Today’s vendor spotlight is Wags & Garland.
This service provides special event pet care to couples in Washington, Oregon, and California.
I first want to start out by saying THANK YOU. Thank you for offering this service to couples who want to include their beloved animals on their wedding days. I feel like the idea to include their dogs is really sweet, but it can feel inconvenient to figure out what to do with the pup post-ceremony. Not to mention, it can be extremely stressful for the dogs, too.
A bit about why I love this idea so much: My own little anxious dog wouldn’t be able to handle it! Luckily for us, our 15 year old Yorkie is extremely chill when she’s in her little bag – it’s like her safe space – and my mom was more than okay with keeping her close by and taking care of her on our day. If it weren’t for her and our non-traditional (and super short) reception, our nugget would’ve been too overwhelmed and anxious. We also chose to not have her walk down the aisle with us, but we did have a floral necklace made so she could be our “flower girl.”
I’ll never forget – as I was walking down the aisle, she gave out the cutest little bark when she realized it was me. My heart melted. I was so extremely happy that she was there with us as we celebrated officially becoming a family.
As a photographer and a dog-lover, I hear plenty of stories from my couples about how they wish they could include their dog on their wedding day, but just can’t fathom trusting a random stranger they found on a dog walking app. Or, they don’t want to burden their family members with the task when they’re already so busy with everything else that comes with a wedding day. It’s absolutely understandable!
When I saw what you were about, I knew I needed to feature you so more couples can have one less thing to worry about AND have their precious dogs with them, too. It’s the best of both worlds, really!
Stephanie joined me in an interview so I could help share her business to the couples who I know would LOVE the service she’s providing. You’ll find links to connect with her directly at the bottom of this post.
Who is the team behind Wags & Garland? Is everyone trained and insured?
Hi! I’m Stephanie, owner and founder of Wags & Garland. I am a lifelong animal lover, event planner, dog walker, wife, and frenchie mama to that adorable little guy in our logo, Mumford.
With a full heart, my mission is to help you live out your dream wedding by involving your best fur-friend in your special day!
I am trained in Pet First Aid & CPR and Canine Safety & Handling. I am registered, licensed and insured, and I promise to love your fur babe as much as my own.
Wags & Garland wedding day pet care services are available throughout the Pacific Northwest with our main focus on serving couples in Oregon, Washington, Northern California and Los Angeles. But we’re always down for a road trip and available to travel wherever LOVE takes us!
I would love to know more of the heart behind Wags & Garland. Was there a particular moment that inspired this idea?
The idea for Wags & Garland came to me during my own wedding planning in 2010. My husband and I wanted to include our bulldog Kingston in our special day, but we could not find a stress-free way to make that happen and we did not want to inconvenience our friends or family members. It was clear to me this service was needed to assist brides and grooms in similar circumstances and it was my goal to one day to fulfill this need within the wedding industry.
After 20 years in special events for the National Basketball Association and Major League Baseball, I decided to take a leap from the sports industry to the wedding industry and do what I love most – having clients that are tail waggin’ happy to see me!
With my deep affection for animals, coupled with my event planning background and passion for the wedding industry, I knew I could create a professional and personalized experience for both human and furry clients.
What services do you provide?
Wags & Garland is the Pacific Northwest’s choice for wedding day and special event pet care!
Let us be your pup’s plus-one to your wedding, so you don’t have to burden family members or guests with holding the leash and following your dog around on your big day. They can enjoy your celebration and you can enjoy having your dog by your side to share in all the special moments.
Whether your dog is a wedding guest, member of the bridal party, ring bearer or flower pup, we promise to take extra special care of your pupper and keep in touch with your wedding vendors to make sure all the best memories are captured.
Our wedding day pet care is completely customizable so that anything you can dream up, we’ll help make a reality. We promise your dog will have the time of its life while you marry the love of your life!
What has the journey been like since you officially started this business?
After working 20 years in professional sports, I was definitely no stranger to special event planning. My previous career included the planning of special events and league- wide initiatives with players, coaches, corporate partners and community members.
People always used to ask what I loved most about my job, and that was always an easy question for me to answer. It was the look on the children’s faces when they first saw their favorite athlete walk through the door.
It’s amazing the parallel I now see in my new career – I see that same look on the faces of the couples I work with when they first see their best fur-friend arrive on their wedding day.
Excitement, love, pride…it’s an incredible feeling to witness and I’m so fortunate to be able to bring that joy to so many amazing couples on their special day. Many of whom never imagined they could have their dog at their wedding because they did not want to inconvenience friends or family members with holding the leash and following their dog around on their big day.
Wags and Garland was born out of this need and I am so grateful to everyone who has been a part of this amazing journey since we launched just over a year ago.
Do you do a meet and greet prior to the event date?
Yes! I always provide a complimentary in-person meet and greet with each couple and their pet within one week of the couple’s wedding day. During the meet and greet we finalize the wedding day timeline, do a final walk-thru of the pup’s ceremony activities, confirm the pup’s wedding attire, discuss the details for the pup’s post-ceremony care and of course, spend some quality time getting to know each pup and their pawrents.
What would a typical wedding day look like for you, as the doggo-care taker?
Although each wedding day is different, it’s always my goal to create a fun environment for each pup on their pawrent’s big day! I can promise a day full of adventure, exercise, fun car rides, the best snacks, and lots of sweet kisses and belly rubs!
A typical day begins at the client’s home where I pick up our special pup of honor the morning or afternoon of their pawrent’s wedding. Once we arrive at the wedding venue I will dress and accessorize their pup for photos, take a few practice walks down the aisle, capture lots of behind the scenes videos and photos from the pup’s point of view, and coordinate the pup’s handling and accompaniment during all photo shoots, guest meet and greets, and ceremony and reception activities (with a few potty breaks in between). I always work closely with the couple’s vendors to ensure everything goes smoothly and to make sure the pup’s needs are always met.
At the end of the night, I take great care to ensure my new best friend settles in nicely back at home, provide them with food and fresh water, an additional walk, and then tuck them into bed to dream about how much fun they had at their pawrent’s wedding!
Do you provide this service for engagement sessions as well?
Absolutely! From proposals to engagement sessions, to family photos and more, I can help include your pup in your next photo shoot! I will establish the best arrival time with your photographer and keep your fur baby fully occupied during any down time with plenty of pre-photo shoot exercise and fun!
I’ll always have water and treats on hand, their favorite toys to keep their attention and to show us their best smiles, and lint rollers and potty bags for any accidents that may happen.
Do you have a wedding day highlight story you would like to share?
I always try to capture behind the scenes photos and videos of all of the candid and heartwarming moments that only a dog can bring to their pawrent’s special day and post these wedding day adventures, from the pup’s point of view, on our Instagram story highlights. Be sure to visit our Instagram page and check out all the super fun story highlights!
Where can people connect with you if they want to learn more or book you to watch over their cute pup during their special event?
I completely understand that every pup and wedding is unique! To request a custom quote or learn more about our services, visit our website to schedule a free consultation.
Wags & Garland will also be a participating exhibitor at the Marry Me Wedding Night Market on April 4th, 2020 at The Redd in Portland, OR. Stop by our table and say Hi! I’d love to meet you!