When I was four years old, I was the flower girl in my uncle’s wedding. However, when my youngest daughter, Annie, was four, I wouldn’t allow her to do the same. You may be wondering why being a flower girl was OK for me but not for my daughter. Two words—different personalities.
You see, when it comes to Annie, being a flower girl would probably equal disaster. While I was a mild-mannered child, Annie is anything but. She is as high-energy as Tigger and as accident-prone as Pooh. As my husband and I pondered whether or not Annie should be in our friend’s wedding, all we could envision was her running around instead of calmly walking down the aisle or playing catch with the rose petals. Besides our concern for our daughter’s well-being, we were also afraid that because of her antics she would trip, land face first on the floor and knock our some teeth. We figured Annie’s activity level was exactly what our friend, the bride, didn’t need at her wedding.
Has your child been asked to be in someone’s wedding? Or do you think that they might be in the near future? If so, here are three questions to ask yourself before saying “I Do” to your child acting as a flower girl, ring bearer or junior bridesmaid.
Does your child have the personality to complete the task?
A wallflower would probably find walking down the aisle alone at a wedding as scary as the imaginary monsters in her closet, says Shelly Lindauer, Ph.D., an associate professor of family and human development at Utah State University. A child who doesn’t take direction well probably won’t follow the wedding planner’s instructions, and the bride could end up with a temper tantrum on her hands.
Will being in the wedding be a positive experience for your child?
If you have a precocious six-year-old who has no problem introducing herself to children on the playground, then she’ll probably have a great time being in the wedding. On the other hand, if your son is a bit of a klutz, being expected to hold the wedding bands on a little pillow for the entire ceremony may be too much pressure for him to take. Likewise, if your preteen or teenager is self-conscious about her body, having to wear a dress that someone else has picked out for her could be a recipe for disaster.
Will you or your spouse be in the wedding as well?
“Having one of the parents in the wedding may make the experience less frightening for the child involved or help keep the child under control,” says Kathy Moore, a certified bridal consultant in North Carolina. Even if you won’t be in the wedding party, if you ask to be seated close to the front, where your son or daughter can see you.
The funny thing about Annie is that three years after our friend’s wedding, my cousin Cara asked to have both of my daughters be in her wedding—my elder daughter Jane as a junior bridesmaid and Annie as the “bubble” girl. This time we agreed, and we’re so glad that we did. Annie was more mature, and having her sister nearby made the experience less scary for both girls. Jane did a beautiful job holding Cara’s train, and Annie took her job as bubble girl very seriously—making sure to stop at each aisle to blow bubbles along with kisses to guests seated nearby. To this day, she still talks about how much fun it was to be in Cara’s wedding, and that’s exactly the kind of experience we wanted her to have.
By Leah Ingram