September 4, 2023

If you plan on eloping with your dog, you may begin to feel the extra burden of planning an elopement with your dog, and the extra considerations that come up with that. Don’t sweat it, though! Especially here in Colorado, eloping with your dog is very common and easier than you might think. There are a few key things to consider as you’re planning your elopement, though, to make your and your dogs’ experience the best it can be. Let’s dive in…

Eloping with Your Dog - The Ultimate Guide to Planning and Elopement with a Dog

Entertaining Your Dog During Your Elopement

Keeping your dog entertained and cared for during your elopement is one of the first things couples consider as they begin to plan their elopement day. Lucky for you, you’re not the first people to want to elope with their pups, and there are lots of people who have done the heavy lifting for you in years’ past.

Have a Pet Sitter

There are companies that offer pet sitting, specifically for weddings and elopements, to ensure that your dog or pet has a good experience and is cared for while you’re getting married. They can accompany your dog to your ceremony, feed them treats and keep their attention during photos, and some even offer to take them back to your vacation rental after their role is done for the day so they can relax and cool off in a quiet and familiar space. These services are really awesome!

If you don’t have the means or access for a dedicated pet sitting company, apps like Rover, Wag, etc. can help for a small elopement where you only need a sitter for a small period of time. Another great option is if you have a friend or family member that you trust and would want to have along on your elopement day that would be willing to watch your dog. They can bring them after your photos are done to sign the license and take a few photos when it’s not as important if they mess up your attire, or they can just help them be wrangled during the whole thing if you want to spend all the time with them!

Bring Treats

Getting your pups to cooperate when you’re eloping with your dog can often be the biggest hurdle. Bringing treats or toys that capture their attention and reward good behavior is a truly important tool! I can hold them to keep their attention for photos, if they’re particularly inattentive, and we can help them feel included and praised for being involved in the process.

Dog-friendly Elopement Locations

If you’re planning on eloping with your dog, before you solidify any of your plans you’ll want to be sure that you’re considering locations that are dog-friendly. Both your elopement location or venue, as well as your lodging plans, should all be fine with your dog coming along. If your planner or photographer is helping you select locations for getting married, make sure you inform them about the dogs and ask them if the spaces they’re suggesting allow dogs. Some locations, like National Parks for instance, do not allow dogs on their trails. It’s important to know these regulations in advance so that your plans aren’t changed at the last minute if a park ranger kicks you out or anything!

Consider, too, if the locations require leashes for dogs. You can find cute “formal” leashes and attire for your pups like bowties, dresses, hats, tuxes, or bandanas too!

Dogs Signing as Witness to Your Marriage

In Colorado, couples are not required by law to have witnesses sign their marriage certificate to be legally married. Because of this, couples are able to have their dog sign their marriage license as a witness! If you’re considering having your dog sign as your witness, there are a few tips and tricks to be sure you know:

Tips for Dogs Signing Your Marriage License as Witness

Bring Wipes: Baby wipes, makeup wipes, or the like all are a crucial part of the process if you’re having your dogs sign your marriage license. They’re likely going to be walking around on the ground before signing, and you’ll want to clean off their paws to get a clear paw print. They come in handy afterward as well to clean the ink off their feet!

Practice: Before the big day, practice with your pup and have them get used to the inkpad and the weirdness of signing something with their paw print. It might help them and it might not, but at least you’ll know what the hardest parts for your pup are and feel more prepared about the process!

Ink pads: First things first, don’t forget to bring an ink pad! They make ink pads that are more mess-free “clean touch” style that your dog simply has to step on to leave the paw print behind on the surface the pad is set on — these are wonderful and a much cleaner option. If you don’t have access or time to get one of those, any old ink pad will do!

Don’t sweat it: Don’t expect a picture perfect paw print 100% of the time, and don’t worry if your dog’s signature is kind of messy. Messy is normal and the thought and experience behind the paw print is the most important thing!

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