Today, more and more brides and grooms are bucking tradition, choosing groomsgals and bridesmen, opting for two maids of honor instead of one, and outfitting the bridal party in mismatched dresses and suits. The latest trend in nontraditional wedding parties? Flower grannies instead of flower girls!
At this fun-filled wedding at Blackberry Farm in Tennessee, the bride, Larkin Mohn, and groom, Eric Bryant, turned to their grandmothers to serve as "flower grannies."
"Eric and I are blessed to have some seriously amazing grandmas," Larkin told us. "We knew we wanted them involved in the ceremony somehow but didn't want anything that would require them to stand or walk for too long. Because there are no little kids on either side of the family, flower grannies seemed like a perfect fit."
But Larkin and Eric didn't want to push it, either: Larkin's grandma, Susan Cook (above), is 94, and as she puts it, "Aging isn't for sissies." To avoid putting any pressure on them, the bride and groom "floated" the idea a year ahead of the big day and then waited till the week of to see how Susan and Barbara Hawkins, Eric's grandma (below), felt.
"I didn't think I could do it!" said Susan, while Barbara's first reaction was that a flower girl role was "unbelievable at my age".
"At the last minute my grandma got nervous about slipping, so we had our aunts and uncle escort the grandmas down the aisle," Larkin said.
It was Susan's very first time being in a bridal party, and she wore the same dress she has worn to every family wedding, including Larkin's parents' big day. Meanwhile, Barbara's dress was lost with her luggage at the airport until the night before the wedding, when it thankfully turned up.
"Jennifer (our wedding planner) [of Jennifer Laraia Designs] made them dainty handmade grapevine baskets, and they both wore flower crowns. Turns out their short gray curly hair was just made for flower crowns."
With the help of their "flower granny secret service," Susan and Barbara made it down the aisle, at first confusing guests but then blowing them away.
Afterward, Susan and Barbara were a hit. "Because I was a flower granny, many of the other guests introduced themselves and talked to me," Barbara said. "That was a real plus, since I didn't expect to know many people."
In fact, the ladies didn't even know each other before the big day. "I knew they were going to get along, but it was so nice to see them meet!" Larkin said. "They are both social butterflies so we knew they would get along like a house on fire."
Susan said it "meant everything" to her that her granddaughter involved her in the wedding. The most memorable moment for the bride? "Watching both grandmas charm the daylights out of everyone was the best! The dinner before the wedding, Grandma Barbara went around and talked to our friends. She made such an impression that the rest of the wedding people used the hashtag #GrandmaBarbara and couldn't stop talking about what a firecracker she is."
For future "flower grannies", Barbara advises: "Just relax and enjoy the party. That is really your only job."
Meanwhile, Susan says, "Don't be afraid to ask for helpers and wear sensible shoes."