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You know you’ve got a unique situation when you’re at a wedding with 15 kids in the ceremony — and none are related to the bride or groom.
Bride Jennifer Wright had eight flower girls alone, all pictured in a sweet group photo she shared on Reddit.
“I have been either a babysitter or nanny to them for the past eight years,” Wright explained to Yahoo Style. “Most were in diapers when I started watching them.”
Of how they all became part of her wedding, she said, “It started off as a little white lie.” She then recalled the following exchange that took place between her and one little girl she’d been babysitting for a couple of years:
Child: Miss Jen, when are you getting married?
Me: Dude, I have no idea.
Child: Well, when you do, can I be your flower girl?
“I didn’t know if I was ever going to get married or if I even wanted to be married,” Wright said. “It was something so far in the future that she might be too old by then, or maybe I wouldn’t even be in the same state anymore. Instead of explaining the uncertainty of my future to a 6-year-old, I just said, ‘Sure, you and your sister can be flower girls in my wedding.’”
And what started out as two eventually grew to be 15. “I got that question from every kid I ever watched, and before I knew it, I had 12 flower girls and three ring bearers before I was even seriously dating someone. It became a running joke that I would need an usher to use a leaf blower on the aisle before I walk down, lest I slip on all the flower petals,” she said. Luckily, one mom pointed out that they didn’t all have to be flower girls. “One mom brought to my attention that junior bridesmaids was a thing and I could have the older girls be junior bridesmaids instead of flower girls. So I had four junior bridesmaids and eight flower girls instead of 12 flower girls, and then three ring bearers.”
Still, besides the fact that she’d grown to care about them and that it would be super-cute, why would someone want a mob of children between the ages of 4 and 12 in her wedding?
“First and foremost, I promised 12 girls and three boys they could be in my wedding, and I was not going to go back on that promise,” Wright proclaimed. She still babysits all of them regularly and would have had to face some angry children the next Saturday night if she hadn’t followed through.
But she also didn’t take the promise that seriously when she made it. “I thought they would have all forgotten about our agreement, but for years they would occasionally ask me to reaffirm their participation in my wedding (that I wasn’t sure would ever happen).”
The other reason was that she realized these kids had become her friends. “When I actually started planning my wedding, I had a moment where I realized I don’t have that many friends who are my own age,” she shared. “Also, it’s not like I have any co-workers to build relationships with. Not gonna lie, it was a bit of a bummer to realize that my closest relationships were with kids young enough to be my own children,” Wright admitted. “It was after this that I truly realized how much each of these kids meant to me. Each and every one of them are the most amazing, intelligent, funny, beautiful, stubborn, and wonderful people I’ve ever known, and it has been a privilege to be so close to these fantastic human beings. They are like family to me and I’ve been told I’m like family to them. It just would not have been the happiest day of my life without them.”
Another big reason why she made the decision, she said, was “silly” — and personal. “I wanted to be a flower girl when I was little and never got a chance to be one.”
And now, making sure that it was extra-special for the little ones living out her childhood fantasy, Wright let them pick their dresses.
“The reason the girls’ dresses didn’t match was because I wanted my wedding to be just as special for them as it was for me, so I wanted them to pick dresses that they liked,” she explained. “I knew they wanted to feel like princesses for a day, and that’s what I wanted for them, so I made sure to have extra tiaras on hand in case some got lost or forgotten at home.”
Just because she’s a pro when it comes to tots doesn’t mean she wasn’t nervous about their behavior. “I found myself stressing out over little details leading up to the wedding, but then my grandfather had a sudden heart attack and died a week before my wedding,” she revealed. “After that, I was just so happy and grateful that so many people loved me and my husband and that they wanted to share this day with us that all the little details just didn’t seem important anymore.”
Boredom was her biggest fear. “Talking to a couple of the kids, they told me that their friends said that weddings are super-boring and lame. I took these concerns to heart and did my best to assure the kids that my wedding would be awesome,” she said. That meant she had two tables in the reception hall full of toys and coloring books.
It’s called providing distractions, and she did it like the pro that she is. “Months leading up to the wedding, I bought used dolls on eBay and refurbished them. Each of the girls got to choose a doll with a new dress as a gift for participating in the wedding. The girls and boys who didn’t want dolls got a bag full of Legos. I also saved every box I received from Amazon and set them up just outside the venue. The kids named it Box City and spent hours playing in those boxes.” And all that work paid off. “One of my favorite compliments was ‘This is so much fun! I want you to get married every year!’ I knew if they stayed entertained, we wouldn’t need to worry about behavior problems.”
As with any wedding, there was a little drama. “One little girl was having just the worst day ever. She was afraid that this all meant that I wouldn’t be around anymore, and I had to reassure her that I loved her and this changed nothing between us,” she said.
We’re sure you’re wondering what Wright’s husband thought of all this. “He knew what was up before he even asked me,” she said. “He was just happy that he was going to marry me. The rest didn’t really mean much to him.”
OK, can this wedding get any sweeter?
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