Love Unleashed

Yes, you can plan the perfect wedding in Oceanside, California and include your dog! Idyllic weather conditions make Oceanside suitable for an outdoor wedding most anytime of the year. While dogs are not allowed “on the beach,” Oceanside is a dog-walking town with a scenic boardwalk, pet-friendly microbreweries and restaurants. Couples can choose from a variety of pet-welcoming hotels and other properties to host their wedding ceremony, reception and stay.

Weddings can be stressful for all involved, especially pets who are keenly intuitive to their owner’s feelings. If you are willing to consider your dog’s needs front and center, use these tips to plan a pet-friendly wedding with unrivaled tail-wagging! 

1. Use Your Best Judgment.

Does your dog revel around people, new sites and sounds? Is his/her age and temperament well-suited to the commotion of a wedding? Be honest. As you visit venues, take your leashed pet with you and monitor your shared experience and reactions before you make a final decision.

2. Choose Carefully.

Not only will you need a pet-friendly venue, you’ll want a wedding planner, officiant, and photographer who are smitten by your pooch.  Before you book your wedding venue, inquire about additional costs or permits required for including a dog.  Also, let your bridemaids and groomsmen know that as loving pet parents, your hound will be part of your wedding day.  You don’t want anyone who is nervous around animals in your wedding-day pack.

Looking for a dog-friendly wedding venue in Oceanside? Start your search with our Wedding and Event Guide.

3. Everyone Needs a Job.

Decide on the dog’s role in your wedding: Trusted friend, greeter, or ring bearer – the job should be a natural fit. For example, a pup that is easily distracted or doesn’t like to release his/her ball during play should probably not be a ring bearer.  Another great choice is including a furry friend in the getting-ready room, calming the bride’s nerves or outdoors playing with the groom and his groomsman. All will make for great photos and provide treasured memories. And, don’t forget to devote time familiarizing the dog with the environment, training and rehearsing the activities for a dog-smiling day.

4. Plan, Plan and Plan.

Including your dog in your wedding day was most likely an easy decision to make.  The rest of your choices may not be as straight forward. Plan to relax and enjoy your wedding to its fullest by hiring an experienced event planner that can assist you with making informed and creative decisions. Whoever you hire should love the idea of including your pet in your special day as much as you do!

5. Dedicated Care.

Your dog will definitely need his or her own caregiver. Select a trustworthy friend or a trained handler to be responsible for your pet. This person will be responsible for the dog’s safe transportation to and from the wedding, his/her wedding day tasks, as well as potty breaks, exercise and food. In most cases, it is ill-advised to include the dog in the reception. Dogs perceive the world through smell, and the combination of new scents, food, loud music, and dancing during the reception could be a source of unnecessary stress.

6. Communicate.

Share your decision to include your pet in your wedding with your guests. Those who suffer from allergies or may be fearful of dogs can make informed decisions and take necessary precautions. In addition, although your pet may be permitted to be on property, in most cases, your guests should leave their pets at home.Too often have I roamed parking lots during events to find beloved dogs that were turned away at the door to be left behind in hot cars.

If you plan to include your pooch, don’t forget to play up the theme. Check out these fun ways to show your love for all things canine at your wedding.

About Pat Letsos

Pat Letsos is the owner and creative director of Zperfect Party, a full-service event planning and styling company in Carlsbad, California. A lifetime animal lover, she enjoys getting to know her clients and helping them find creative ways to express their personality on their wedding day. Reach Pat at

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Published: January 23, 2020

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