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Bride has pets as flower girl and ring bearer, SIL demands 'rainbow baby' twins step in.

Bride has pets as flower girl and ring bearer, SIL demands 'rainbow baby' twins step in.


Making choices about who will be in your wedding is a loaded enough decision on its own. But it's even more loaded when children come into play, and family members have all sorts of opinions about who should be flower girl and ring bearer.

Sometimes, the easiest way to handle the pressure of choice is to opt for a radically different route altogether, backlash or not.

In a popular post on the AITA subreddit, a bride-to-be asked if she's wrong for planning on having her dog and cat fulfill the ring bearer and flower girl roles, instead of her niece and nephew.

She wrote:

WIBTA if I made my dogs the flower girl and my cat the ring bearer at my wedding instead of my “rainbow baby” niece and nephew?

Context: My brother and SIL had a series of incredibly painful (both physically and emotionally from what I’ve heard) miscarriages before they had my niece Ava and nephew Liam (4y/o twins) via IVF. As a result, my whole family (especially my SIL) make a very big deal about the twins, calling them “rainbow babies”, showering them with attention and affection, almost to the exclusion of the other grandkids.

I’ve never really been as involved with this, mostly due to the fact that I live across the country. Anyway, I’m getting married soon! I’m so excited, and my fiancé and I have been diving into wedding planning. A conversation that my fiancé and I had recently was the matter of the flower girl and ring bearer. I brought up the idea of having our dog Mika and our cat Tibby fill the roles.

Understand, Mika and Tibby are like children to us! They helped me through my deepest depression, I honestly think I wouldn’t be here anymore if I didn’t have to stick around to take care of them. They kept my fiancé company when he was going through chemo and I had to work double the hours to put food on the table. We love them to bits, and consider them family.

My fiancé thought it was a great idea, so that’s what we decided to do. Anyway, I casually brought it up at a family get-together, and my SIL took me aside later and asked why we gave “Ava and Liam’s roles” to our animals. I was confused, and she explained that since Ava and Liam were “her miracle rainbow babies” that obviously they should be the flower girl and ring bearer.

She said that it would be “good for the family” for the twins to be in the wedding, and that it’s “against tradition to have animals in the wedding”. She asked me to reconsider, and showed me a picture of Ava in a flower girl dress to “show [me] how cute it would be.” I told her that I wouldn’t make any decisions without my fiancé’s input, then I changed the subject.

I talked to my fiancé about it, and he said he’d be fine with Ava and Liam taking the roles, but that he’d prefer our animals. I agreed that I would prefer our animals. However, I’m now wondering if maybe having our animals being in the wedding would offend the family or go against tradition.

Honestly, I’m fairly sure we’d not be doing anything wrong, but my mind has been spinning lately, so I figured I’d get some second opinions.

Commenters really dug into the weeds of the situation.

Sad-Angle434 wrote:

IMBTA for saying this, but those kids are 'their' miracle babies. Not yours. Your furbabies are your babies so NTA.

Critical-Joke-597 wrote:

NTA. I question your cat following the plan. It's your day do as you wish. Make it a day to remember. Don't let people second guess you.

OK_LK wrote:

NTA. Your SIL is trying to make her children the centre of attention on YOUR wedding day. You and your fiance get to choose who is part of the wedding party and you both would prefer your pets, due to all the happiness and positivity they've brought into both of your lives. That is perfectly acceptable.

Bear in mind that your SIL will kick up a fuss and will most likely drag your family into it. Hold firm. This wedding is about you, not her miracle babies. Things are going to get rocky, but it's better SIL learns her kids aren't the main characters in everyone's lives before they get to school and they and her are rudely awakened. She is doing them no favours in the long run.

GuacGuacDuck wrote:

NTA. Unless you’re from some very specific cultures that the selection of the names Ava and Liam doesn’t suggest, your wedding sounds like a standard American wedding in line with standard American culture, and that means it isn’t a “family” occasion foremost. It is a celebration of your relationship and you get to do whatever quirkiness you like.

The only reason you should reconsider is taking a long look at how comfortable your animals will be in a large, loud, crowded space; moreso if it is any journey away from home. Most dogs I’d expect to be okay with that. Most cats? Absolutely not. That’s a recipe for stress, distress and danger for a cat. What’s the plan for where they stay before and after the ceremony?

Who is going to sit with them? What’s the plan if they escape into the venue, hide, and you spend the rest of your day worrying about your cat - or crying over a tragic accident?

Maybe you have an unusually crowd-happy, adventurous cat with impeccable harness training, your venue is no more than fifteen minutes from home and you have a close friend or relative the cat is comfortable with to bring them for that brief bit of the ceremony and then take them home again. If your situation varies from that picture, take the dogs along and let your cat sit this one out.

Even if you rethink the cat, don’t put the kids in the wedding. SIL needs her expectations reset right now. Try something like “SIL, you know how much we love the twins, but I want to be clear about their role in our wedding - much loved and valued guests, just like you are. If we want them to take on another role, we’ll let you know in good time, but we don’t have any plans for that at the moment.”

Then just be boring about her other objections and repeat yourself as many times as you need to, refusing to be drawn into the argument. It’s good for the family? “That can be how you handle events you host, but our wedding will involve family in different ways that suit us better.” It’s tradition?

“That’s how you can incorporate your view of tradition at events you host, but our wedding will emphasise traditions that suit us better.” They’re rainbow babies? “And we love them very much, and you can headline that fact in events you host, but we will be including them and the rest of the family in our wedding in ways that suit us better.”

Just keep hitting the same template note. No arguing with the basic point; just “yes, I accept that that is YOUR emotionally charged fixation; and you can do that at your party.

We will be doing something that suits us better.” No reasoning, no getting baited into explaining, just it suits us better. “We prefer this” is a complete explanation. As a follow up, don’t forget to practice your “I’m sorry you feel that way”.

It's abundantly clear that OP and her husband should go ahead with their pre-established plans, family waves or not, the only real question left is how they'll get a cat to cooperate.

Sources: Reddit
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