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Bride Sparks Drama By Excluding ‘Painfully Shy’ Niece From Flower Girl Duties At Wedding

Flower girl at wedding
tylim/Getty Images

With the wedding industry being as big as it is, it’s no wonder that weddings take a ridiculous amount of planning to pull them off.

Often, loved ones will share their opinions about how the happy couple is planning their special day, even when those opinions are not welcome, cringed the “Am I the A**hole?” (AITA) subReddit.

The Redditor, who has since deleted her account, made the decision to only include one of her nieces in her wedding as a flower girl because the other one was super shy.

But when the shy one became jealous and her mother started demanding a flower girl role for her, the Original Poster (OP) wondered if she was wrong to not include her from the beginning.

She asked the sub:

“AITA for only picking one of my nieces to be my flower girl?”

The OP’s two nieces had very different personalities.

“I (26 Female) am getting married in January. I have a niece who is seven, we’ll call her Jess. And my partner has a niece who is five, we’ll call her Ava.”

“Jess is painfully shy. She has cried through every single school function she’s been in, hates having her photo taken, and takes a long time to warm up to people.”

The OP made a tough decision for her wedding regarding her two nieces.

“So, when we picked our flower girl, the obvious choice was Ava.”

“It just felt too risky to pick Jess as a flower girl. Jess is known for getting all excited about an event in the months, weeks, and even days leading up to it, and then getting cold feet at the last minute and freaking out. She also runs off when she’s upset, which felt like a major safety issue.”

“I just knew from the get-go that it would not go smoothly.”

There were consequences to the OP’s decision.

“And that seemed fine, until a few weeks ago. Now, Jess is becoming jealous.”

“Ava was practicing the other day, and she tried to rip the basket out of her hands and we had to separate them. She keeps complaining about how Ava gets a dress with a bow and called her ‘a stupid baby.'”

Jess’s mother lashed out at the OP.

“Jess’s mother is mad at me now, saying that I shouldn’t have based my decision of Jess’s previous actions and that I should let her be my flower girl because she ‘wants to be one so very bad.'”

“Jess’s mom said that she doesn’t have to apologize to Ava for being physical, because ‘these are big feelings for a little girl,’ and I just about lost it.”

“When I said that I’m not changing my mind so close to the wedding, she said that my favoritism is showing.”

“I’m not trying to play favorites, I just thought that Jess would be miserable in that particular situation. I had no idea that this would be such a big deal.”

“AITA for my choice of flower girl?”

Fellow Redditors weighed in:

  • NTA: Not the A**hole
  • YTA: You’re the A**hole
  • ESH: Everybody Sucks Here
  • NAH: No A**holes Here

Some agreed it was the OP’s wedding to plan, not her niece’s.

“NTA. Your wedding is just that, yours.”

“You made a choice about who you’d like to be flower girl, and Jess’s mom needs to teach her to keep her hands off Ava and to not throw fits when things don’t go her way.” – Stardust_Shinah

“Jess’s mom is failing as a parent for that. ‘Big feelings’ isn’t an excuse to not teach your child how to process their feelings properly. It’s up to the parent to teach a child how to manage big feelings, not to brush them off without addressing them.”

“It’s a disservice to Jess to not teach her how to better accept when she’s upset, it told no, or has some uncontrollable (perceived) unfairness happen to her.” – ctortan

“NTA. It’s your wedding and you get to choose who is involved. Also, what kind of message are you sending Jess if you reward her behavior toward Ava. (Physically stealing things and name-calling is NOT how you get what you want!)” – aj_alva

“NTA. You made this decision partially to protect Jess from her own embarrassment/crying in public. It’s not your fault she can’t handle being in public functions.”

“By the way, you could have had both of them be flower girls. I’ve been to multiple weddings where they have more than one. But it’s your wedding so if that wouldn’t have fit your aesthetic, then that by itself makes you not the AH.” – spokanyan

“NTA. You selected a flower girl based on who you thought could best do it. This wasn’t selecting who you love more!”

“Jess reacting the way she did, is on her parents, not you. A life lesson could have been taught, take your pick: sometimes you don’t get what you want, lashing out when jealous isn’t good, etc. but instead, let’s reward nasty behavior and blame someone for MAKING her misbehave.” – ariesinnc3017

Others were critical of the OP’s actions.

“You should have either offered the role to both kids or never have practiced wedding stuff in front of the kid you chose to exclude. That was so mean. Expecting a seven-year-old to not react to having her face rubbed in the fact that you trusted and chose a younger kid over her was unrealistic.”

“Most weddings I’ve been to with children as flower girls/boys had at least kid one panic and hide. It’s not a big deal. Their parents just stay with them outside the doors and the kid(s) comfortable with the role keep walking forward.”

“But in that scenario, you haven’t targeted or excluded a child for being anxious. A flower girl dress isn’t that expensive, and the cost is worth it to not hurt the children you are supposed to care about.”

“YTA.” – LostDogBoulderUtah

“Did you consider (right at the start of your planning) buying Jess the flower girl dress, without expecting her to actually be a flower girl?”

“You only have one niece, and you’re giving the super cool treat to another little girl of a similar age, who isn’t related to you (she’s not your niece yet!).”

“Didn’t it occur to you that a small child might be really sad at being excluded from this big event – and that there are ways to include them kindly?”

“My little sister was a young toddler at our aunt’s wedding. Big sister and I got proper bridesmaids dresses, and little sister got a ‘matching’ toddler-style dress, so she looks super cute in the photos she’s in, but there was no attempt to get her to behave like a bridesmaid during the day.”

“It feels like YTA here because this could absolutely have been predicted (unless Jess hates girly outfits). Of course, Jess is behaving terribly, but she’s feeling big feelings that she didn’t know how to handle, and sounds like her mum is no help with that. Poor kid; she’s going to have a terrible life if she’s not taught those skills.” – AmberAllDay

“Seems like having both girls be flower girls would be an easy fix. So when Jess inevitably gets cold feet, Ava can continue on. Or, maybe if they were doing it together, Jess might have had more confidence doing it with someone else. Or maybe think of another job Jess could do (that won’t really be an issue if she flakes out).”

“I think this is a slight YTA. Jess obviously wants to be involved. Giving her a small task could have probably smoothed this over.” – seregil42

“Do you know anything about kids? Do you not have siblings? She ripped the basket out of the other one’s hands and called her a baby. It’s not ok and should have consequences but it’s also not the dramatic level of violence people are making it out to be. Comments are making it sound like she took a crowbar to her cousin’s knees.”

“And it happened only after they started literally doing flower girl stuff IN FRONT OF HER. No seven-year-old is going to take that well.” – Stupidbutts69

“All these comments here are making me feel like none of these people actually have kids. She’s only seven and she didn’t get asked for something special while another girl did, who can even have a pretty dress with a bow (apparently very important to her), and OP is letting the other girl practice in front of her like salt to the wounds.”

“And now everybody here is saying she has to ‘deal with it’ like a grown-up, and she can’t have a pretty dress anymore because her ‘horrible, horrible behavior can’t be rewarded.'”

“If you ask me, this girl is just deeply hurt and I can’t blame her. She should apologize to the other girl for lashing out because, no, it’s not right.”

“OP should have a talk with her to let her know why things happened. And if I were her mom, I would buy her a pretty dress myself. Ugh.” – Rich-Protection2188

Some gave the OP suggestions for what to do to make the situation better.

“NTA. Get Jess a matching dress and put her in charge of the guest book. It’s a ‘much more responsible job’ since she can probably read better than a five-year-old.” – Sufficient-Dinner-72

“YTA. She is seven years old. She is a small child. This is extremely normal behavior (not to mention predictable; honestly, you should have seen this coming).”

“Let her have a pretty dress and a little basket of flower petals or whatever. If she gets cold feet and can’t do the flower girl thing when the time comes, no one needs to force it because the other kid will have it covered. But this way, she gets to be included and have a good social learning opportunity.”

“You could be kind and generous, but you’re taking a hard-line stance with a little child. YTA.” – mechanical-being

“Tell the jealous little girl and her family that sure she can be a flower girl, too. And they can buy the dress and the shoes and if the little girl has a panic attack at showtime, as her history has shown her to be very likely to do…well, the crying little girl will be promptly escorted to a quiet room with a solid door away from the ceremony where she will disturb no one.”

“And make it clear that your wedding will not be delayed by one minute if Jess is hesitant at a crucial moment. If Jess wants to be a flower so very very much, you will let her, if, and only if she plays her role as required.”

“NTA and drama like this is why some people just elope. But if you decide Jess is too much to deal with, then you certainly don’t have to let her be the second flower girl.”

“And anybody that disagrees? Ask them whose wedding is it… and who is paying for it?” – YouthNAsia63

“YTA. She’s seven. Keep that in mind. You assumed that a seven-year-old would know what a flower girl was. She’s seven, and she didn’t know.”

“Your niece is feeling hurt, rejected, and probably that her own aunt doesn’t like her as much as Ava.”

“You could easily have two flower girls. Maybe doing it together with Ava would help her not be so shy. Is your one day more important than your lifelong relationship with your niece?”

“You still have time to fix this with your niece. I would tell her you didn’t realize how much it would mean to her to be a flower girl and that you love her. Tell her she can be a flower girl with Ava.”

“Have her parents buy the dress and if she freaks out the day of, tell her it’s ok and that she doesn’t have to.”

“Again, she’s seven, and people are expecting way too much maturity out of a seven-year-old.” – DeeFromTheD6498

“Maybe OP could ask to sit down with Jess (with mom present) and explain. apologize for assuming what Jess wants and excluding her, and say that she cares about Jess but she guessed wrong on this. Just tell her she’s loved and OP is sorry. When an adult who cares about them apologizes and takes responsibility, it’s powerful.”

“Depending on how that goes it could lead the way for OP to talk to Jess about her actions being mean. Jess acted how many seven-year-olds might act in an unfair situation, but OP could ask Jess to help her fix what happened (like, if Jess gets it that what she did was wrong, help Jess talk to Ava to ask if she is okay, hopefully apologize, etc).”

“Maybe if Jess can show that she can turn it around and be responsible, show she’s sorry, OP can open the opportunity up for her to be a flower girl too and emphasize that this is a team effort and if she can be kind to others, especially Ava, OP would like to have her on her wedding day team.”

“If Jess and/or her mom aren’t receptive, then that is their choice but OP would have communicated in a healthy manner. They will remember that someday.”

“Instead of writing off a big memory as ruined and having Jess just excluded and hurting (and hurting younger cousin), why not make this a teachable moment and really help the kids by example, both how to handle when you made a poor choice, and what family and marriage is supposed to be all about? That would be a really powerful memory, in my honest opinion.” – TinyYellowTerribissis

The subReddit was deeply divided over this situation, as they could all agree that Jess had behaved terribly, though it seemed to be correctable, especially if the OP wanted to maintain a relationship with her.

Most believed that the bride needed to come up with some way of involving both of her nieces in her wedding, if after a conversation about what was acceptable behavior, even for a seven-year-old.

Written by McKenzie Lynn Tozan

McKenzie Lynn Tozan has been a part of the George Takei family since 2019 when she wrote some of her favorite early pieces: Sesame Street introducing its first character who lived in foster care and Bruce Willis delivering a not-so-Die-Hard opening pitch at a Phillies game. She's gone on to write nearly 3,000 viral and trending stories for George Takei, Comic Sands, Percolately, and ÜberFacts. With an unstoppable love for the written word, she's also an avid reader, poet, and indie novelist.