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Having a pet be part of your wedding may be a relatively new thing, but plenty of photographers have already been involved in some hairy situations.

One couple wanted a menagerie of animals included in their outdoor ceremony. But getting them all in place was harder than anticipated.

“My advice would be to not have so many pets involved that it’s an overwhelming zoo,” says Heidi Hoffman of Pine and Forge Photography. “I would also suggest a pet attendant, someone who is familiar with the animals and can make sure they are well taken care of throughout the day.”

Ashley Vela of Barking Vows pet handling service in Omaha agrees. Her tips:

  • Select a person who knows your pet and/or has experience handling a pet like yours. Choose someone who is not in your wedding party; this way, the handler can be totally focused on the responsibilities of dealing with the pet.
  • Be sure the handler is equipped with poop bags and cleaning products if your pet will be indoors.
  • Consider having your pet professionally groomed a day or two before the ceremony so it looks its best.
  • Discuss the photos you’d like with your pet, either alone or with you and others. Your photographer and handler can work together to get the shots. If your pet will tolerate wedding clothes and-or a floral crown or collar, have your handler adjust them so they look great for photos.
  • Have treats available. This can be key to keeping your pet on its best behavior.

Hoffman also recommends adding time if you want pets in your photos. “They are worse than children when it comes to paying attention, and sometimes it can take awhile to get a good shot.”

Vela agrees. Photo sessions with pets can be tedious, but that’s part of the job, she says. “Otherwise, I wouldn’t say there is a difficult thing about it. If you love animals, it comes pretty easily.”

They make sure your pets are on the guest list

Evan and Ashley Vela of Barking Vows hated that their three dogs couldn’t be part of their wedding.

So they founded a pet handling service to help other pet parents who want their furry friends involved in their big day.

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Ashley Vela of Barking Vows

For $100 for two hours, the Velas will transport your pet to and from the ceremony site and handle meals, cleanup and any medications. They’ll also get your fur baby wedding ready.

“We take care of every single detail when it comes to your pet,” Ashley Vela says.

For many couples, she says, it’s much easier to pay someone than to put a family member or friend on paw patrol.

The pets they’ve worked with have been well-behaved, she says.

But just in case, the Velas are covered by insurance.

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Marjie is a writer for The World-Herald’s special sections and specialty publications, including Inspired Living Omaha, Wedding Essentials and Momaha Magazine. Follow her on Twitter @mduceyOWH. Phone: 402-444-1034.

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