SPECIAL- WEDDINGS- In bloom: Local flower girls are fashion fearless

"We really wanted people to be themselves– as a result, everyone felt comfortable and looked beautiful and we all matched," says bride Marisa Marraccini. "Laena's dress was the perfect symbol of this."

Who says the only day to be a princess is on your wedding day? For some lucky girls, a walk down the aisle doesn't mean a white dress, vows, or husband at the very end– as a flower girl, all eyes are on you without all the pressure. 

But wait– don't flower girls equal stiff white dresses, crying toddlers, and awkward baskets full of fake rose petals? Not so fast! Today's bride knows that modern weddings don't have to follow all the rules– and when it comes to fashioning your bridal party, personality and comfort are the main aesthetic consideration. Gone are the days of bland bridesmaids, uncomfortable brides, and tuxedo cummerbunds, and flower girl attire has quickly followed suit. Creative brides are choosing fashion-conscious, colorful, and dramatic looks for even their tiniest attendants.

"I wanted something that was simple, elegant– and something that truly could be worn again," says bride Jill Miller.

Bride Sharon Shapiro agrees. "I've always loved the innocence and spontaneity that a flower girl brings to the ceremony," she says.

From color-drenched dresses to punky sneakers, flower girl outfits are undergoing a transformation. Seven brides turn the spotlight on the smallest fashionistas in their bridal parties.


Leah Rockwell

Dress: $50, Ann Taylor

Accessories: White faux fur muff; custom-made navy blue sash to match the bridesmaids' dresses; wreath of flowers for hair

February 21, 2009

Westminster Presbyterian Church & Veritas Vineyards and Winery

Jill Miller, the bride: "I found a dress that matched the bridesmaid dresses– I wanted to avoid the traditional white fluffy flower girl attire, knowing it would mean  alot to Leah if she instead looked more like the "grown-up" bridesmaids."

Leah walked solo down the aisle before 150 guests dropping flowers before the bride made her appearance, then spent the rest of the night with the ring bearer Will. "She began practicing immediately after we asked her," says Miller. "We bought her an American Girls flower girl dress so that she could practice with her doll as well."


Blair Lovie Scholla

Dress: $47.50, Hand-Rolled Flower Accent Flower Girl Dress, My Girl Dress.com

Accessories: basket with fake flower petals

April 17, 2010

Holy Comforter Catholic Church, Glenmore Country Club

Carolyn Rainville, the bride: "I didn't really care about the specific dress as long as it went with the overall wedding theme– grey and shades of pink. The bridesmaids dresses were charcoal grey and I wanted the flowers to be pink– fuschia was one of the shades."

After choosing her six and eight-year-old nephews as ringbearers for her wedding, bride Rainville found it only natural to choose her 23 month-old niece to be her flower girl. Unfortunately for the ceremony's 190 guests, Blair was "fired" from her duties after a crying fit during the rehearsal. But donning a fuschia dress chosen by her grandmother, the flower girl took to the dance floor the entire reception– a much less scary task.


Lucy Murphy

Dress: $165, JCrew

Accessories: silver shoes

February 20, 2010

McCormick Observatory & 210 West Water Street

Sharon Shapiro, the bride: "I wanted something timeless and simple– it had a pleated sunburst detail down the front that echoed the pleats in the bodice of my dress and also my maid of honor's dress."

Lucy had some strong connections to the bridal party– she's the half-sister to the bride's daughter! Laughing and smiling down the aisle, Lucy relaxed the 100-guest crowd, according to bride Shapiro.


Laena Jeongmin Marraccini

Dress: $40, Nordstroms

Accessories: matching beret and shoes and socks

May 23, 2009

Earlysville private home

Marisa Ellen Marraccini, the bride: "Everyone in our wedding party wore an outfit of their choosing, and as a wedding gift we gave them matching dogwood leaf necklaces and cuff links to wear that were designed and made by my father, Lee Angelo Marraccini. My brother and sister-in-law took Laena shopping and tried to pick out a dress they thought matched our style and personalities– my sister-in-law described their decision process as, 'we tried to choose a dress to match the fun and lively personality of the bride.'"

Laena's job was central to the wedding ceremony of Marisa Marraccini and Aaron Dawson– literally. The guests gathered in a semi-circle to witness the ceremony and Laena walked in front of the crowd, throwing petals in the spot where the bride and groom were to stand. Her dress combined "bright colors, interesting design and comfort," according to bride Marraccini, who wanted her flower girl and niece to be able to actively dance, play, and run throughout the day. Laena spent the ceremony at the feet of the couple, even signaling to Marraccini to help take off her socks and shoes. "I pulled her socks off as our officiant spoke about the meaning of our union– it was an incredibly sweet moment."


Shaylen Raches

Dress: $130, Strasburg Fine Children's Clothing

Accessories: pink and yellow pacifier, pearl bracelet

April 24, 2010

Farmington Country Club

Elizabeth Moga, the bride: "It wasn't important to be 'matchy'– I wanted her mother to choose something that she felt she would be beautiful in!"

Two-year-old Shaylen, the groom's niece, made the 130 guests at Elizabeth Moga's country club wedding laugh as she walked down the aisle with her two older brothers saying, "Uhoh!" as she dropped petals out of her basket.


Lydia Pelton, Hailey Grace Hodson, Lillian & Frances Clark

Dresses: under $100, "designer dresses on closeout from a random google website," according to the bride.

Accessories: black sashes

December 31, 2009

Veritas Winery

Chloe Frey, the bride: "I didn't want their mothers to hemorrhage on something they wouldn't be able to wear very often and would grow out of sooner rather than later."

The bride and groom both weighed in on these flower girls– two were the bride's older nieces and two were the groom's twin younger sisters. Due to the winter weather, the bride wanted to incorporate warmth and comfort into the outfits as well as a "clean and classic" look.


Claire Urmanski, Anne Urmanski, Veronika Witoshynsky

Dresses: $20, Macy's

Accessories: necklaces, glass flower baskets, fresh flower garlands for hair

August 1, 2009

Grace Episcopal Church, Keswick

Victoria Gardner, the bride: "The bridesmaid's attire was 'try to find a white dress.' Since we had the fairly relaxed style of the flower girl dresses, we wanted something to blend. The white flowing fabric was great for a potentially very hot August day."

Armed with the theme of "relaxed elegance," bride Victoria Gardner knew she and her groom wanted their three grandchildren to be involved in their nuptials. Mixing tradition with personality, the wedding party mixed it up when it came to colors– the bride wore a blue vintage dress while the flower girls, junior bridesmaid, and matron of honor wore white.