Here at RAA we are top level dog lovers. Becca has a Golden Retriever named Bouy and Mandy has a little Havanese named Bo. We absolutely treat our dogs like part of our family and spoil them rotten frankly. On any given day you might find us in studio with our pups at our feet, or at home snuggled up with them on our couches, or riding around town letting our babies get some fresh air out of a car window. We have long been animal lovers and our puppies (all dogs are puppies regardless of age) have seen us both through the best of times and the worst of times. So when a couple comes to us with the request to include their furbaby in their engagement or wedding shoot, we are all. for. it!
The Best Dogs Have Jobs
Don’t be afraid to give your pup something to do on the wedding day! Maybe their job is to carry the rings down the aisle, or to pack the basket for the flower girl. Maybe you’re ultra sentimental and you want your best furry friend to walk YOU down the aisle with your dad. We’ve seen it all- and for the most part, it’s always awesome when couples incorporate their dogs by giving them a job to do. By having your pup fully immersed in the wedding process it allows you to spend even more time with them on the big day and who doesn’t love that?
Make sure you practice this with the dog beforehand though- when Spot comes walking down the aisle with a basket of rose petals in their mouth, everyone is going to turn and ohh and ahh. Some dogs can’t handle the pressure and that’s totally fine- but you want to know that before the processional begins. Practice it, give lots of treats and lovings, and make sure your doggo has the right temperament! If they aren’t a “job” dog, that’s totally ok! We don’t want to cause any stress on our furry friends.
Happy Pups Are Well Dressed
There is absolutely no reason we can think of that your dog shouldn’t have a little pampering on the day of. Get them a little vest or flower crown to wear! If they wont tolerate that, grab a leash and wrap it in ivy- it’s a totally noninvasive approach that we love for dogs who don’t love all the pomp and circumstance. You can even buy dog safe nail polish for your best girl if you want her to have a little manicure the day of (Mandy’s dog would never by the way, you can’t even look at his paws without getting the stink eye).
Becca is a huge fan of dog bowties. Bouy has a collection of roughly ten thousand little bowties that he wears every day and he loves them. They’re relatively inexpensive online and you can get them in any color and style imaginable. If nothing else, a cute little bowtie is an excellent option!
Photography and Videography With Your Pup
We have a wide variety of poses we like to do with dogs that are based on their relationship with the couple. During the McCuiston Wedding, their dog was the Grooms lifelong bestie. We did tons of grooms portraits with their pup and he even accompanied the groom during the letter reading. He was our first doggo with the ivy leash trick!
We do our best to avoid flash and quick movements with our four legged friends. We don’t want to upset the dog and we don’t want to get them riled up right before the ceremony either. Be sure you bring treats along on the big day to help encourage and reassure your furbaby so that it remains a fun and loving experience for them.
Both Becca and Mandy will likely get some shots of your pup on his or her own the day of. Most people don’t take the time to do sessions that are all about their pets (although we do have those and totally encourage you to book one), and we think it’s important that you have professional grade imagery of ALL family members, regardless of species!
We want to see your natural interactions with your dog, so don’t worry too much about the camera or what we are doing. The best captures we’ve had of pups with their owners have always been those that were organic. Set aside some time to play fetch, or to have a snuggle on the day of. And remember that this is all a lot for a dog! There’s new places and lots of food they can’t steal and way more people than usual paying attention to them- it can be overwhelming. So we always encourage folks to have someone at the wedding who is designated to take care of the dog when they’ve had enough- which is often right after the ceremony! Get someone to run them home so they can relax in their own bed (which is also your bed if you’re anything like us) and sleep off the excitement of the day.
A quick note- we hope you’ve gathered already that we are animal lovers. We want to make it very clear that if we see someone mistreating an animal during a wedding or any other kind of shoot, we will intervene. We do not work well with folks who hit their dogs or yell at them or demand things out of them that are unreasonable. It takes a very special kind of dog to be able to walk down the aisle perfectly- and we can tell you flat out that neither Bouy or Bo would be able to do that. You cannot make a dog do anything by hitting them and we only support positive reinforcement, and our normally very nice personalities will falter if we catch anyone (bridal party or guest) being cruel to an animal. If you know that your dogs behavior on the day of your wedding will stress you out or make you angry- leave them at home.
Finally, all warnings aside, we would love to talk to you about incorporating your best furry friend into your wedding and we can always work time into your timeline of the day to help you enjoy having them by your side. We can’t wait to work with you AND your wedding pup!
With love and pretty paws,
Becca & Mandy