Keeping the Girl in “Flower Girl”
Published Sep 10, 2009
So you’re having a flower girl at your wedding. Congratulations! You have just upped the cuteness factor of your wedding by about 40%. You have also just upped your need to become an easygoing bride by about 80%. Remember the standard performer’s advice to never work with kids or animals? There’s a reason. And the animals are easier to train.
Choosing a flower girl usually fills your head with images of a perfect little princess preceding you down the aisle, but kids have a way of stirring “perfect” up a bit. That doesn’t mean you have to weed out your flower girl – just keep a few sanity-preserving thoughts in mind.
Treat makeup like nitroglycerine.
Handle it carefully, and remember that a tiny amount goes a very long way. It’s easy to forget yourself and make the flower girl up like the bridesmaids, especially if she’s dressed like them. But while some of your guests will see makeup on a young girl as a special dress-up touch, many will see it as sexualizing a child. You don’t want to juxtapose your trip down the aisle with a mass case of the heebie-jeebies. You may want to avoid using any makeup at all on a girl under 12 unless you are absolutely certain that every last one of your guests is completely comfortable with child beauty pageants.
And even then, still give some serious thought to avoiding makeup entirely.
If you do want your flower girl to wear a little makeup, make sure her parents are absolutely OK with it and deputize a bridesmaid to keep a very firm hand on the makeup artist.
Do check in with the flower girl’s parents.
Your wedding may be your day, but the flower girl is their young daughter. Make sure they’re OK with what she’ll be wearing. For example, some parents will be uncomfortable with even a low heel. There probably won’t be any problems at all – most parents will be thrilled that you’ve chosen their little girl to be a part of your wedding – but keeping in touch with them about what you’re planning will help make sure things go smoothly.
If they do object to what you’re planning with hair, makeup, or a dress, set aside some time when you know you won’t be stressed and listen to their concerns with an open mind. Let them state their case and make sure they feel listened to. Once they have aired their worries, they may be receptive to what you have in mind, but this may be one of those times when it’s best to back down, especially if your flower girl is very young.
Consider kicking in for the dress.
Again, this depends on the parents and the girl in question. Some moms and dads will be delighted for an excuse to dress their child up to the nines, while others will have trouble with the financial burden of a dress their daughter may not wear again and will certainly outgrow. If you think they may need a hand and you can afford it, consider offering to at least go halves.
Think about your flower girl’s natural temperament.
She may be cute as a button, but is she also usually found up in a tree or throwing dirt bombs? Not every little girl is naturally drawn to frilly dresses, and some of those that are can’t really handle them for long. It’s possible that your flower girl defies easy categories and can both run a frog jumping contest and drop your rose petals with equal aplomb – in which case, bravo to her – but check in to see if this will really be her thing before you officially bring her on board.
And when it comes to child wrangling, absolutely play favorites. If she needs to be coached (or coaxed) down the aisle at the rehearsal, don’t necessarily rely on her parents. Shamelessly enlist her favorite aunt Martha or any of the groomsmen she may have a little-girl crush on. The more she wants to please her favorites, the more she’ll please you.
Remember that kids will be kids.
Your flower girl will show up fully dressed and then have to hang out a bit while you and the bridesmaids flutter around with hair and makeup. She may love getting to hang out with the big girls, or she may be bored out of her tree. Bring a few small toys or a coloring book and crayons in your bridal emergency kit. You can also ask your maid of honor or most child-friendly bridesmaids to help keep her occupied.
Above all, maintain your sense of humor. Your flower girl will most definitely add cuteness aplenty to your wedding ceremony, but she may also add some exciting random elements like deciding to sidearm the flower petals or stopping to announce the color of her ceremonial underpants. Even if it’s not what you planned, just roll with it. She may not be perfect, but I promise you, it’ll still be cute.