The Bintel Brief

How Can I Fire My Flower Girl?

By Amy Sohn

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Dear Bintel Brief:

My oldest and dearest friend, one of my only friends with children, really wants her daughter to be the flower girl in my forthcoming wedding. Initially, I thought it was a good idea, as neither my husband nor I have young nieces. But now, I’m rethinking the matter: My friend’s daughter is only 2 years old and — perhaps, understandably, given her age — she’s not-at-all well behaved. I might go so far as to call her bratty. I’m pretty certain she’ll cause a fuss during my ceremony. What’s the best way to fire the flower girl?

PERPLEXED BRIDE-TO-BE

Amy Sohn responds

Dear Perplexed:

Speaking as a control freak, I think you are trying to exert too much control. This is your dearest friend. That means she wants to be a part of your ceremony. Don’t you want her there? (Maybe she’s not so dear?)

If you insist on being a “Bridezilla,” then you must communicate with her. Be honest and explain that you feel her daughter is too young to walk alone. If she doesn’t understand, explain that you’re concerned her daughter may get cold feet in front of the big crowd (a nice way of saying you think she’s a brat). Then turn it into a compliment: “And besides, I want you to be a part of the ceremony, too.”

Unless she’s a control freak herself, she’ll agree to walk with her daughter. After all, you are the bride — and hence, the stage manager.

I have walked down the aisle with my own daughter, when she was asked to be a flower girl at 2 years old. It works like this: The mother carries the child and the mother sprinkles the flowers. The guests get the cute tableau, and they get better aim than they might get from a toddler. Attention hog that I am, I loved it. I got a lot of compliments on my dress.

Even if your friend’s daughter is bratty, the brattiness will only last a minute or so. Because the mother will want it to go smoothly, she will do what only mothers can to mitigate the brat factor.

In the meantime, try not to worry so much about it. Ask yourself what matters most to you — micromanaging your wedding or having the participation of those whom you hold near and dear, and by extension, their children.

Brizezillas never win!


Amy Sohn is the author of, most recently, “Prospect Park West” (Simon & Schuster) — a novel about living, loving, hating and procreating in the leafy Brooklyn neighborhood of Park Slope. She is also the author of the novels “Run Catch Kiss” (Simon & Schuster, 1999) and “My Old Man,” (Simon & Schuster, 2004). A graduate of Brown University, she lives in Brooklyn with her husband and daughter.


If you have a question for the Bintel Brief, email bintelbrief@forward.com. Selected letters will be published anonymously. New installments of the Bintel Brief will be published Mondays in October at www.forward.com.


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Comments
ruth book Sat. Oct 17, 2009

I could not disagree more with Amy Sohn. This is not a matter of "control" but proper boundaries. The bride made the understandable mistake of violating her own personal desires when she gave into her friend's request. The two year-old does not have a strong feelings about serving as flower girl. Neither does the bride, we now find out. The need is the two year-old's mother's,not even the bride's or groom's family. So... the question is...how does the bride get out of this mess.

Since the mother of the toddler is a good friend, perhaps the bride should give the mother a part in the wedding (not the toddler). Or... Find an excuse. --Say you've been advised by some "authority" that flower girls should not be under three years of age. --Say you have another friend who has a child who wants to be a flower girl and you don't want to hurt feelings. --Say ...anything you can think of...to avoid allowing your girlfriend to exploit her toddler on YOUR wedding day!

Doesn't matter if the child is well-behaved or not, the point is that for whatever reason the bride does not want the child to be her flower girl. This decision is the bride's perogative. True, if the bride exercises her perogative, she may lose her friend in the process, but a friend who insists on having her toddler in a wedding is self-centered.

Florence Mathews Sat. Oct 17, 2009

I totally agree with with Amy...after all, what can a two year old child do to ruin this grown up woman's wedding? At most, the toddler's acting out of her very worst "terrible twos" syndrome might cause a minor imbroglio that will surely bring no more than tears and laughter to wedding guests. My advice dear bride to be, is that one would hope you possess enough feeling for your so-called "oldest and dearest friend" to go the extra mile (or perhaps a short one-half block) to cut a break for an innocent child who is so loved by her mommy...the same mother who happens to be your best buddy. Ps. As a mother who has raised six children, I can tell you that there is no such child as a "bratty" toddler at that tender age...and further, it is not nice to "fire" a two year old flower girl.

Speak Truth to Power Sat. Oct 31, 2009

Amy Sohn got it spot on. Ruth is a bridezilla.

Excited Bride Tue. Nov 10, 2009

I completely agree with Ruth!! My fiance's cousin called up my future MIL and asked if her daughter could be our flower girl. First of all, we already have 3 flower girls (the daughters of my 3 siblings). Second of all, my fiance has not seen or spoken to this cousin in years. And third of all, I think the honor of being in the wedding party is very special and is something reserved for people the bride and groom are extremely close with, and I don't want to include a random 4 yr old whom I have never met in my wedding party. I'm sure she's a lovely little girl, but I sincerely believe the bride and groom get to choose those they are close with as their attendants and flower girls.

Rachel Sat. Jan 16, 2010

The issue is that you can't say yes and then say no.




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