your dog if they can’t be with you

Sometimes your dog won’t be able to join you for either some or all of your elopement day. There are still several ways you can honor them and include them!

Include your dog in your vows

If you’re writing your own vows, I can guarantee they are going to be so personal and completely heartfelt. 

One way to personalize them even further, is to mention your furchildren in your promises to each other! Very few, if any, people get this honor so it is a beautiful way to include your dogs.

Bring a picture of your dog with you

Keeping a picture of your doggo with you on your wedding day can help you keep them in mind and in heart during your wedding.

This could be something as simple as a framed or unframed photo. Another idea would be to have a locket with their photos attached to your bouquet, or have custom cufflinks made with their photos.

Having your dog’s picture with you is also a great way to honor pups that have sadly passed on.

Skype your pup

If you’re in a location with wifi or cell service, you can Skype or Facetime your pup to be with you on your wedding day! Even if it’s just for a small part of the day, giving your dog a call will definitely make your day even more special.

Have a photo session before or afterwards with your dog

Another way to include your dog if they can’t be with you for your wedding day is to have a photo session with them either before or after your wedding.

This could mean having your engagement photos done including your dog, or you could even have a post wedding session with your dog!

Groom holding bride's hand while dog with floppy ears sniffs the wedding ring

Adventure elopements with your pup

If you’re planning to bring your dog along on an adventure elopement, here are a few considerations to think about while you’re planning everything out!

Confirm your location is dog-friendly

Of course you want to make sure your elopement location is dog-friendly.

Keep in mind that most national parks have very strict rules about dogs. For example, Rocky Mountain National Park does not allow dogs outside of the paved parking areas or roads, and campgrounds or picnic areas.

If you need some ideas of dog-friendly elopement locations, keep scrolling to check out the list below!

Prepare your pup

This probably goes without saying, but make sure your pup has the experience and physical ability to join you on whatever activity you’ve chosen to include them in. 

For example, if you’re planning to have a 10 mile hiking wedding at 14,000 feet elevation, make sure you know your dog can handle this! A doggy rescue situation is not what you want on your wedding day!

Leave No Trace information

Leave No Trace is one of the most important parts of engaging in outdoor activities! 

Here are some friendly reminders of Leave No Trace principles that apply to our furry friends:

  • Pick up your pet’s waste! Pet waste can cause harm to plants or other animals in the area, so of course we always want to clean up after our pet!
  • Know the leash rules of the area–and follow them!

Food/Water

If you’re planning on an activity for your adventure elopement, you want to make sure that you stay hydrated and nourished throughout the day. This same goes for your pupper!

Make sure to bring plenty of extra water for your pup’s hydration needs and plenty of treats to keep him going!

Wedding Day Dog Gear Checklist

Here’s a gear checklist to hopefully help you with packing for your pup:

  • Water bowl
  • Water
  • Treats/Doggy snacks
  • Harness/collar
  • Leash
  • Dog waste bags/waste holder (to help with the smell!)
  • Paw protection
  • Dog safety glow lights

Assign a friend to help

If you’re planning to have guests at your elopement, consider asking one or two of them to be a designated pup helper!

That way if you need to turn your attention elsewhere temporarily, you will know your pup is in good hands!

Dog friendly elopement locations by state

Colorado dog friendly elopement locations

Washington dog friendly elopement locations

  • Rattlesnake Ridge
  • Mount Baker Snoqualmie National Forest
  • Ross Lake (Diablo Lake)
  • San Juan Islands
  • Leavenworth (Icicle Creek)
  • Lake Cushman

Oregon dog friendly elopement locations

  • Smith Rock State Park
  • Oregon Coast
  • Tamanawas Falls
  • Willamette National Forest
  • Mt Hood National Forest
  • Columbia River Gorge
  • Wahclella Falls

California dog friendly elopement locations

  • Alabama Hills
  • Mt. Whitney 
  • Tahoe Paradise Park
  • Muir Beach
  • Sunset Cliffs Osprey Point
  • Sunset Cliffs Luscomb’s Point
  • Zephyr Farms Vineyard

Tennessee dog friendly elopement locations

  • Fall Creek falls
  • Ely’s Mill (Gatlinburg)
  • Honeysuckle Hills (Gatlinburg)
  • Gatlinburg Scenic Overlook

Florida dog friendly elopement locations

  • Ponte Vedra Beach
  • Palm Beach
  • Orange Beach
  • Pensacola Beach
  • Phipps Park

Michigan dog friendly elopement locations

  • Turnip Rock (Port Austin)
  • Miners Falls (Munising)
  • Porcupine Mountains Wilderness State Park
  • Noquemanon North Trails (Marquette)
  • Sugarloaf Mountain

Georgia dog friendly elopement locations

  • Jekyll Island
  • Fort Mountain State Park
  • Mount Yonah
  • Cloudland Canyon State Park
  • Providence Canyon State Park
  • Toccoa Falls
  • Tallulah Gorge

Arkansas dog friendly elopement locations

  • Devil’s Den State Park
  • Petit Jean State Park
  • White Rock Mountain
  • Kings River
  • Hawksbill Crag

Las Vegas dog friendly elopement locations

  • Red Rock Canyon
  • Spring Mountain Ranch State Park
  • Valley of Fire State Park
  • Mount Charleston (South Loop Trail)
  • Fortification Hill
  • Frenchman Mountain

New Orleans dog friendly elopement locations

  • French Quarter
  • City Park
  • Audubon Park (Tree of Life)
Eloping couple holding their vow books in a golden grassy field

Looking for a dog-loving microwedding or elopement photographer?

Looking for someone to help you document your special day? I’m a Colorado-based elopement and intimate wedding photographer, and I love helping couples turn their vision for their dream day into a reality!

I’d be honored to help you with photographing your elopement or microwedding. Learn more below!

Elopement and microwedding photography packages

What’s included in my elopement photography package?

My Colorado elopement/microwedding packages start at 4 hours, but when you work with me you’re getting way more than just a photographer. 

I am fully invested in making sure every single one of my clients has the most amazing elopement day possible. That’s why I offer help in ways that most photographers don’t! 

Here are just a few things that come with having me as your photographer, adventure partner, friend, and guide:

  • Documenting your epic elopement day. Of course as your photographer, I’m going to make sure you have amazing photos so you can relive your special day again and again. There are so many special moments outside of just saying your vows and taking portraits. Everything from the anticipation as you’re each getting ready, the laughs when your dog does something silly like always, the tears as you share your commitment vows, or your first champagne toast together as husband and wife. As a photographer, my focus is documenting these candid and REAL moments of your day, in a natural way. No forced or cheesy smiles here!
  • Custom elopement planning tools and guidance. Every client I work with gets access to customized planning tools, planning resources, and guidance to help make your small wedding or elopement planning as stress free as possible. From location ideas to timeline planning to vendor recommendations, no detail is overlooked. Forget the work, and focus on having fun!
  • All your photos. You’ll have access to a fully-edited online gallery of your images, which you can download in either high-resolution or web-size (ideal for sharing on social media). You can also order printed products like albums, canvas prints, or framed prints right from your online gallery if you choose. Or share your gallery with friends and family so they can relive the experience with you!
  • Travel included. All my packages include my travel, so you’re never surprised by extra fees.

Are you planning an elopement or microwedding?

I’m more than just a photographer. Helping couples create their dream day is what I do best!

Get in touch and let’s chat about your vision!

Get more elopement and microwedding info here!

Or check out more elopement planning resources…

A complete guide to Airbnb Weddings and Airbnb Elopements in Colorado
Ideas for eloping with friends text over photo of eloping couple in a field
Elopement reception planning guide cover

Elopement Photographer Kim from Wild and Found Photography

Hi I’m Kim, a Denver, Colorado based photographer specializing in Adventure Elopements in Colorado and worldwide! Photographing couples on the most special day of their lives is a true honor for me. But I’ve made it my mission to take it one step further than that. When you work with me, you’re getting more than just a photographer. I’m here to help you with all of the planning resources you need to have the most amazing elopement day ever! That includes everything from assistance with location ideas, timeline planning, and lots more free resources. So you can forget the work, and focus on having fun!

Couple looking at their dog during their elopement in Garden of the Gods in Colorado

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