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The flower girl
July 29, 2008 - Betsy Bethel
The dos and don'ts for parents of children who are participating in weddings, based on my experience with 2-year-old Emma Skye, who served as flower girl in the wedding of Jessica Myer and Nick Cipriani in Wheeling last Saturday:
Reality: Emma, like most toddlers, LOVES attention. Lesson: DO play up the importance of the "job" they have to do. I started talking about it a few days beforehand and told her how she has the most important job in the wedding, and everyone is counting on her. (Warning: This approach probably will not work with an extremely shy child!) Once at the church, with the organ playing and everyone dressed up, she seemed to sense she was part of something big and meaningful.
Reality: Giving Emma a rundown of what to expect proved invaluable. Lesson: DO practice. On Thursday night, I gave her a basket and some flower petals (deadheaded from the petunia and marigold plants) and she walked down the "aisle" (our sidewalk). She didn't quite grasp the concept of walking and tossing at the same time. She kept putting the basket down to get out the petals, and even sat down at one point. We practiced again, of course, at the rehearsal on Friday. By Saturday, she still stopped a couple times down the aisle, but at least she didn't sit!
Reality: I was much more nervous about the whole thing than anyone else, including the bride. Lesson: DON'T worry if your child doesn't perform perfectly. As many people told me beforehand and afterward, it's great if the child pulls it off without a hitch, but it's a lot more memorable if they do something silly. Emma got about halfway down the aisle being very particular about selecting and dropping petals, and then she seemed to say "to heck with this" and unloaded the rest onto the aisle runner. Priceless.
Reality: Emma tore the hem out of the front of her dress and was walking all over it by the time we got to the reception. Lesson: DO, if possible, wait until the last minute to dress your child. The less time spent in the dress, the less time you will spend fussing over her, and the more likely the dress will survive to be used for another event (even if it's for a Cinderella costume).
Reality: Cheez-Its are not the best choice of snack for a child decked in finery. Thank goodness, Emma didn't wipe her hands on her dress ... too much. Lessons: DO bring snacks. You know how hungry YOU get between a wedding and the reception. Their little bellies start grumbling about the time the unity candle is being lit, if not before! But ... DON'T bring cheese crackers, cheese puffs, greasy chips, fruits that stain, M&Ms, juice or milk. Stick to water to drink, bananas, fruit snacks, string cheese, wheat crackers, etc.
Reality: Nap? Are you kidding? Emma went full speed ahead until about 8:30 p.m. Lessons: DO be prepared to to have a cranky kid on your hands at some point during the day. Just pray the meltdown happens after the pictures have been snapped! And, DON'T stay too long at the reception, if you can help it. We left when I felt we'd reached our limit, and that happened to be 7:30. After winding down at home, she went to bed without passing "Go" or collecting $200. (She didn't even beg me to read "Everyone Poops" or to sing "The Lion Sleeps Tonight"!)
Having heard horror stories from other parents and endured nightmares conjured by my own imagination, I have to say the whole thing went MUCH better than I expected.
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