The traditional flower girl has one of the sweetest, most symbolic roles in a wedding: The sweet, innocent child can represent both the past youth of the couple being married and the children they might one day have. But as with any other wedding standby, couples are turning this one on its head by asking grandparents and older friends — the opposite of a little girl — to lead their processionals, baskets of petals in hand. Most recently, an 84-year-old woman in Delaware did this for her younger best friend.
“I met this amazing person that I want to spend the rest of my life with, and my next thought was, ‘Dee has to be our flower girl,’ ” Theresa Whitehead told CBS 3 Philadelphia of Dee Cooper, who’s been her friend since they were 14 and 48, respectively. The pair met when Whitehead’s brother and Cooper’s nephew were in a band for which Cooper served as a promoter.
When Whitehead first got engaged, her friend was afraid she’d have a more traditional role in the wedding. “I said, ‘Please don’t ask me to be your matron of honor,’ ” Cooper recalled.
“She’s unconventional, and that’s how we roll,” Whitehead said.
And why not honor friendship and fun in place of someone else’s ideals of purity and fertility? Or, in the case of some couples, why not honor their closeness to another generation?
News anchor Emilie Voss invited her 95-year-old Grandma Alice to be her flower girl while her husband’s grandfather was the ring-bearer for their wedding in Palm Springs last January. The plan was almost derailed by her hospitalization in late 2015, but Alice fought to make it to the big day.
“She kept telling her doctors she had to get better and back on her feet because she was the flower girl in her granddaughter’s wedding!” Voss told Huffington Post.
Last year, Rachel and Patrick Givens invited their grandmothers, Renee “DD” Ruben and Joanne C. Reich, to be “co-flower ladies” at their Connecticut wedding.
“[T]he theme of our wedding was ‘adventure,’ and our grandmothers, who have always both loved to travel, have served as inspiration for us and our future adventures together,” Rachel told People.
Patrick said they also helped to calm his wedding jitters. “I had plenty of nerves standing up there, but seeing my grandma Joanne tossing flowers around and DD kicking her heels up with that flair — it was such a great reminder to just enjoy the moment.”
In that way, these elder wedding party members aren’t so different from the typical toddlers who often steal the show as they walk up the aisle. Such was certainly the case with Jen Brisken’s 85-year-old grandfather Stanley.
“He liked to joke that this would make him ‘go viral!’ ” Brisken told Country Living, explaining that the idea started as a joke before she decided to take it seriously. “My whole family thought that I was crazy but I couldn’t let it go. I wanted our wedding to be memorable and different without being cheesy and I thought that this would be the perfect addition to our ceremony.”
In the wedding video, which did indeed go viral, Stanley cracks up the crowd as he tosses petals at the guests instead of on the floor.
“It felt like our style to have all of our guests laughing right before we started our life as husband and wife,” Brisken said.