Welcome to the first in a series of guest blogs from various wedding professionals! I want to give readers a few different perspectives of what goes on behind the scenes on a luxury wedding day in the North West of the UK, rather than just my own wedding cake view.
I’m going to hand you over to Annabel, who owns Pawfect Occasions, and let her tell you some more about the running of a dog chaperone business….
Hi Annabel! Introduce yourself and give a brief description of your wedding related job. How did you get started in your job and how long have you done it for?
Hi! I’m Annabel and I run Pawfect Occasions, looking after couples’ dogs on their wedding day, essentially I act as their “plus one”. I’m completely dog obsessed and live with 2 adult collies, a 4 month old collie puppy, 2 young children and a partner who puts up with an awful lot of craziness! I started 18 months ago after being on maternity leave from my previous business as a dog walker of 5 years, and after attending several weddings for dog walking clients I decided to test the waters with a whole new venture. I’ve always loved dogs, I did a degree in dog behaviour whilst working at a large rescue shelter down south too, so what better way to progress than to have all the fun of looking after human’s best friend than to enjoy the all the happiness a wedding entails too!
What prep would you do before the big day? How much work do you do with your clients before the wedding?
It is the dog’s welfare that is most important to me, therefore I start off the booking process with an in depth talk about their behaviour and how they are in everyday life, as well as in a busy environment like a large celebration. I always make sure I meet the dog and their humans in their own home, where they are most comfortable (and where I’m likely to collect them from), this could be once or many times depending on how they cope with strangers or new situations. For some, like the fabulous Hodor, I walk once or twice a month so that he has a special bond with me before the big day.
I love my job, I get to see some of the happiest moments of peoples’ lives, get my doggy fix and I get to call it my career.Annabel – Pawfect Occasions
What time you would start on the day & how do you start your day (breakfast or coffee)?
For the most part I pick up the dog between 8 and 11 in the morning, meaning that the bride and groom can get on with their preparations. Quite often this means a cheeky brew and breakfast at a dog friendly pub or café. Preparation at the venue usually starts an hour or so before the ceremony, we get the chance to have a good sniff and explore of the venue, and then a fair bit of attention from all the guests. I also have to make sure they look the part, I always have pretty leads, towels and brushes in my car so we can have a spruce up, not to mention their flower collars, bandanas or harnesses.
When the wedding begins, is your job over, or just starting? What happens with the rest of the day for you?
Most of my couples want me there with the dog until after the photographs. My favourite part of the day is definitely seeing the pup involved in the ceremony, the guests’ faces as they walk their human down the aisle is heart-warming. A lot of the time we have spent hours before the wedding day working together to train them to walk nicely or carrying a ring down the aisle, it is just the cutest!
My favourite part of the day is definitely seeing the pup involved in the ceremony, the guests’ faces as they walk their human down the aisle is heart-warming.Annabel – Pawfect Occasions
When the wedding is all finished, are you finished too, or do you have extra duties after the wedding?
We aren’t finished there either! The main reason for me being with the dog in the first place is because all the people the couple trust are at the wedding, so what happens afterwards? I’m normally asked to look after them for at least a few hours afterwards, this is where we have a nice relaxing walk and a relax at home, not forgetting a bit of food too. Sometimes I will even stay over.
Any favourites? Moments? Venues?
I love my job, I get to see some of the happiest moments of peoples’ lives, get my doggy fix and I get to call it my career. Probably my favourite moment is when the dog sees the bride before she goes into the ceremony. For my couples, their dog is their family, most of them don’t have kids yet and they are like the first child and spoiled rotten, so it’s such a pure moment to witness. I also love that I get to see some of the most beautiful locations in the North West, both at the venues and the surrounding countryside. Out of all the venues I’ve been to, I absolutely adore Eaves Hall near Clitheroe, it is stunning and they are very dog friendly (they quite often have a dog in the office!), it’s also in an amazingly pretty location and great for photos!
How are you keeping busy during the pandemic?
During the lockdown I’ve been so busy with the kids and new puppy it’s taken me nearly a week to write this, for obvious reasons weddings are at a standstill, so I’m in the process of creating a charity dog show with a twist.
So that’s me! Feel free to have a nosy at my page for all the info!
My website – www.pawfectoccasions.co.uk
My Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/pawfectoccasionsnw
My Instagram – https://www.instagram.com/pawfectoccasions