Last week I introduced you to Dana Jay Bein, the wedding industry's premier male flower girl. First seen at Bobby & Clare's puppet wedding, I decided it was time for a gritty 1-on-1 interview with him.
Dana, was this the realization of a long-time dream?
I never thought I'd have flower girl on my resume … but to be honest I'd never ruled it out. That's just the type of person I am. Anything is possible. I'm open to life's opportunities!
To be honest, until Claire, I never really imagined Bobby as a married man. So when he told me he was engaged, I knew instantly that this wedding would be different. Deep down, I knew Bobby would have a surprise or two in store for the wedding party.
When Bobby approached me about the wedding, I was open minded and definitely prepared for anything he might propose. I'm used to doing outlandish and ridiculous things on a day to day basis so it was likely that he would up the ante for a special occasion.
To be honest, I don't even think he even asked me. I think he just said, "You're our flower girl."
…And I was ecstatic! That was that. He could have said, "You're my tuxedo." and I wouldn't have thought twice about it. Of course, I'm your tuxedo. As improvisers and great friends, we just roll with things.
So, there I was — the flower girl. A 29-year-old male flower girl. It was more an honor than it was a joke or a novelty. (Although it WAS all three) What's funny is that it just made sense. My friends constantly rib me for being meticulously metrosexual and my friendship to Bobby and Claire means a ton to me. So, for me, being the flower girl was a perfect marriage of laughter and recognition. l was thrilled to be a key part in my friends' beautiful ceremony in such groundbreaking fashion.
What qualities should one look for when selecting a male flower girl?
From my experience, a male flower girl needs to be fun, open minded and, most importantly, comfortable with the role! If you're thinking about approaching someone to do this, you probably already know that person is a good candidate and a good sport. Go with your gut!
Don't just do it for the joke — make sure the guy is right for it and also that he's close to you and your partner. I wouldn't force the role on someone who is unwilling. If the guy isn't comfortable, it just won't work. The reason we were able to have so much fun with this is that Bobby and Claire's friends and family know me and my sense of humor … and my almost excessive willingness to take on this role!
How did you prepare for your responsibilities?
I didn't study other flower girls to prepare for the role — that would be creepy. Who is that guy? What is he doing here? Was he invited?
Not to mention, if I studied actual flower girls, I might have picked up bad habits like crying, forgetting the petals or running away. AMATEURS! No running away or forgetting petals with this guy!
(I did cry at the rehearsal dinner. No joke. Cute AND sensitive!!!)
Were you daunted by your duties?
The responsibility involved in being a flower girl didn't really hit me until I was issued my petals. Once I had my bag of petals, I knew this was for real. I mean, I didn't have to wear a dress so there was nothing distinctly flower girlish about me until then. No petals = groomsman. Petals = flower girl.
I couldn't believe I was going to precede the bride down the aisle. Unreal. I was somewhat hesitant before the ceremony began. I felt I was going to steal focus but Bobby and Claire knew what they were doing and still encouraged me to have fun with it. So I did.
I decided to be tongue-in-cheek elegant … gracefully throwing the petals over the guests. I wouldn't have been tongue-in-cheek about it, but the laughter upon my arrival to the ceremony proved that there was more than just elegance and grace operating in my flower girl execution. As I approached the altar, I saw a humorous photo opportunity and the result is the picture of me throwing flower petals into the lens of the camera. Ridiculous!
Any final words?
The bottom line is that if you are a fun couple; your wedding should represent that somehow. It will make for a more memorable occasion for you and your guests. I'm working on planning my wedding right now and I'm single!!! I just have THAT much work to do to top this one.
Update June 2011: Three years after we wrote this post, the New York Times finally caught on to this trend, interviewing Dana for their article, As Wedding Roles Evolve, Here Come the Flower Men.