Wedding Wisdom Wednesday: 5 Ways to Incorporate Your Pet into Your Wedding

Local wedding pros share insight and tips for planning your wedding.

Jes McGinley
Cocktail napkins featuring a couple and their dogs

Bummed because your pet can’t make it to your wedding? Feeling like a part of your family won’t be there on the most important day of your life? Fear not. As a professional wedding artist and stationer of five-plus years, I am excited to show you some thoughtful and personality-driven ways to incorporate your dog, cat or any other pet into your special day through a pet portrait and paper goods. 

A signature cocktail sign honoring beloved pets

Signature Cocktail Signs 

Probably my favorite way to incorporate your pet into your wedding day is by including a portrait of your pet in a signature cocktail sign that you can display at your bar. After you have selected your signature cocktail with your bartender, name it after your pet. It can be something fun like “The Milo Mule” or “Mildred’s Manhattan.” No signature cocktail? Include the pet portrait on a cute sign that says, “Drinks on me!” and use it as a general bar sign. After your wedding, hang the sign above your bar cart at home as a blissful reminder of your wedding day. 

Cocktail Napkins 

Another extremely cute way to incorporate your pet into your wedding day is through custom cocktail napkins. “Cheers!” your guests from the napkin that holds their drink and see your pet’s face all throughout the night! Get even more playful and include a quirky line, like “Wipe your paws” or “I promise you can dance” under the pet portrait. Order a quantity that’s about two or three times your guest count, and set these out at your bar during cocktail hour and/or the reception. Your guests will be in awe of every little detail you thought of. 

A pup-themed RSVP card in an invitation suite

Invitations & Save the Dates 

One place you may be thinking, “Now, how is this possible?” is your wedding invitations and/or save the dates. You may want to keep your formal invitation … well, formal, but including a portrait of your fur baby on a supplemental piece can be a great way to incorporate your personality as a couple into the first thing your guests will see of your wedding day. Elements like the RSVP card, envelope liner, details card and even a wax seal can be amazing locations to incorporate this artistic, personal element.  

Wedding Crest 

A custom wedding crest design can be used on so many elements in a wedding. A wedding crest is a more elaborate monogram that can include personal items that are special to the couple. Try incorporating a portrait of your pet at the top or bottom of a wedding crest design. Display the crest on elements like your wedding invitations, save the dates, cocktail napkins, koozies, bar glasses/cups, welcome signs, itinerary welcome cards, or even have it created into a vinyl that can be displayed on the front of your bar or projected on the dance floor as a gobo. 

A donation card honoring a deceased pet and a living one who couldn't attend the celebration

“In Lieu of Favors” Donation Card 

Maybe you recently lost a pet who is still near and dear to you and your fiancé. In lieu of favors, consider making a donation to a local animal hospital or rescue shelter in honor of your dearly departed companion. Include the portrait of your pet (include wings or a halo as a special touch) on the card and set one at each place setting during dinner. and the card can do double-duty if you share a little thank-you message to your guests as well. 

Jes McGinley owns and operates JesMarried, an illustration, calligraphy and stationery business, from her home in Gahanna. She got the idea in 2015 as she was planning her own wedding to husband Chris, when she created a bridal party illustration for her ’maids. A frequent favorite in Columbus Weddings’ former “Etsy Eight” web series, Jes also is a fan favorite, having earned the title of Best Stationer according to readers who voted in the 2021 Best of Columbus Weddings poll.