When my little sister first called me to announce her engagement, I was thrilled to hear her good news and excited to know I would be closely involved in her wedding. As terrible as this might sound, I am not generally a huge fan of weddings, but celebrating the marriage of your little sister is something special. I was thrilled to be a part of her big day.
When she asked me to be her Matron of Honor and my two daughters, ages 3 and 2, to be her flower girls, I said yes without a thought. I started the search for dresses for us three girls and scoured Pinterest for wedding shower and bachelorette party ideas. I knew from experience that being a bridesmaid can be a big commitment, especially for an out-of-town wedding.
What I didn’t expect was that being the mom of the flower girl(s) was the hardest job in the wedding, but it totally was. I didn’t realized how much energy it would require keeping my girls happy, their dresses and faces clean and avoiding losing one of them while trying to stay picture-ready myself. I underestimated how difficult it would be to pull all of this off from a small hotel room or how easy it would be to forget items essential to the wedding day at my home on the other side of the state.
I didn’t consider that no matter how hard I tried to control every factor of the day, my toddler could still throw a wrench in my best-laid plans with a single tantrum. The added challenge of being a member of the wedding party myself and being nearly eight months pregnant only made things harder.
In hindsight, I see that things could have been much worse. Neither of my girls screamed during the ceremony. My dress still fit me, even though I had last tried it on at 12 weeks pregnant. I didn’t pass out during the vows and my swollen feet only bled a little bit after walking around in uncomfortable shoes for several hours. Looking back, I would say things went pretty well considering how much there was for me to juggle but, while I was in it, I was a bundle of anxiety. I spent much of the day trying to keep my girls’ dresses clean, worrying neither of them would be willing to walk down the aisle and trying to coax my youngest into a short nap on chapel pews and in quiet corners of the bride's suite.
In the end, my youngest never made it down the aisle. Exhausted from the activities of the day, she flopped herself down at the entryway of the chapel in her beautiful dress and hairspray-crusted curls and refused to move. My oldest did a bang-up job of meticulously sprinkling rose petals down the aisle but had to be talked out of cleaning up after herself during the ceremony, which was pretty adorable, to be perfectly honest.
For my sister, I said yes without a thought, and I am so glad I did. I had the pleasure of being a part of giving my sister the day she dreamed of and my girls now have the special memory of being involved in the wedding of the aunt and uncle they adore. Still, for anyone else, I might think twice before being so quick to say yes to such a challenging task.
As exhausting as the whole experience was, there were a few things I learned about making things easier. The first, and perhaps the most important, was having help. My sister and I went in together and hired a babysitter for my girls who helped out the day of the wedding. She kept them entertained while I did my hair and makeup, kept them from running off while I took pictures with the wedding party and gave them a gentle nudge down the aisle while I stood up front with my sister.
Second, I am glad I said no to some of the optional activities, like getting manicures or breakfast the morning of the rehearsal dinner. I wanted to be involved in every aspect of my sister’s big day and felt really guilty about saying no initially, but being present every second of the weekend simply wasn’t possible with two toddlers in tow. In the end, I felt like setting some boundaries surrounding what I could and couldn’t do actually enabled me to be more present for the really important parts of the day, and my sister had plenty of bridesmaids to participate in the parts of the wedding prep that I missed so my girls could rest or burn off some energy at the pool.
I can see how, if my sister had been a total bridezilla, the whole day could have been exponentially more difficult. Having a gracious and understanding bride made one of the hardest jobs I have ever had a little more manageable. Being the mom of the flower girls was the hardest role I have ever played in a wedding. I am sure I would do it again for someone close to my girls, but that doesn’t mean I won’t be keeping my fingers crossed and praying we are never asked again.
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