Should Your Bring Your Dog to Your Elopement?

I would love it if you brought your little furry babies with you! I am a dog owner myself (scroll to the bottom to get to know Gunner & Dakota!) and I love to be able to photograph my couples with their adorable pets on the most special day of their lives in the beautiful Big Sur landscape.

Bringing your dog to an elopement is a decision that depends on several factors. Here are some considerations to help you make the best choice for everyone:

Venue and regulations

Determine if the location where you plan to have your elopement allows dogs. Some venues have restrictions or specific rules regarding pets, so make sure to check beforehand. There are definitely some redwood venues in Big Sur that do not allow pets on property–so make sure to check beforehand!

Dog's temperament and behavior

Consider your dog's temperament and behavior around new people, unfamiliar environments, and potential stressors. If your dog is well-behaved, calm, and comfortable in different settings, they may be more suitable to join your elopement.

Logistics and comfort

Evaluate whether your dog will be comfortable during the elopement. Assess factors such as weather conditions, available shade, and water sources, as well as the length of the ceremony. Ensure your dog will have a safe space to relax and won't be overwhelmed or exposed to any potential hazards.

Handling and supervision

Determine if you will have someone responsible for handling and supervising your dog throughout the elopement. This person should be able to care for your dog's needs, keep them calm, and prevent any disruptions during the ceremony or celebration. I require my clients to have a "Dog Nanny" on the day of their elopement. This ensures that my couples will be able to wholly focus on each other and not worry about their pup and his or her needs.

Distractions and focus

Consider whether having your dog present may distract you or your partner during this special moment. Some couples prefer to have an intimate and focused ceremony without any potential interruptions, while others find joy and comfort in including their furry friend.

Photography and documentation

If capturing memorable moments with your dog is important to you, discuss this with your photographer or videographer to ensure they are prepared to include your pet in the documentation.

Ultimately, the decision to bring your dog to an elopement is a personal one. Assess the factors above and consider what will make the experience most enjoyable and stress-free for both you and your pet. If you decide not to bring your dog, you can still find ways to celebrate with them separately, such as bringing a photo of your furry friend along and having your photographer snap a shot of it with all of your other wedding details.



Assign your dog the adorable role of being the ring bearer. Attach a small pillow or basket to their collar with the rings securely fastened. As you and your partner exchange vows, have your furry friend walk down the aisle, proudly presenting the rings. This will not only add a cute touch to your ceremony but also create a memorable moment for everyone.


Dress up your dog in a fancy outfit, such as a bowtie or a flower crown, to make them an official attendant. They can walk down the aisle with you, standing by your side during the ceremony. This way, your dog will be part of the bridal party and share the joy of your elopement with you. Be sure to have someone trustworthy to handle the leash and ensure their comfort throughout the ceremony.


After the ceremony, dedicate some time for a special photo session with your dog. This can be done in a picturesque location nearby or even at the elopement venue itself. Include props like signs that say "Our Family is Official," "The Best Dog Ever," or anything that reflects your love for your four-legged friend. These photos will be a cherished keepsake, capturing the essence of your elopement and the unconditional love your dog brings to your life.


Yep, that's right! In California, your pet can be your legitimate wedding witness in the eyes of the law. In California, the government only requires one witness or none at all, meaning your pet can serve as either a primary or secondary witness. The dog or cat (or, hey, even rabbit or hamster) can actually sign the marriage license themselves—although they might need a helping hand from you or your partner to make it happen via signature or paw print.



Gunner is my 5 year old French Bulldog. He is stubborn and loves to snuggle. His favorite foods are watermelon and duck. He loves to fetch the ball, but never bring it back. His nickname is "Pig" because well, duh, he resembles one–but he also loves to roll around in sand, grass and dirt just like a pig in mud.

Dakota is our 9 month old puppy that was a Christmas gift from my husband. He is a Chesapeake Bay Retriever and Chocolate Lab mix. He has more energy than any other living thing I've ever met. He and Gunner definitely have a loving brother bond and Dakota pesters him to no end. His favorite thing to do is play fetch, and he especially loves to do it when he can go swimming. Whether that is in the ocean, lake or a river–he absolutely loves to dive in!