Grandma and other flower girls

Grandma and other flower girls at your wedding

Picture a flower girl. What do you see? If an image of an angelic little girl with a basket of rose petals springs to mind, think again. Today’s weddings are seeing more and more loved ones–from grandmas to favorite pets–taking the “flower girl” role.

Flower girls work well when there are one or two young girls in your family, but not every bride and groom have an obvious choice to carry the basket of flower petals down the aisle. Maybe you don’t have any nieces or friends’ daughters who are the right age to be flower girls. Or maybe you have too many contenders, and you can’t pick just a few special girls without incurring the jealousy of the rest. If your friends and family don’t provide you with an automatic choice of flower girl, don’t just chuck the tradition altogether. Choosing an unconventional flower girl is a great way to make your wedding unique–and a way to make those special someones feel very special indeed.

Grandmothers

Who says flower girls have to be young? If you have women in your family who are young at heart, they’re the perfect choices to scatter flower petals around your wedding aisle. Traditionally, grandparents don’t get the chance to be very involved with their grandchildren’s weddings (they’re usually expected to sit in the front row and stay put throughout the ceremony), so including them in a more active way is a great way to show respect and appreciation.

If your grandmother can’t walk down the aisle easily because of physical limitations, don’t let that stop you. Just make sure your aisle is wide enough for her wheelchair or walker–or choose two of your sturdiest and most handsome groomsmen as escorts.

Fuzzy Friends

Some couples have a special little girl or two who have stolen their hearts, but there’s only one problem: the girls aren’t human. Four-footed flower girls can be adorable, though. Including pets in a wedding adds another level of planning to your ceremony. You have to assign people to keep an eye on the animals and make sure they have enough food, water, and exercise to stay calm–and a quiet place to go if they’re having trouble with crowds. You may also need to get special permission from your wedding venue to allow your four-footed flower girls inside.

Once you’ve taken care of the logistics, however, you’ll be rewarded by celebrating your wedding in the presence of all your friends and family–regardless of their number of feet. If you start a few months ahead of time, you may be able to train your fuzzy flower girls to carry baskets of flowers in their mouths. Otherwise, you can attach lightweight baskets (or just the flowers themselves) to their collars. Don’t forget to dress the girls up fully with little tutus or bows!

Flower Boys

Carrying baskets of flower petals down the aisle is an important job, and there’s no reason it has to go to a girl. When the little ones in your family happen to be boys, invite them to accept the honor. If they’re old enough to balk at the idea of taking a “girl’s job,” let them know that there’s nothing girly about flowers. Most of the fruits and vegetables everyone eats started out as flowers, after all. And if they’re going to grow up and be charming men someday, they might as well get familiar with tossing flowers at ladies now.

To give your flower boy a sense of his important duty, compare him to a storybook knight in a castle, clearing the way for his damsel to enter. When he realizes that all eyes will be on him to herald the approach of the bride, he’ll walk down that aisle with his shoulders squared and his head held high. A ribbon in his favorite color won’t hurt, either.

Be Proud of Your Choice

Remember, you don’t have to have a cookie-cutter wedding just because that’s “the way weddings are done.” If you have special people (or fuzzy friends) in your life, it’s right to honor them with a role in your ceremony–even if they’re not seven-year-old girls. The only thing to worry about when choosing unorthodox flower girls is that your guests will like them too much. After all, when your flower girls are so eye-catching, you’ll have a tough job reclaiming the spotlight!