Can My Dog Be a Witness at My Wedding? The Complete Guide

Last Updated on June 23, 2024 by Jo

Getting married is one of the most magical and memorable days of your life.

You want to share it with your closest family and friends – but what about your furry best friend?

Your dog has been by your side through thick and thin, so it makes sense you’d want them right there with you at the altar.

This guide covers everything you need to know about having your dog legally witness your special day.

Can a Dog Legally Be a Witness at a Wedding?

can my dog be a witness at my wedding

Technically, no. Legally, a witness to a marriage must be a mentally competent human adult who can understand and attest to the legality of the ceremony. So unfortunately, your dog can’t serve as an official witness and sign the marriage certificate.

However, that doesn’t mean you can’t have your pup involved in your wedding day! There are many special ways to include your dog that will make them feel like an honored guest.

What States allow Dogs to Serve as Wedding Witnesses?

No states in the U.S. allow dogs or any other animals to serve as legal witnesses for a marriage ceremony. Every state requires witnesses to be adult humans who can comprehend and validate the legality of the marriage. Some states specify additional witness requirements, like being a U.S. citizen or meeting certain age or residency criteria, that would exclude pets.

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So while you may see cute photos of dogs “signing” the marriage license or posing as maids of honor, they unfortunately don’t count as legal witnesses. But that doesn’t have to stop you from letting your furry friend be part of the celebration in a symbolic way!

How to Include Your Dog in the Wedding Ceremony

Even though your pup can’t legally witness your marriage, that doesn’t mean they can’t still play an important role on your big day!

Some ways to involve your dog in the ceremony include:

  • Having them walk down the aisle as the ring bearer or flower pup.
  • Letting them sit next to you during the vows wearing a bowtie or flower collar.
  • Doing a special unity ceremony that incorporates your dog, like lighting a candle together or pouring colored sand into one container.
  • Taking photos holding their leash or having them sit beside you at the altar.
  • Giving them a special dog-friendly wedding cake to enjoy.
  • Letting guests give them pets and treats at the reception.

Including your loyal companion in this way allows them to take part in your special day as a beloved member of your new family.

Training Your Dog to Participate in the Wedding

To make sure your pup is ready for their big wedding role, start training them a few months ahead of time. Work on basic obedience commands like sit, stay and come. Practice having them walk next to you on a leash without pulling. If they will be carrying something like rings or flowers, get them used to holding objects in their mouth. Socialize them around new people, places and distractions so they stay calm on the big day.

You can also do some wedding-specific training such as:

  • Walking down an aisle or hallway with you.
  • Sitting still next to you for extended periods.
  • Getting comfortable wearing a bowtie, flower collar, or other wedding outfit.
  • Posing for photos with you and other people.

With positive reinforcement training methods and plenty of treats, your dog will be ready to handle their special role at the wedding in no time!

Logistics to Consider When Including Your Dog

There are some practical considerations when having your furry friend be part of your wedding. Think about things like:

  • Who will be responsible for handling/watching the dog all day? Appoint a trusted dog sitter.
  • How will you transport the dog to the venue? They may need to ride in a special dog-friendly vehicle.
  • Does your venue allow dogs? Many have restrictions so check their rules.
  • What will the dog do during the ceremony? Stand, sit, lay down next to you?
  • Will they need shade, water and bathroom breaks? Factor in time for them to be comfortable.
  • Are any wedding guests allergic to or afraid of dogs? Notify them in advance.

With some thoughtful planning, you can make sure including your furry friend is smooth sailing. Their participation will add a unique and memorable touch to your special day!

Ideas for Involving Your Dog in the Wedding Festivities

Once you’ve handled the logistics, it’s time for the fun part – making your pup part of the celebrations! Here are some creative ways to include your doggo:

  • Have them walk down the aisle as a ring bearer or flower dog.
  • Let them wear a tuxedo or flower collar to match the wedding party.
  • Take fun photos with the dog throughout the day – getting ready, first look, portraits.
  • Include them in the reception – give them a dog-friendly cake!
  • Have a special doggie guest book for guests to sign.
  • Print their pawprint on the invitations, menus or favors.

The options are endless when it comes to honoring your loyal companion. Choose ideas that fit their personality and energy level. Your dog’s participation will make your wedding uniquely “you” while delighting guests.

Potential Issues to Be Aware of With Dog Witnesses

While having your furry friend by your side on your big day sounds idyllic, there are some potential pitfalls to consider:

  • Your dog may get anxious or overwhelmed by all the commotion and people.
  • They could bark or whine during the ceremony, distracting guests.
  • Allergies – make sure to notify guests if your dog will be present.
  • Accidents – be prepared with cleanup supplies just in case.
  • Follow leash laws and rules of your venue.
  • Designate someone to be in charge of your dog during the event.
  • Have a backup plan if your dog needs to leave the festivities for any reason.

As long as you plan ahead, you can avoid most hiccups! Focus on keeping your pup happy and comfortable throughout the celebrations.

Tips for a Smooth Experience With a Dog Witness

Including your loyal companion in your wedding is a special way to celebrate your relationship. Here are some tips to ensure your dog witness is a success:

  • Get your dog comfortable with wedding attire by practicing at home. This will help avoid any surprises on the big day.
  • Make sure your dog is well-rested, well-fed, and has had a chance to relieve themselves before the ceremony.
  • Have treats on hand for positive reinforcement and distraction if needed.
  • Introduce your dog to the wedding venue beforehand to get acquainted with the sights and sounds.
  • Have a designated handler on standby to walk your dog or take them to a quiet area if they get overwhelmed.
  • Inform your wedding photographer so they can capture photos with your furry friend.
  • Have a dog-friendly space for your companion to relax during festivities.

With some thoughtful preparation, your dog can be by your side as you say “I do” and celebrate your marriage surrounded by loved ones, both human and canine!

Creative Ways to Honor Your Dog at Your Wedding

Including your furry best friend in your wedding celebrations shows how much they mean to you. If having your dog as an official witness doesn’t work out, here are some other thoughtful ways to honor them on your special day:

  • Have your dog featured on your wedding invitations, programs, or signage.
  • Create a special doggie role like “ring warming dog” or “flower dog.”
  • Make them look sharp with a tailored tux or wedding dress to match the wedding party.
  • Feature fun portraits of you and your dog in your photo booth or guestbook.
  • Serve dog-friendly wedding cake so they can take part in the celebrations.
  • Dedicate a special wedding toast to your beloved companion.
  • Display their collar, leash or other mementos at the reception.
  • Donate to an animal charity in their honor as a wedding favor.

With a little creativity, you can find meaningful ways for your dog to be present in spirit. Their paw print will be forever stamped on your wedding day memories.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Who can be your wedding witness?

In most states, any competent adult over the age of 18 can serve as an official witness at your wedding ceremony. Witnesses do not need to be family members or friends, but most couples choose people close to them.

Can my dog be my wedding witness in California?

No, pets cannot legally serve as a witness at a wedding ceremony in California or any other state. Witnesses must be adult humans who can understand and validate the legality of the marriage contract.

Can my dog attend my wedding?

Yes, dogs and other pets are often included in wedding ceremonies. However, they cannot sign as an official witness. Be sure your venue allows pets if you want your dog present.

Can my dog be a witness at my wedding in Colorado?

Unfortunately, no. Colorado law requires two competent adult human witnesses at all legal wedding ceremonies. Pets cannot serve as legal witnesses.


While your beloved dog cannot legally serve as a witness at your wedding ceremony, you can still include them in your special day. Just be sure your venue allows pets and that you have two qualified adult human witnesses to make your marriage legally binding. With some creative planning, your dog can still participate in your wedding, even if they can’t be a witness. The key points are that pets cannot be legal wedding witnesses, but they can still attend weddings and be part of your celebration.

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