How to Include your cat in your elopement
This is part 7 in my elopement planning series – How to include your cat in your elopement! Dogs at elopements get plenty of attention, but your cats shouldn’t be left out! Elopements are all about doing it Your Way. So if you’re a cat lover like me, you’re probably wondering how to include your cat in your elopement. Because I wear the crown of Crazy Cat Lady with pride, this is something I’ve thought a lot about! Many of them would work for other pet species as well. Yes, even dogs. Here are my top 17 ideas! #9 is something I think EVERYONE should do!
How to Plan your elopement series:
1. – How to plan an elopement
2. – What to do during your elopement
3. – How to plan an elopement ceremony
4. – Here’s how to write elopement vows
5. – How to personalize your elopement
6. – Including Family in your elopement
7. – How to include your cat in your elopement – You are here!
1. Take your cat along on a Leash
You should absolutely never do this unless you know that they would be ok with it. A cat that frequently walks on a harness and lead is the only cat I’d recommend bringing along this way. If your cat isn’t having fun, chances are you won’t be either. A cat that gets carsick on the way to a trailhead is also not a good candidate. You really need to know your cat’s preferences if you’re going to do this route. And you’ll want to check in to make sure your elopement location allows pets. (Many national parks do not!)
2. Bring your cat to your elopement in a backpack
This would absolutely make my day at an elopement. One of these bubble backpacks would be a great way to bring your cat to your elopement. Your cat will be protected in the backpack and able to attend. Best of all, they don’t have to break a sweat getting there! If you are eloping in a desert landscape that may be dangerous for your cat’s paws, this is a better option even for a leash-savvy cat. Of course, if you’re bringing your cat to your elopement, you need to be prepared with plenty of water, treaties, and a bathroom solution.
3. Incorporating your cat’s whiskers into your elopement
In order to truly achieve crazy cat owner status, you will need to collect a few of your cat’s dropped whiskers. DO NOT pluck them out yourself!! But now.. what to do with the whiskers? I have been accused of having Too Many Ideas and that’s true. Take a few of those whiskers and slip them into your bouttonniere – I did this for my husband! If you’re not having any flowers, you can pin 5 whiskers right onto the lapel. Or glue a few whiskers to a hairclip and wear them in your hair. Tape the whiskers in your vow books. I bet you can think of a few unique details that are just waiting for a little bit of whisker detail to include your cat in your elopement!
4. Bring a framed photo of your cat
Another great option is to bring a framed photo of your cat to your elopement. You can set it up on a little table at your altar, if you’re having one. Or, bring it out at dinner time. Your cat-photo could even have it’s own chair or place at your picnic. That’s pretty hilarious, if you ask me. Another great option is a locket that you can keep with you during the day. Many folks choose to wrap a photo-locket around the stems of their bouquet. Or keep it in the breast pocket of your shirt or jacket, close to your heart.
5. Bring their cat collars with you
If your beloved cats wear collars, consider bringing their collars with you to your elopement. For the truly passionate cat person, you could wear the collar around your wrist as a bracelet. Or (my personal favorite) wrap the collar delicately around a medium to large sized pillar candle. Light the candle at dinner together or add it to a circle of candles surrounding you for your first dance. Can’t you just see the cat hair drifting away through the breeze? So romantic.
I’m a nomadic and colorful elopement photographer with an obsession for mountains, hiking, and my cats. My photography style emphasizes the epic landscape of your dreams and the authentic moments that make you two.. well, you two! I love my job and empowering my clients to make choices that reflect their personalities. I’m also 110% obsessed with my cats. Maybe I’ll see you cat lovers out there!
6. Get ready with your cat
This option is great for those who are eloping a driveable distance from their home, and want to bring their cat! Or if your elopement is a staycation or a local honeymoon, you can bring your cat to your accommodation. Many hotels are pet friendly and some airbnbs are down with pets too. So put your gown on in a cabin with your purry best friend and the photos are sure to be completely adorable. Just be prepared for a little cat-style chaos! This couple got ready with their cat before their intimate fireside ceremony.
7. A cardboard cat cut out
I’m straight up going to give a $100 discount to the first couple who brings their cat(s) as life size cardboard cutouts to their elopement. These fold flat and can be carried in a laptop-pouch of any backpack. You can get these made at most UPS or Staples stores, or from etsy sellers. Bring the highest resolution full-body photo of your cat(s). When taking the photo for the cut out, I recommend getting down on the floor so that you get their cute little paws in the photo too. Ripping your pants to get this photo is optional, but encouraged. PRO TIP: Do order it a month in advance to make sure you have time to get it made and shipped to you. For an extra touch.. glue some whiskers on the finished product! Voila!
8. Cat Jacket, Vest & Clothes
If either of you are planning to wear a custom suit, this cat idea is for you! Many suit makers can customize the lining of the jacket to incorporate an image. That means you can have your very own cat printed on the inside of your suit, or on the outside of your vest (the back side.) Ask your suit maker if this is a possibility and be ready to send over a high res image of your cat. Bonus points if you can surprise your spouse with this by revealing the lining to them ON the elopement day! You can also wear a cat ear headband, custom cat socks or cat-paw gloves at a winter elopement.
9. Mention your cat in your ceremony
Your ceremony is yet another opportunity to get creative. To include your cat in your elopement ceremony, you could open with a moment of silence for those who could not be there with you.. speaking of course about Mr. Jingles and Snowball who could not attend due to their busy schedules of napping and knocking everything you own off the counter. Talk about how your love for Shadow brought you closer together. Or how when you first saw your partner with your cat, you knew they were the one! Pretend that your cat sent along a note for you guys to read at the ceremony – what would they say? There are more tips on writing your cats into your ceremony in my guide on how to write your elopement vows.
10. Draw your cat together + play games
Before you object- remember that you don’t have to be good at something to enjoy it. 🙂 Imagine sitting back-to-back with your partner on your elopement day. Maybe you’re outside, looking out over a big view or maybe you just finished dinner and you’re sharing a bottle of wine by the fire. You’ve each got a drawing pad and a pencil. Now.. draw your cat from memory. It can be as cartoonish and silly as you’d like! The results will be too funny not to share. Get some 90’s gel pens and draw your favorite cat doodle on each other. Introverted couples can also enjoy playing a game of exploding kittens or other cat themed game.
11. Have a next-day elopement photo session with your cat
If the idea of bringing your cat to your actual elopement sounds more stressful than fun, I don’t blame you! Cats can be.. particular. So, let’s go to them! Having a photos with your babies in your wedding clothes is a treat that not many get to experience. But it’s totally possible with an in-home session after your elopement. Consider booking a 1.5 day elopement to get those dreamy portraits of you looking your best WITH your feline friend. Imagine your cutie peeking out from under a dress! I did this myself and I can’t tell you how much I TREASURE these photos!
12. Include your cats in your elopement vow pages
Hear me out – your vows might get emotional. And you might need a giggle break. Print out a few hilarious photos of your cats that you know your partner will laugh at. Put them between the pages of your vow books and flip them around when things are getting a bit heavy. Your partner will crack up when they see which photos you chose, I guarantee it. Or print out large 8×10 photos and write your vows directly on the back, so your cat’s goofy self is facing your partner while you read. The most you make your elopement unique to you two, the more fun you will have.
13. Elope on a cat island or in a Cat Cafe
This is a dream of mine – but maybe if you love cats like I do, it can be your dream too! There are two cat islands in the world that I know of. The cat sanctuary on the Hawaiian island of Lanai is a short ferry ride away from Maui. And the island of Aoshima in Japan is known for being overrun with cats. There are several other Japanese islands nearby where the cat population exceeds the human population. These cat colonies would have any cat lover swooning. Think of the KITTENS! You may also inquire about buying out a cat cafe for a half day. This would be an amazing wintertime elopement location or intimate reception spot.
14. Exchange cat themed gifts
Some partners want to exchange gifts with each other on their elopement day, and I love this! There are so many great cat themed gifts. The very best ones can’t be found on Amazon, though. Makers on Etsy and artists on Instagram are my favorites to buy from. Custom is key! Jewelry, like a charm bracelet or simple cat motif necklace or ring would be tasteful. My favorite is silly wall art of your kitty made into a regal painting from the 1700s. Or re imagined in psychadelic watercolor. Or perhaps photoshopped onto a slice of pizza and speeding through space on a T shirt. Please be as ridiculous as possible.
15. DIY cat elopement ideas
Why not make your cat friends into a clay cake topper? Or if you’re any good with needlepoint, embroider a little cat on the edge of your gown. Brush your cat and felt their hair into a miniature of them. Drink hot cocoa out of custom cricut cat mugs. Laminate a photo of your cat to keep in a shirt pocket over your heart. Visit a cat shelter and make a donation together – maybe sponsor the adoption fee of a senior cat. Even just sleeping in is the kind of activity your cat would approve of!
16. Do a Boudoir session with your cat
Similar to an after-elopement session, a steamy boudoir session is often done on another day that isn’t your elopement. Typically these are done in your home before you get married and the images are often given as gifts to your spouse. So what better way to include your cat? While I do shoot boudoir sessions without cats, let’s be honest – It’s much better with them! This is best timed for right after you adopt a kitten or two.. and AFTER you trim their claws. Boudoir is for all bodies. Rawr!
17. Get matching cat tattoos
It takes a certain kind of couple to be down for this particular adventure. But if getting matching tattoos sounds like the perfect elopement activity for you, consider getting matching cat tattoos! Paw prints, your cat’s name or silly nickname, the outline of their ears, or your cat as a loaf all would make adorable cat tattoos. You can also get temporary tattoos made for you. I’m sure there’s something ridiculous that your cat does that you can imagine having on your body at all times. I’d love to hear about it!
I’m overqualified to write about this
I’ve been a cat lover all my life. Before I went full time with photography, I worked in veterinary surgery. And then I volunteered at spay/neuter clinics. I invented cat-ball bingo. I have returned 2 lost cats to their owners. I’ve fostered over 20 cats and litters of kittens. I’ve spoken at a cat convention. My own two cats get their teeth brushed and professionally cleaned. I’ve built them a stand alone catio (cat patio), a mobile catio for the RV, custom litter boxes and cat walkways so that my fluffy one can look down upon his staff. He also has a clear bowl to sit in, which is perhaps the greatest purchase I’ve ever made. Oh yeah, and I even staged a photoshoot of me giving birth to him and he knows seven tricks by voice command. And I used several of these ideas at my own mini wedding.
Cats + Elopements = Awesome
There are limitless possibilities of how to include your cat in your elopement! I hope this guide has given you some irresistible ideas! You can use any of these ideas in combination. The key is to have fun and don’t be afraid to DO YOU. Your elopement isn’t for your family or friends, nor is it for judgey strangers on the internet – so do what makes YOU happy! Which idea is your favorite?