Planning a destination wedding doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice bringing loved ones along. For some, this includes their cherished pets. So, if you’re dreaming of a destination wedding, but the idea of leaving behind your furry friend is an unbearable thought, you’ve come to the right place.

How to plan a wedding abroad with your Dog

Remember, it’s your wedding, your rules. While bringing pets along isn’t impossible, there are a few things you need to sort out in advance. Each step is crucial and comes with strict deadlines that you’ll need to meet regarding your travelling dates.

While each country will be a bit different, it’s always smart to double-check the rules of the country you’re travelling to for their specific requirements. But don’t stress. This guide has you covered with all the information needed for travelling with your pets to your dream wedding destination, whether you’re flying, going by train, or hopping on a ferry.

Microchip Your Pet

Microchipping your pet should be a top priority. This is the first task you’ll need to complete on the road to getting an Animal Health Certificate—a must-have document for those travelling from the UK to an EU country. Remember that you must get your pet microchipped before, or at the same time as, their rabies vaccination. If you don’t, they’ll need to be vaccinated again before your trip abroad.

Airlines, ferries, and trains will check for microchips. But it’s important to know that they can only read those that meet International Organization for Standardization (ISO) standards. So, if your pet’s microchip does not meet ISO standards, you’ll likely need to bring your own microchip reader just in case.

Update Rabies Vaccination

To protect your animal and those in the country you’re visiting, it’s important to get your pets vaccinated before jetting off to your destination wedding. Unfortunately, getting those vaccines done is not as easy as it seems. There’s a timeline you must follow for them to be considered valid for travel. Adhering to these firm deadlines will be the determining factor if your animals will be able to take part in your wedding festivities or not.

In the UK, your pet must be at least 12 weeks old before receiving initial vaccines. So, if your pet is old enough but not yet vaccinated, you’ll need to get that sorted out. After your pet is vaccinated for rabies for the first time, you must wait 21 days to travel after receiving it. Keep in mind that day one is recognised as the day after receiving the rabies vaccination. So, plan your travel accordingly.

If your pets are already vaccinated, they’ll just need a booster vaccination. The best part? If this is your situation, because there is no break in your animal’s vaccine coverage, you don’t need to wait to travel after a booster vaccination.

For those travelling directly to Finland, Ireland, Malta, Northern Ireland or Norway, your furry friend will also require tapeworm treatment. The treatment must be given no less than 24 hours and no more than 120 hours (5 days) before you arrive.

If there is any confusion regarding vaccines for your pet specifically, reach out to your local vet for guidance. These professionals can ensure your pet’s vaccinations are up to date and help point you in the right direction regarding the next steps.

Apply for an Animal Health Certificate

Unfortunately, you can no longer use a pet passport issued in the UK to travel to an EU country. Instead, you’ll need an Animal Health Certificate that covers up to five pets. So, after your pet is microchipped and updated on vaccines, you’ll need to book an appointment with an Official Veterinarian—a vet who performs work on behalf of the UK government.

After receiving their vaccines, you must wait 21 days before you can apply for the Animal Health Certificate. This process costs about £180 and can only be issued ten days before travel. Once signed, you will only have ten days to use it to leave the UK. Remember that your pet will need a new certificate for each trip to an EU country.

When you arrive at your desired destination, you’ll have to enter through Travellers’ Point of Entry to show proof of your microchip, vaccines, and Animal Health Certificate before travelling further.

Find a Venue that Allows Pets

While it’s important to sort out the pre-wedding details, you’ll also want to make sure you’re covered once you’ve safely arrived. This includes choosing a pet-friendly wedding venue.

Inevitably, you’ll invest a lot of money and time, with multiple trips to the vet, to secure the necessary vaccines, certificates, and a pet-friendly venue. How unfortunate would it be to show up at your hotel only to be turned away due to your beloved pets? Trying to find a last-minute alternative place to stay would be both expensive and stressful. So, sorting out this detail ahead of time will save you in the long run.

Ultimately, we want to ensure there’s nothing standing in the way of bringing your dream wedding to life. So, if your fairytale wedding includes your pets being in attendance, we’re here to simplify the process. Now that you’re equipped with all the logistical information needed to bring your animals along for the ride, it’s time to get to the fun stuff: picking out a venue.

Finding a destination venue is difficult enough on its own. Adding “pet-friendly” to the requirements makes it even more difficult. To save you hours of searching, we’ve rounded up, in one convenient spot, the top pet-friendly wedding venues around Europe and beyond that are worthy of celebrating your love.