Post # 1
I have a dilemma… I’m considering asking my neighbor’s daughter as my flower girl. She’ll be 6 years old for the wedding. FI and I both feel a lot of love for this little girl. She lived in the apartment above us and we’re good friends with her parents. We ate dinner with them weekly and we used to babysit her frequently. My fiance would read her stories and he’d build sand castles with her when we went to the beach together. I made christmas cookies with her, built forts with her, and helped her with her homework. She’s very mature and well-behaved and I feel a real bond. I thought of her immediately for my flower girl and my FI loved the idea.
The problem is my half-sister has a daughter who is the same age. They live across the country and I see her less than once a year. Plus, my FI has never even met her. I know she might grow up in the year before our wedding, but right now she still has some behavioral issues that make me very concerned about having her in the wedding. She has intense tantrums several times a day, and I feel guilty saying this, but the last time I visited it was hard for me to be around her. I couldn’t wait to fly back home because of all the constant fights she had with her my sister about every single thing. We’re almost talking the kind of kid (and parents) that get an intervention from Super Nannys on reality TV shows.
I would ask both girls except I’m really concerned that if my niece is tired or something bothers her just a little bit, she won’t be able to make it down the aisle. Maybe she can, but I don’t want to risk it.
I’m sure my half-sister would probably feel really badly about me not including her daughter in the wedding, and that there would probably be tears on her part about it. I love her daughter and she’ll probably always be in my life, and I know she’ll grow up eventually, but I don’t know that it will happen before the wedding. I feel so much closer to my neighbor than my own family.
Does wedding etiquette offer any guidance in this situation? Any ideas on how to proceed? Maybe there’s another role my niece can fill?<br /><br />
Post # 2
I would ask them both. It helps that the other little girl behaves well, she might model the good behavior.
I would gently tell the sister that if her daughter is having trouble the day of (if she’s nervous or tired), that it’s no problem for just the other flower girl to do it alone. Hopefully your sis will pull her out if she knows she wont be able to do it.
Post # 3
ms.oregano: Rational people understand that there’s a hierarchy of relationships and we can’t always be at the top. These people aren’t upset when they aren’t chosen to be in the bridal party. Sometimes it might be informative to them that they aren’t as high in the heirarchy as they’d assumed, but your half-sister shouldn’t be surprised that you feel a closer bond to this little girl than her child. I’d say ask your neighbor and have faith that your half-sister will be understanding. Oh, but I wouldn’t describe the girl you’re choosing as just “my neighbor,” how about saying that she’s the daughter of friends and someone who has spent a great deal of time with both you and your FI. Good luck!
Post # 4
ms.oregano: Another alternative is not to have a flower girl at all.
Here’s your dilemma: your niece will probably always be in your life. Your neighbour’s daughter is less likely to be. So if you can’t have your niece, I think the best way to avoid hard feelings is to have no flower girl at all. After all, you don’t need to have a flower girl.
Post # 5
I would ask the neighbor girl, personally. I don’t see that it’s necessary to include someone just because they’re the right age and blood-related.
Obviously your sister knows her child has tantrums, and should be able to understand that a meltdown is very possible and she should want to make every effort to not have her kid’s behavior ruin your day. Make up roles for her that are completely nonessential that she can be pulled away from if she starts to have a tantrum.
Make her an Ushette, she can direct people on which side the bride’s family and the groom’s family are sitting on. Or if she can read, she can help people find where they’re seated.
If your wedding is a year from now, it’ll be July or August, right? If your ceremony is outdoors and it’ll be hot and you’d like to supply cold bottled water, you could appoint her the job of handing out the bottles to people. If she’s cranky, she can just stop doing whatever she’s doing, and there’ll be nothing missing.
Being included doesn’t mean she has to actually DO anything. What would matter most is that she gets to wear a nice dress, get a little corsage, and to participate in some capacity.
Post # 6
If you’re not that close to your niece, there’s no real need to ask her & if you’re worried about her behavior, then you probably shouldn’t ask. I’ve asked my niece to be in my wedding but I’ve also told her she has to behave & do what I say or she’ll have to just come as a guest. I know it’s probably not proper etiquette but it works for me & my niece. She’s a little older though
Post # 7
Ask the girl you are closest to. DNA does not equate an invitation, of any kind.
Post # 8
ms.oregano: I immediately thought you should ask them both and have them proceed down the aisle before the bridal party or before the bridesmaids. This is untraditional but my officiant recommended it for two reasons- 1) people love flowergirls and ring bearers and if they come right before you it could distract people from the bride (this one I am not as sure about to be honest, I think people are always pumped to see the bride!) and 2) if the flower girls have any problems making it down the aisle, it won’t mess you up and it can be dealt with before the bride even appears. Your MOH may find it stressful if she needs to do something about the flowergirl but she won’t feel like her wedding day is ruined. That’s a job for a BM or MOH (or the child’s parent).
If you asked both girls, what would be the worst case scenario? Probably the one who was your neighbor would make it down the aisle fine. Your niece may be unpredictable, which is often the case with flowergirls and ring bearers.
And who knows, if you ask, your half sister may have the thought to decline the offer knowing her daughter.
Post # 9
I would say both or none. I know for me personally if the shoe was on the other foot I would be extremely offended if my sibling got married and if they had a flower girl/ring bearer and that child wasn’t my child. Considering I have only 1 sibling.
Post # 10
I would also do both or none.
Post # 11
Ask both or none. It is different with flower girls than bridesmaids. Flower girls are little kids who probably won’t understand, unlike bridesmaids who at least SHOULD. And excluding family would probably result in more tears and drama than it is worth.
Post # 12
- Wedding: July 2014 - Prague
I’d ask them both! I wasn’t going to have a flower girl, but my childhood best friend’s daughter was “dying” to be one, so I said sure. Then I thought I should probably ask my cousins’ daughters and my other old friend’s daughter… in the end I had 5. It was adorable!
The well behaved one will either be a role model for your niece… or your niece will have a tantrum and will not be in the wedding. That’s up to her.
Post # 13
Thank you all for your helpful, insightful, and supportive advice. There were a lot of good ideas (handing out water bottles and programs is an excellent one!) I think I will end up asking both and that way, my sister can pull out my niece if she has a meltdown and there’s still someone to do it. If she follows the other little girl’s behavior and does well, all the better for everyone. I also think it’s a great idea to have the flower girls go first before the bridesmaids so my MOH can head-off any issues. I really appreciate your perspectives!
Post # 14
I think you have to ask them both and hope for the best. Hopefully the little girls have an opportunity to bond at the rehearsal dinner and your niece witll take her behavior cues from your neighbor’s daughter!
Post # 15
I just wanted to respond from the other side of this. My 2 daughters were recently asked to be the flower girls in the wedding if a family friend. The bride said she felt closer to, and would prefer to have my girls rather than a family member they don’t feel a connection to. Of course I am honored and my girls are thrilled. But now I’m wondering if there is gonna be a mad mom giving my girls the side-eye!