Flower Girls Need Rehearsals, Too

by admin on October 7, 2013

I’ve been reading some great advice on the website and have a bit of a dilemma myself. My cousin’s three young daughters are the flower girls for my upcoming wedding. They live about an hour away from me (this will be important later). Since we have quite a few family members traveling in for the wedding my cousin has offered to host a large group of them at her home. This mostly includes her parents, siblings, etc. Since they live so far away this has turned into a blessing because these family members will be able to attend wedding and also spend time with my cousin’s family.

The day before my wedding my mom is hosting a small luncheon at her home for out of town relatives. The reason for the luncheon is to have the opportunity to spend extra time with these relatives that have traveled so far. My cousin, her family, and all staying with her in addition to other family members are invited to this. Those family members staying with my cousin will drive down in her large van with her.

Later in the afternoon, much past the time when lunch will be over I will be heading to my venue for the final walk through / rehearsal. I’m only planning on bringing my bridesmaids / groomsman, parents, and minister. I don’t feel the need to invite the flower girls as their task isn’t too difficult (they are holding signs and walking down the aisle, no petals are allowed there).

Herein lies my dilemma: After the rehearsal we are all going to the rehearsal dinner which will be quite casual, but afford us the opportunity for speeches and thank you’s. Since my flower girls are not going to be at the actual rehearsal do I need to invite them to the rehearsal dinner? My mom thinks that etiquette wise I need to since they are part of the bridal party. However, I’d rather not if I can avoid since they will be traveling an hour to the lunch with their extended family in tow. I would also have to invite the parents of the flower girls since they wouldn’t be able to transport themselves.

Please help! I’m confused! 1004-13

Having children participate in a wedding ceremony presents some interesting challenges.  If you are not up to the task of accepting those challenges, perhaps you should rethink having them in the wedding at all.  Of the entire wedding party, small children are especially the ones most in need of rehearsal.   I’ve seen grown adults quiver with anxiety just before walking down the aisle in anticipation of being the focus of hundreds of pairs of eyeballs and yet people think nothing of expecting small children to do what many adults find nerve racking.   And you want them to do it totally cold.   Recipe for chaos, imo.

And if your flower girls are really not part of the wedding party such that they would not be included in the rehearsal and rehearsal dinner, what are they but props?   I can’t think of what else they could be.   It appears you want the benefits of an adult wedding party, adult attended rehearsal (kids can be so disruptive) and an adult rehearsal dinner without having to deal with the potential “mess” kids bring to any situation.

I think you need to invite your flower girls and parents to the rehearsal and rehearsal dinner and let the parents decide how best to serve their children.   They may stay just long enough to rehearse and having an appetizer and then bow out citing a need for sleep for the big day.

{ 44 comments… read them below or add one }

Iris October 7, 2013 at 5:05 am

When my oldest daughter was a flower girl for my brother at the church in my home town (about 40 minutes away from where we lived at the time), my mother and I took every opportunity to take her to the church for regular services, introduce her to the minister, and show her where she would be walking and sitting. Since she was so comfortable in the environment it all went off without a hitch on the day. A few months beforehand she was a flower girl in a wedding where she was expected to ‘perform’ without any preparation at all. She burst into tears and refused to walk down the aisle.

In short, I agree with admin. If these children are mere props then it is better to leave them out, but if you really want them in your wedding preparation is absolutely essential.

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clairedelune October 7, 2013 at 7:54 am

I agree with the admin, and don’t understand the argument that “their task isn’t too difficult”–their chief task is the same as that of the bridesmaids/groomsmen, who DO get a rehearsal, isn’t it (walking down an aisle)?

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No Wedding October 7, 2013 at 9:21 am

Yeah, really! Why is it the kids’ task is sooo easy, and they don’t need to rehearse, but grown adult people it’s just too complicated for them, they need to be able to go over it multiple times? Are you saying your adult friends/family aren’t nearly as intelligent as these kids?

If the adults need to be at the rehearsal, then the kids need to be at the rehearsal.

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Lo October 7, 2013 at 8:37 am

I am not a fan of children in weddings because they’re so unpredictable. Sometimes it’s charming but usually it just holds up the ceremony. I also think it’s a lot to ask of children, they shouldn’t have to deal with that kind of pressure at a young age, especially when being surrounded by nervous adults.

I agree that you should definitely have rehersals for the girls. It may seem obvious to adults what the job entails but they’re just kids– how would they know unless they’re veterans of many weddings (some flower girls might be) and even then every wedding is different. (yours are holding up signs, for instance, so surely it’s even more important that they walk slowly to give everyone a chance to read them)

And then there’s the fact that they are actually part of your wedding party. Don’t they have to dress up formally? Won’t they be appearing in front of all the guests? Why exclude them and their parents from the dinner? It just doesn’t make sense.

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AMS October 7, 2013 at 9:04 am

Personally, I’m not a fan of kids in weddings, partially because I was a flower girl when I was little and hated every moment of it. But I also think it puts way too much pressure on kids who don’t really understand what is going on. I went to three weddings this past summer all with young flower girls and ring bearers, and at all three the kids either cried, didn’t walk down the aisle or some other way didn’t quite do what was expected of them. That’s not to say that all children will do that, but I honestly don’t understand why one would want to put a child through that, not to mention the expense of buying a dress, doing their hair (for flower girls), etc. I agree with admin, if you can’t do a lot of preparation and rehearsals with these girls, just relieve them (and their parents) of the duty.

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Kiki October 7, 2013 at 9:18 am

I completely agree with the Admin on this one. I had both a flower girl (6) and a ring-bearer (almost 5). My flower girl was a nervous wreck until the rehearsal (I didn’t know she was that worried until her mom told me at the rehearsal). She was so worried that she would “mess up” that she even had a stomach ache. However, that being said, the rehearsal helped to calm her down and show her that it wasn’t so scary. I’d have never dreamed of not asking the kids to come to the rehearsal (or the rehearsal dinner, for that matter). They were a big part of my day and I wanted them to experience everything. My DH and I even included them in our thank yous at the rehearsal dinner and hand wrote them thank you notes (which they loved). After the rehearsal, my MOH (the FGs mom) posted this on her facebook:

[Flower Girl]: ‘Mama, this is seriously, like the very very best day of my life. Ice cream, macaroni and cheese AND I got a heart necklace just for walking, standing and sitting!! That’s it!! Why was I so worried? I mean, it’s like the easiest thing ever and I get to wear a new necklace, a tiara and a princess dress.’

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Mae October 7, 2013 at 9:28 am

The flower girls ARE part of the wedding party- even if you assume “their task isn’t too difficult”- (who says they will be able to “perform” perfectly on cue without rehearsing) and to exclude them from the rehearsal and rehearsal dinner is rude.

I, too, am not a fan of small children in weddings. Sure, they can be cute, but they also have short attention spans, can become overly tired and cranky (especially with all the excitement & nerves that surround weddings) and are usually uncomfortable in those cute little tux’s and dresses.

I have a question, not exactly about the story but kind of related- I though all out of town guests were invited to the rehearsal dinner?

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Z October 7, 2013 at 2:33 pm

Inviting the out-of-towners to the rehearsal dinner is a nice thing to do (and is becoming more common), but technically the rehearsal dinner is for the people who rehearsed.

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ddwwylm October 7, 2013 at 4:02 pm

We included my husband’s aunt’s family at our rehearsal. His grandparents came to the dinner as well, they flew in and were staying with the GP, and frankly it would have felt a little weird to have the whole family out to dinner celebrating except them.
I think that seems to actually be the problem here. It sounds like the MOB is hosting a luncheon the day before the wedding as a way to show hospitality to the OOT relatives without inviting them to the RD. Except the cousin is the OOT relatives ride to the luncheon, so in order to participate in the rehearsal the cousin would have to lug everyone back to her house and turn around and drive back to make the rehearsal (2 trips in one day), or just have everyone stay until the rehearsal, but then you’re left with a bunch of OOT relatives hanging around who aren’t invited to the rehearsal dinner, and what exactly do you do with them then? It would be rude to just strand them while everyone else in the family is off having dinner together, but it doesn’t sound like the LW wants to open up the RD. Maybe what they really need to do is rethink the timing of the luncheon so it’s not on the same day as the rehearsal.

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gellchom October 8, 2013 at 11:00 am

I think you’ve nailed it.

I know that not everyone feels that the “rehearsal dinner” should include all the out of town guests (which is what is done in my community; that’s why I put it in quotes, because it’s just what we call the night-before-casual-dinner, which really has nothing to do with the actual rehearsal, which is often held another day). And evidently that’s how the OP feels, and that’s fine.

But in this case, boy, I think the OP and her family would be saving themselves and everyone else a lot of headaches if they just ditch the luncheon entirely and invite everyone to the rehearsal dinner instead. They are essentially doing BOTH approaches, and the timing and geography just make it much more complicated.

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M3 October 7, 2013 at 11:00 pm

My mother always told me that all out of town guests are supposed to be invited to the rehearsal dinner and that’s the way it’s always been (in her 7 decades of life at least). Other, much younger, people have told me the rehearsal dinner is just for those in the wedding and immediate family. I wonder who makes these rules.
Personally, even if I’m not coming from out of town or in the wedding party, there have been times I was offended I or someone close to me wasn’t invited to the rehearsal dinner.

Story 1—I was “part of” but not “in” a wedding recently. The bride and groom had no attendants, it was just them and the officiant.
Those of use who were “part of” the wedding were basically recruited to be helpers much like a bridesmaid or groomsmen would be asked to be.
We slaved for this couple, doing everything from attending dress shopping to climbing ladders at 6am the day of the wedding to hang decorations.
Anyway, the groom’s mother wanted to buy all of us who were “part of” the bride and groom’s big day a nice dinner the night before as thanks for all our hard work.
The bride said “Oh no, why would I have a rehearsal dinner? Those are for the wedding party and we don’t have a wedding party.” She and hubster ate on their own that night. Left the rest of us to fend for ourselves. Forgot to mention it was a destination wedding!

Story 2 – My cousin was married 7 hours from where my parents and my grandmother (also cousin’s grandmother) live. My parent’s (Aunt & Uncle of groom to be) agreed to drive grandmother to the wedding, knowing it would end up being a 9 hour drive one way because she needs to stop often.
They also agree to take vacation days Friday to get grandmother to the wedding location in time for the rehearsal dinner (Grandmother cannot fly due to health issues).
We aren’t sure how it happens, but my parents also got roped into paying for grandmother’s hotel room. Uncle (host of rehearsal dinner) has them drop grandmother off at rehearsal dinner after day long drive. No invitation ever came for my parents for this dinner (which had at least 50 people). They spent 18 hours and lots of $$$ to make sure a grandma was there for cousin… but my parents weren’t “in” the wedding…so forget ‘em, right?

As for OP’s story…flower girls need to rehearse. I find the timing of mom’s luncheon is bad given the logistics. Cousin should be given the option to attend rehearsal & dinner and to figure out another way than driving everyone together for this lunch and back.

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Kathryn October 7, 2013 at 9:32 am

I would imagine the parents have put out quite a bit of money for these girls to participate in your wedding, spending on attire, travel, etc. So to deny them and their parents a meal because you want it to be adult-only seems pretty rude to me. We had children in our wedding and we considered their parents to be de facto wedding party members since really, they were the ones who were providing the means for us to include their children in our wedding. So of course, the parents AND children were invited to any and all wedding party gatherings.

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Ashley October 7, 2013 at 11:24 am

You might not think their task is so hard but you are asking a fleet of children to do something they have never done before. They need this rehearsal more than anyone probably, otherwise they are just props like admin said.

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Jenn50 October 7, 2013 at 11:51 am

I can’t imagine anyone for whom the rehearsal would be more important! Don’t exclude the flower girls, please. If they bore of the speeches afterwards, their parents can take them home.

Every time there’s a question about kids in a wedding party, there’s a debate about if it’s appropriate at all. Whether or not kids belong in wedding parties depends, I think, on what you consider a wedding to be. If you think a wedding has to be a formal, solemn, scripted performance where everyone plays their part on cue, then it’s unfair and unrealistic to expect most small children to meet those expectations. If you think a wedding is a time to be surrounded by all the people who love you, regardless of how it looks or whether everything is flawless or predictable, then why not include the children whom you love? I agree, people (adults or kids!) shouldn’t be mere props in your performance, but being a flower girl in my aunt’s wedding when I was four is one of my earliest and happiest memories. My own daughter, who is seven and has autism was recently asked to be a flower girl in a wedding. The bride was her very first behavioural therapist, when she was just three, and after working with her all day, every day, in and out of our home, became a treasured part of our life, even after she moved on. When she asked, I said, “You know, as well as anyone, what she might do. She might walk beautifully and wait nicely, or she might sit down on the floor and scream. Or anything in between.” The bride to be laughed and said, “It’s a wedding, not a Broadway musical. If she doesn’t want to walk down the aisle, that’s fine. If she sits in your lap, or wants to leave, or screeches for a minute till someone takes her outside, or pulls all the flowers out of her hair and shreds them, or gets cake on her dress, that’s fine. I’ve planned for K (another favourite therapist) to walk her down the aisle, but we will do whatever works for her. Having her there is important to me. Everyone there knows what I do for a living, and how important she is to me.” I was so touched. We are preparing little story books for her about what will happen, and she will practice walking with flowers and K many times before the wedding next summer. I think any child, special needs or not, benefits from that kind of preparation.

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June First October 8, 2013 at 2:18 pm

What a fantastic attitude! If she’s like this in other areas, I sense a nomination for Perfect Bride.

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Harley Granny October 7, 2013 at 12:26 pm

Wow….while I agree that that flower girls should be at the rehearsal…I can’t believe some of the harsh responses including admins.

I read it that she didn’t want the parents of the children to have to travel an hour both ways when they had to do it again the next day. Being considerate of their sleep/rest the day before a wedding.

No place does the bride say she can’t handle having children in the wedding. No place did the bride say that the children were a “hassle”.

I say….issue the invitation and let the parents of the children decide.

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Jen October 7, 2013 at 4:19 pm

I read it the same way as you, @Harley Granny. I thought the OP meant that since there was a lunch in the afternoon, that she wanted to spare them another 2 hour round trip that day or make them kill time for several hours between events.

However, I do think of the events that day, the rehearsal is more important than the lunch and if the parents don’t want to kill time or drive back and forth to both, they should skip the lunch. I agree with the other posters that not having the girls in the rehearsal is a mistake because there are a lot of adults who don’t know what to do during a wedding and get nervous, why would kids without rehearsal automatically be as good as adults who got to rehearse?

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Sarah Jane October 7, 2013 at 11:02 pm

This is how I read it, too, and your proposed solution is exactly what I would have suggested.

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JD October 7, 2013 at 12:42 pm

My granddaughter has been a flower girl five times, starting when she was two. Her parents had to pay for dresses, shoes, hair styles, transportation to out of town weddings, hotel rooms on those occasions when they traveled, and were expected to attend at least one shower. If they and their daughter had been the only ones excluded from rehearsals and rehearsal dinners, they would have been quite angry, both for the hurt to their daughter and over the idea that they should give of their time and money, but nothing is owed back to them out of courtesy. Even though my granddaughter is quite the old hand at doing it by now, she still needs to know when to walk in, where to stand, if she stayed up front or would be allowed to sit, etc. How can anyone think of leaving children out of the rehearsal and rehearsal dinner? OP, please reconsider!

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Library Diva October 7, 2013 at 1:15 pm

My mother’s sister is nearly 10 years younger than her, and I had the exciting opportunity to be her flowergirl when she married. I was 4. I still remember how special I felt. I was included in the rehearsal and went over to my soon-to-be uncle’s for a very casual rehearsal dinner, along with my parents (my mom was the matron of honor). I even got a special gift, which I still have more than 30 years later. OP, your cousin is used to working around the fact that her children have a different level of tolerance for sit-down dinners and evening parties than an adult would. You didn’t mention anything about your cousin allowing her kids to run amok and turn into holy terrors, so I’m assuming she knows how to handle them and won’t subject them to more than they can deal with. But I think it’s important that they get the opportunity to be part of all that you’re planning, not just for the sake of a smooth wedding day, but because it’s a kind thing to do.

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AIP October 7, 2013 at 1:42 pm

Like everyone else I think you’re begging for trouble in not including them in the rehearsal, otherwise you’re going to just add to yours and their stress level in knowing when to walk and where to stand when they get to the altar. And yes, they actually are part of the wedding party and should be invited to the rehearsal dinner afterwards.

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Krystal October 7, 2013 at 2:01 pm

My 4 yr old stepson – to – be will be in our wedding party when we get married in June. He already knows he has an important job as the ring bearer and he’s already started carrying a pillow around when he’s walking sometimes. lol. He’s doing that all on his own though. But he will be included in the rehearsals and dinner. And if we can manage to get into the venue a couple of times before we get married there, he will be practicing then too.

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ddwwylm October 7, 2013 at 3:47 pm

Well, like the others I have to agree that the flower girls probably need more rehearsal than anyone. At our rehearsal, we ran through it several times for the kids, not anyone else. The BM and GM are are easy. Most adults once they’re told what order to walk in & where they are standing can pretty much be trusted to get it right once they’ve gone through 1ce or 2ce. The kids need a few run throughs to get confortable.
LW didn’t explicitly state so, but I think the real issue here is the extended family. The whole family is driving down with the sisters’ family the day of the rehearsal at an earlier time for the luncheon her mother is throwing. So essentially in order for the girls to participate, they would either have to make 2 trips in one day returning the OOT relatives between the luncheon and the rehearsal, or everyone would have to hang out in LWs town until the rehearsal and then the OOT guests would need to be included in the rehearsal and dinner as well.
LW, I think you need to make a choice, is it more important to you to inconvenience your cousin and have your intimate rehearsal dinner, or are you willing to open up your rehearsal dinner to everyone that is travelling with your cousin. If you are opposed to including the OOT relatives in the rehearsal dinner, then I think rather than just excluding the girls, ask your cousin what she wants to do. Talk to her about the time difference in the events and ask her if she is okay with making 2 trips in one day, or if she would rather just skip the evening activities. It is much more gracious to let someone decide for themselves what works rather than just deciding to exclude them because you think it would be too much of a hassle for them.

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ddwwylm October 7, 2013 at 4:05 pm

Another thought, and this depends on the ages of the girls and if logistically you had anyone able to do so. Would it be possible for the parents to take 2 cars so either the mom or dad stays with the girls for the rehearsal while the other parent takes their guests back home, or if the girls are old enough, is there someone able to take charge of them from the time the luncheon is over through the rehearsal and dinner and drive them back to cousins house when it’s over.

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gellchom October 7, 2013 at 5:25 pm

That is very well put. Definitely include the flower girls in the rehearsal — I agree, if the bridesmaid need a rehearsal, how much more so the children? — and absolutely invite them and their parents to the rehearsal dinner. Let them decide if it’s too much. Be very careful if you try to let them know that it’s okay if they bag the dinner; it is very easy to make it sound like you are hoping they will not attend.

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Marozia October 7, 2013 at 4:31 pm

The flower girl is part of the wedding party and should also be at rehearsal dinner too.
The FG could be stressed about your wedding and her part in it, so a rehearsal is the way to go.

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Shoegal October 7, 2013 at 4:41 pm

The flower girls and their parents should all be invited to the rehearsal and the dinner, IMO. For my rehearsal dinner I included all out of town guests. The invitations were separated into “rehearsal and dinner” or just “dinner”. All out of town guests not rehearsing were invited to go directly to the restaurant about the time I thought we would be arriving there. I agree with the comments that this is more common especially since most people travel into town a day before the wedding and would appreciate a place to dine that evening instead of being left to fend for themselves. The flower girls really do need to rehearse – this is essential. Their parents and other out of town guests might chose to skip the dinner portion in order to travel back and get the girls to bed but at least you were gracious enough to extend the invitation for a nice meal. I also think perhaps the pre wedding luncheon your Mom is throwing would be better if she held a brunch the day after. This way all families could arrive at your cousin’s house, settle in and prepare for the evening where they would be more inclined to stay, rehearse, visit and have dinner. After the pressure is off and the wedding is over they could go to your Mother’s to have lunch and visit a little more before traveling back. It would be more casual and flexible for their schedule and yours. Your cousin wouldn’t have to worry about her children’s schedules as much and your mother doesn’t have to entertain a house full of guests and essentially be hoping they all leave in enough time for her to get ready and go to the rehearsal dinner.

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kingsrings October 7, 2013 at 4:57 pm

I went to a wedding earlier this year where the couple’s 2 year-old daughter was the flower girl. Despite being so young, she pulled it off just fine. There was only a slight glitch when she kept dumping out the flower basket even after all the flowers had been strewn. But that was a small-ish wedding taking place at the groom’s parent’s house, where she had spent a lot of time and thus was very comfortable at. Many years ago at a large BWW, my friend’s 3 1/2 year-old nephew was the ring bearer, and despite him rehearsing it many times and his family doing all this prep for him so he’d know what to expect, once he walked in and saw the large crowd, he wasn’t having any of it and threw a fit. You just never know what to expect with kids no matter how much you work with them. They all DEFINITELY need rehearsal and prep though no matter how minor their “performance” is. They’re going to be full of nerves, and practice helps it not be so difficult for them.

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ImJustSaying October 7, 2013 at 10:15 pm

I was a flower girl for my Uncle’s wedding and I can’t remember whether I was part of the rehearsal or not. What I do remember is that the Church ceiling was white Stucko with gold flakes. Why do I remember that? I walked down the aisle STARING AT THE CEILING the ENTIRE time.
I didn’t drop one flower.
I believe I was 8 or 9 at the time. Old enough to know how special the day was but I still had a form of anxiety about my “job” in the wedding.
My Aunt and Uncle still laigh about it since it wasn’t etremely disruptive, but I’m sure the pictures of me with my chin in the air were not what they expected.

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NostalgicGal October 8, 2013 at 2:48 am

At three and a half, I was a flower girl for a cousin’s wedding. Her mother was my mother’s sister and my godmother…

My mother sewed my dress, oh this was special. She crocheted my little basket and stiffened it with sugar water and shaped it by putting it over a glass. I practiced on a long runner rug, on walking down it very nicely, and I even got to carry my basket a few times… with construction paper ripped up in it. (I didn’t throw the stuff, just walked with it).

I went to the church and got to walk up and down the big runner between the pews up to the steps and railing and to the back of the church several times… some of my aunts and cousins were putting bows on the pews and flowers up on the steps and I practiced my walking. I had to take a nap because I’d get to stay up like a GROWNUP that night. That evening, the windows were dark out there and not light… and everybody, all the grownups, practiced THEIR walking up and down. I had to walk too, and follow them and not them, and my cousin walked behind me… okay.

The rehearsal dinner was at my aunt/godmother’s and I had a plate too then I got put to bed in the back seat of the car as my parents drove home (half an hour) and carried to bed. Next day we had to pack up all the good clothes and my dress and my basket and today everyone would walk again and such and in the good clothes and I had to be really good. Some new clothes for my Barbie doll and I was good and played; I took my nap so I could stay up again.

Usually in church you had to be quiet and everyone sat in those hard seats… and this looked okay as everyone was sitting in the seats. Not scary. It was time and I was supposed to walk, and my basket had been filled with real rose petals-they smelled nice, and my cousin gave me a little gold ring and a gold bracelet that wanted to fall off my hands were so small so everything was so special. Whoever was to tell me when to go wasn’t paying attention so I ended up walking down the aisle behind the bride my cousin.. and nobody told me to throw the rose petals. So I walked real nice behind my cousin because that is where I was told to walk… and at the end, I sat with my aunt and was really good. Then I had to walk back and we went to eat, in the church basement. I sat beside my aunt/godmother and ate nice, and she took me off to one of the sunday school rooms and I laid down on this bench with my blanket and slept until we went home.

That was my impression. I knew people, they were familiar; I knew churches, full of people, that was familiar. Over about a month I learned how to behave and walk nice; someone took some time to make sure I was okay, not too tired, got new stuff to play with, made sure I got something to eat, and made sure I wasn’t scared. I know they had drinking and dancing and other things too.

I was treated as more than just furniture, I was with my extended family and it was like Easter or Thanksgiving when everyone got together for something special. That’s the point. Kids can be part of a wedding but they are PEOPLE too. If you want the kids in the wedding then they should be in the wedding, and made PART of the wedding. I’m sure if I’d been fussy or difficult, I would not have gotten to wear the dress and carry the basket and walk up and down with the grownups; but care had been taken to make sure I was going to be okay before the day; and if I’d melted down on the day of, I wouldn’t have been part of the wedding.

OP sounds like she wants the kids to make a cameo, expect them to perform their part from the script, cold and disappear. (I sure hope not but). It took a month or two with some careful work to make me ready… a 5 or 6 year old still needs some practice and coaching and PRACTICE to get it right. I agree with some other posters, if the kids are to be part of the wedding they need to be perhaps coached through some of it before the event arrives; be part of the full practice; and should be included as wedding party WITH the parental units at the rehearsal and the reception. In my case my caretaker in the wedding party was MOB and I was very comfortable with her (she was neat and yes she’d sat me in the past) but my parents weren’t far away during the whole thing (they were not in the wedding party).

At six I would have been totally stressed over on something like that, unless I’d been coached and practiced and otherwise included so I knew what to do and how to do it… if OP wants the kids to be flowergirl and ringbearer they need to be worked with and included.

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crella October 8, 2013 at 4:16 am

We had a 3-year-old boy, son of close family friends, as our ring bearer. We talked him through it starting a few months ahead…’You carry the pillow, walk up the aisle , and stand next to Best Man’. That’s as far as we went. As long as we got him up the aisle, we were good to go!

Or so we thought. :-D No one told him the priest was going to take the rings off the pillow. ‘No, I carry those!’ Bless him! Best Man told him it was Ok, but he just had to make sure, and so he quizzed the priest, one hand on his hip, ‘Hey guy, what you gonna do with them rings!?’ We all cracked up, he was so cute. Best Man told him it was fine, and if he gave the priest the rings, he’d buy him a milkshake. Deal!

We could have spared him some anxiety by going over the whole process with him :-D

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violinp October 8, 2013 at 10:27 am

I’m cracking up over here! XD

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crella October 9, 2013 at 6:32 am

:-D He was the best!

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kingsrings October 8, 2013 at 1:02 pm

That reminds me of a video clip I saw on one of those funniest home video shows. The ring bearer didn’t quite understand that the rings didn’t belong to him, they belonged to the couple. He refused to part with them no matter how much the priest, couple, and his father tried to explain it to him, and threw a quiet, but very firm fit about it. I think that was what was so funny about it – he wasn’t crying or screaming, but kept making it very clear that the rings were, “Mine!!” and he wasn’t about to part with them! Finally, his dad had to physically pick him up and remove the ring pillow from his hands. Too funny!

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crella October 9, 2013 at 6:26 am

I’m glad it didn’t go that far! The promise of a swing by McDonald’s for a shake on the way back to the house did it!

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NostalgicGal October 9, 2013 at 1:17 am

Man I love it!

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crella October 9, 2013 at 6:27 am

He was so cute! He’s a young man in his mid-30s now with couple kids of his own. His parents took video, the camera was shaking because his Dad was cracking up :-D

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Kirsten (the first!) October 8, 2013 at 11:10 am

I was a child bridesmaid twice – once at 2 (!) and once at 7. The first time it was my aunt being married, and the second time we hardly knew the bride but she wanted three sisters to match the three she already had and for some reason my parents agreed.

The first time, my mother took the three of us off once we’d gone up the aisle and distracted us with raisins at the back, letting us back out when the couple left the church. She and her sister had worked it all out between them, and since all three of us were together, we were fine.

The second time, nobody told us what on earth to do! The bride couldn’t be found by my mother, so come the wedding day, she had to release her three daughters without knowing what was expected. We were corraled on arrival, given bouquets then told to walk up this huge Abbey aisle with the three child BMs who did know the bride…then none of us knew what to do! Six child bridesmaids in this enormous Abbey, my mother miles away, my father playing the organ, all of us bewildered.

We escaped up and down the nave throughout the service – the place was too big for my mother to see where on earth we were, although she trapped us by the end so we got shunted back into place just in time. Honestly, it was ridiculous.

I take issue with the idea that people don’t want children in the wedding because they want a ‘formal’ day, as opposed to ‘one surrounded by those you love’. That’s a bit self-righteous and unfair, isn’t it? You can have kids there without making them take on a ceremonial role, or you can not have children without wanting your wedding formal. It’s everyone’s right to choose. Some children will also enjoy it, some wouldn’t. It’s up to the couple and the parents of any child they choose, and in many cases the children themselves.

I’m now thinking of Bridget Jones, where one mother lets her child scream throughout a wedding, then angrily tells Mark Darcy, “It’s wonderful letting children be children at a wedding! That’s what a wedding’s all about, isn’t it?”

“I don’t know,” says Mark Darcy. “I couldn’t hear a thing.”

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Jenn50 October 8, 2013 at 6:04 pm

I didn’t say you had to choose a formal day, or one surrounded by those you love. I said “surrounded by ALL the people you love, regardless of how it looks or if everything is flawless and predictable”. My intended implication is that kids are unpredictable, and if you decide to avoid the risk of unpredictable behaviour, you may have to exclude some people you love. I’m not saying it’s a wrong choice, even though it’s not one I, personally understand.

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Kirsten (the first!) October 9, 2013 at 4:56 am

Sorry, Jenn50, I wasn’t aiming it at you specifically, and didn’t mean it to sound that way – I did understand what you said. But I was attacked for not having kids there or in the ceremony at our wedding on the exact grounds I mentioned. Not wanting the people we loved there, wanting it to be perfect. I’m responding to that attitude – that not wanting kids there means you’re some prissy princess and have your priorities wrong.

The two kids we loved were 18 months old and would not have remembered a thing. Sure, I could have had my niece and nephew dolled up and carted about all day, but I didn’t see what was in it for them, and neither did their parents. Grandparents looked after them. It was other people who thought we were horrible child-haters. Then again, I’ve seen some people think it’s adorable to have kids scream all over the wedding vows, and personally I think it’s awful of the parents not to take them out.

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KitKat October 8, 2013 at 7:18 pm

My brother and SIL had a rehearsal for everyone including the preachers (two different faiths getting married). They included the ring bearer (mine and my brother’s cousin) and the flower girl (relation of SIL). A year before the wedding, brother and SIL Skyped with the ring bearer and asked him if he wanted to be part of their day (already received confirmation that it was fine from cousin’s grandfather; my uncle). Cousin’s only question: “Do I get to walk with a pretty girl?” Brother and SIL introduced cousin to SIL’s father who would wrangle both the ring bearer and flower girl before they walked down the aisle (both were 6 and old enough to behave well) and the children were told where to sit; SIL asked the parents to sit where they would sit the next day. The kids and their caretakers were involved in the wedding as much as they were able. The only place the kids didn’t go? In the limo with the rest of the bridal party due to the bridal party paying tribute to my brother and mine’s grandfather using an adult beverage (said beverage had been a gift from years before to my grandfather).

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AthenaC October 9, 2013 at 1:42 pm

Haha! The story about the ring-bearer who wouldn’t let go of the rings reminds me a bit of a wedding we attended about a year ago. My then-6-year-old daughter was the flower girl, and had attended the rehearsal and practiced where and how to walk. The day of the wedding, with everyone all dressed up and ready to go, the flower girl says TO THE BRIDE, “I’m really nervous! Everybody’s going to be looking at me!”

*die*

Fortunately, the bride very sweetly comforted her, told her that everything would be okay, and that she had practiced everything and that she knew just what to do. It worked, and the flower girl did great.

But back to the story, I didn’t see anything in the submission about kids being a “hassle” or being there for decorative purposes only. It’s very interesting the types of conclusions many people seem to jump to, isn’t it? I definitely see the logistical issues and why one would want to be considerate of out-of-town wedding participants, especially children. Maybe the kids aren’t going to the rehearsal because the bride thinks the kids would be bored out of their minds during the rehearsal, and she’s not too concerned if the kids aren’t perfect the day of the wedding. I don’t know. In any case, I think the solution may be to issue invitations to the girls’ family to everything that day, and let them decide what they do / don’t want to attend.

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Mae October 9, 2013 at 4:45 pm

“I don’t feel the need to invite the flower girls as their task isn’t too difficult (they are holding signs and walking down the aisle, no petals are allowed there).”

This is the part that got me. It seems dismissive like the bride is saying I want them in my wedding but they do not warrant a meal because all they are doing is walking down an aisle.

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AthenaC October 9, 2013 at 9:04 pm

Oh. See, I read that as, “Given the fact that the girls’ parents are already committed to a luncheon which will take up a HUGE chunk of their day, and bringing their girls to the rehearsal will take up yet ANOTHER huge chunk of their day, and given the fact that the girls’ parts are not too difficult, I don’t feel the need to invite the flower girls to the rehearsal.” Notice how she mentions that she doesn’t feel the need to invite the flower girls AFTER the discussion of the logistics of the luncheon, which appears to be the part that is set in stone in her mind.

And maybe that will work out just fine – the rehearsal for the wedding I mentioned above, everyone just did their parts once. The ring bearer had no patience for it, and the day of the wedding, my daughter ended up holding his hand. But even if it hadn’t gone fine, the bride in my story would have just laughed it off while his parents came and got him – she wasn’t overly attached to perfection during the ceremony, and I get the sense this OP isn’t either. If she were, it probably wouldn’t even be a question whether to invite the flower girls to the rehearsal.

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