Just like your sister or your best friend, your beloved fur baby deserves a spot on the guest list, if not their very own role in your wedding day festivities. No one knows this better than Danielle Marchessault, founder and owner of For the Love of Paws, a wedding planning pet service based in Boston. Read on to learn more about how she got into the industry, how she and her team can help primp and prime your pooch for your big day, how to get your pet to pose for a photo and more. 🐾 💍
What brought you to Boston?
I actually moved around a lot growing up and have lived in over ten different states. My parents have a home on Cape Cod that we have been visiting every summer since I was about twelve years old. That has been my home base for the most part. My husband and I met when we were fourteen years old down on the Cape and became very close during all of those summers hanging out. We started dating in the summer of 2014, right before my senior year of college. When I graduated, I decided to move to Boston to pursue my Masters degree and to be closer to my husband who was attending Suffolk University.
What inspired you to start For the Love of Paws?
I have been an animal lover for as long as I can remember. I grew up riding horses and working with animals. After I got my Masters in Elementary Education, I knew that I loved teaching but that working with animals was my true passion. I started to pursue a Dog Training and Animal Behaviorist Certification and trained dogs in addition to teaching full time. At the time, a lot of friends and colleagues were getting married and looking to have their pups be with them on their wedding day. I started to look into if there was a service that allowed for that and found nothing! I decided to start my own business and it all just fell into place from there.
What do your packages include?
All of our packages include complimentary chauffeur service to and from the venue, full hands on pet-assistance come wedding day and of course, showering your pup with love. Your pet will have his/her own wedding day timeline, ceremony rehearsal the day of and their own Instagram highlight reel from the day! For the Love of Paws is based out of Boston but serves couples all over the country.
We saw that you offer pre-wedding training — what are some examples of what couples might request?
Pre-wedding training services vary depending on the couple and their needs. I have done training sessions that focus heavily on basic commands such as sit and stay, getting comfortable with sitting in a wagon to go down the aisle, carry an item in their mouth, etc. I would say that most of the training sessions that take place are for young pups that need a little extra support with basic commands.
What other a la carte services do you offer?
We offer a la carte services such as assistance with engagement, maternity, family and any other kind of photo session. We also offer a pre-wedding day spa package, which is where your pup gets groomed and ready for the wedding day. We offer pre-wedding day training services as mentioned previously and pet attire. Our pet attire service is where we help you find the perfect wedding day outfit for your pup. This covers things like bowties, bandanas, faux floral collars, etc.
Are your services exclusive to dogs?
Services are not limited to any animal! I have worked with cats, horses, pigs, goats and more. Different animals have different price points. Custom packages are typically done for those who are including a pet other than a dog.
Do you have any favorite or funny stories you can share?
A funny story that I have is actually about one of my own dogs at my wedding. My female pup, Brynlee, has Beagle in her, which means she has the Beagle howl when a critter is in the area. Well, during my husband and I’s first look, there was a group of baby bunnies crossing the grass right next to us and Brynlee went absolutely insane. Doing her Beagle howl, jumping, trying so hard to get to the bunnies! My husband and I always look back and laugh. Here we are, having this great moment seeing our pups for the first time that day and then out of nowhere, we have Brynlee sounding like she is dying. It is most definitely a moment that we will never forget. It is also one of the reasons why everyone should have a someone there to handle their pups come wedding day!
Tell us more about your fur babies!
I already chatted about Brynlee but she is an almost seven-year-old Beagle, Lab, Chihuahua and a million other things mutt. I rescued her when I was in college before I moved to Boston. Our male dog, Duke, is a four-year-old Great Pyrenees, Border Collie mix. My husband and I rescued him together. They both were at our wedding and I honestly couldn’t imagine it any other way! They walked down the aisle in the church, were there for pictures and spent the entire morning with us getting ready. Duke was with the boys and Brynlee was with the girls. Being able to see Bryn while I was getting ready was truly was one of the best moments of my wedding day. I was feeling all of the wedding day jitters and then her smiley face put me at complete ease!
What would you say to someone who is on the fence about including their pet in their wedding?
I would tell them that it is 100% worth it! I have never had a client wish their pet stayed home, but I have had clients wish their pet was there with them. It can be such an underestimated wedding day need. People don’t realize how amazing it can be to have your best friend there through it all! Especially when For the Love of Paws makes it totally stress-free.
Do you have any quick tips for getting a pet to pose?
My biggest tip is to have a solid sit/stay command before the photo session. Primarily, the stay command. If your pup has a solid foundation with those two commands, your photos will turn out great! Also, do not be afraid to use ten million treats 🙂
Keep up with For the Love of Paws on Instagram here: @fortheloveofpawsss