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outer banks wedding pets

Tips For a Fur-Friendly Outer Banks Wedding

To a lot of us, our pets can be more family than, well, actual family. Of course we would want them to take part in our special day. Pet-friendly weddings are more popular than ever before with dogs, cats, and even potbelly pigs playing roles as ring bearers, flower girls, and welcoming hosts.

Pet-friendly weddings are more popular than ever before with dogs, cats, and even potbelly pigs playing roles as ring bearers, flower girls, and welcoming hosts. And why not? Our pets are as much a part of the family as Aunt Martha and Uncle Bill. Here are some tips to think about when including your furry friend in your special day.

You know your pet better than anyone. If you feel that they wouldn’t be freaked out by a crowd of people, or distracted by seagulls flying above, there is no reason why they couldn’t walk down the aisle dressed in a bow tie or adorned with a garland of flowers. In fact, older pets can make excellent greeters, simply sitting where guests arrive with a sign welcoming them.

Just a couple of things to remember before having Fido take part in your ceremony. For one, consider arranging for grooming before the wedding so your pet will look their best. If you intend to accessorize too, make sure they’re comfortable in fancy garb by trying it out a few times in advance. If your animal balks at a full get-up, surrender the fantasy and opt for a simple collar instead. In general, it’s best to keep adornments minimal and easy for the pet to wear. Don’t make him or her wear them for longer than is necessary.

outer banks wedding guide bride holding dog

Pullen Weddings

But before you get carried away with your planning, do take the time to consider some special needs and accommodations that must be made for a flawless pet-friendly wedding on the Outer Banks. 

outer banks wedding guide three dogs

Lori Douglas Photography

Find a pet friendly spot

The ideal time to find out if your hotel accepts pets is not at check-in day. Make sure your rental home or hotel allows pets, and be sure to check directly with them and not with Expedia or other third-party internet sites. Most pet homes allow for one or two adult dogs with an additional pet fee that can typically range from $95-$200. Some companies charge no fee, so it pays to look around.

Finding a pet-friendly ceremony or reception venue can be a bit trickier. Some Outer Banks restaurants and public venues will only allow service animals.  Rental homes are usually a good bet. Out on the beach, the regulations vary by town, the season, and the time of day and usually with good reason. On those busy summer days you wouldn’t want your dog burning their paws on the hot sand or getting overwhelmed by the crowds.

outer banks wedding guide tired golden

Lori Douglas Photography

Leash laws for each town

Corolla: Dogs are allowed year round on the beach and at the Whalehead’s Heritage Park, but must be on a leash.

Duck: Leashed dogs are welcome throughout Duck, including the municipal boardwalk, Duck Trail, the Duck Town Park and on the beach.

Southern Shores: From May 15th to September 15th, no dogs are allowed on the beach between the hours of 9 a.m. and 6 p.m. Otherwise they can be on the beach as long as they are on a leash.

Kitty Hawk: From the Friday before Memorial Day to the day after Labor Day, dogs must be on a 6-foot leash from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. From 6 p.m. to 10 a.m. dogs may be on a 12-foot lead. The rest of the year, however, Fido may run on the beaches in Kitty Hawk leash free as long as they stay within 30 feet of their owner and return when called.

Kill Devil Hills: From Memorial Day to Labor Day dogs are not allowed on the beach from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Leashed dogs are allowed at all other times.

Nags Head: Dogs are allowed in all beaches and parks as long as they are on a leash that doesn’t exceed 10 feet.

Rodanthe, Waves, Avon, and Salvo: With the exception of some designated swim beaches, dogs are allowed provided they are on a 6-foot leash.
And no matter where you go, please remember to clean up after your dog.

outer banks wedding guide haircut pup

Pullen Weddings

Support staff

The bride has a maid of honor, and the groom has a best man. Your dog needs the same kind of backup if they’re going to be part of the big day. And the odds are high you’ll be too busy to provide it yourself. Chose one or two trusted friends, preferably someone your pet knows, to be the designated pet sitter. Their job will be to make sure Fido has lots of water, is walked and fed, gets his medications, and has a bed or a shady spot to rest. If you think you’re hot in that dress, just imagine how your dog feels in a fur coat! Keep them cool and keep them hydrated.

Your pet sitter should also have a plan for when things don’t go according to plan. Weddings can be too much for your pet. The combination of new scents, food, loud music, and dancing during the reception might send your ordinarily chill dog into a tizzy. Have a secondary safe place for your dog to be, like back at your rental cottage, and make sure your pet sitter is prepared to duck out of the festivities and take your fur baby there if necessary. You will want to be considerate of your guests too, of course. Share your decision with your guests that you’ll be including your pet in the wedding. Those who suffer from allergies or may be fearful of dogs can make informed decisions and take necessary precautions.

outer banks wedding guide dogs on beach

Outer Banks Productions

outer banks wedding guide goldies

Left: Sarah D’ambra Photography. Right: Outer Banks Productions

Can’t bring them along?

Maybe your puppy is a tad hyperactive, or your choice of venue was not thrilled when you suggested bringing your beloved python. If they can’t be there on the big day there’s lot of other ways to include them. Get them in the picture for your engagement photos or save the date announcements. Have a cardboard cutout made for your photo booth. Or ask a local artist about making a custom cake topper that includes your fur baby.

Pets play a big part in our lives. Why shouldn’t they be part of our happiest day? Before deciding what their involvement may be, just be sure to have all the information you need.

Go to more Outer Banks Dog Information

Top feature photo by Pullen Weddings

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