Leo the Flowerboy

A little over a week ago, our friend Du and her fiance Gao  were married. Chinese weddings are an all-day affair, which was a bit much for my uber-pregnant self and for Leo, but we were able to join in for the evening ceremony and banquet. A few weeks ago, Du  called to ask if Leo would participate in the evening ceremony. I agreed, because Du  is a good friend, but inside I was already nervous. WHY would you want my wonderful (yet unpredictable) 2 year old to participate in your wedding? Answer: He’s cute, foreign, and everyone will love him no matter what he does. While this is true, I was still a bit anxious – partly because I really had no idea what his role would actually be.

I asked her what Leo should wear, and she replied, “Very bright clothing, pink would be best.” Have I ever shared that in China, little boys wear pink? Our little American Leo does not own one piece of pink clothing, and that’s just how it is. ‘When in Rome, do as the Romans do’ has its place, but we all have our limits. JM and I could not put pink on Leo, so we settled on a really cute Chinese red top with a cool dragon emblazoned on the front. He then wore dressy brown slacks and his red boots. We also forced a haircut on him the morning of the wedding – which did not go over well, but it was worth it. He had been looking a little raggedy anyway.

It turned out he was a ‘flowerboy’. He and another, much more well-behaved 4 year old little girl donned angel’s wings and preceded the bride into the banquet hall. He was given a basket of rose petals to ‘scatter’ – which he refused to carry, and although he wore the angel’s wings during the practice – by the time the ceremony started, he refused those as well.

The biggest surprise came when the actual ceremony started. During rehearsal, the lights were up in the banquet hall and the music was rather subdued. When showtime came around, the lights blacked out, strobe lights and spot lights popped out of nowhere, and suddenly major house music (ala Christina Aguilera remixes, etc) came jamming out of the speakers at decibels not intended for adults, much less toddlers. My heart skipped a beat at my poor little boy facing this scene on his own (he was the FIRST in the door to go down the aisle). BUT, he made it down the aisle in one piece and did not cry (I was stationed at the front to lure him in). I think that was pretty good, considering the situation and the fact that the entire crowd had been stuffing him with chocolates the entire time he was there (We tried to stop them, but you try stopping a crowd of Chinese people – we literally came home with our pockets stuffed full of chocolate we had intercepted, but Leo still somehow ate his fill and more.).

After he arrived at the front stage, he discovered that there was a BUBBLE machine in action; I managed to distract him from that. However, next he decided that he wanted the MC’s microphone. So I ended up having to quasi-drag him to the back to keep him from taking over the entire show. Leo is not a shy boy.

At that point, with Leo’s reserves completely depleted, we were awfully glad that we had arranged for his Ayi to pick him up from the hotel and bring him home to bed. She got him home without too much fuss using bribes to watch his favorite TV show (which wasn’t going to happen, but little does he know quite yet how clever the Chinese are :)). He dropped into bed, and slept late the next morning.

I was glad to participate in the wedding, and I just love my friend Du , but next time I may not so quickly say yes if my babe is just over 2 years old! It was hard on Leo to face all of that intensity, and I think in a year or so, he’d handle it better. However, I know Leo made everyone happy, and he was able to add even more joy and fun to a wonderful wedding.

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2 Responses to “Leo the Flowerboy”


  1. 1 mjfalk December 21, 2009 at 2:27 pm

    If Grandpa and I ever get married again, we want to have Leo in the procession—if there are flowers, he can haul them down the aisle in toy trucks and put them, one by one, into vases at the foot of the sanctuary with style and grace—his little sister will help him—and they will sing two songs, one in Chinese and one in English—and we will vow again to love and serve one another all our days—and as the recessional rings out, those two will present flowers to each guest—and the party to follow will be all show and tell with music and cake and ice cream—and just before naptime we will announce the plans for an evening of storytime and warm comforting food for supper together later on. And All Will Be Well—-

  2. 2 Mom December 21, 2009 at 7:39 pm

    re: photos
    Leo is irresistible; I can easily imagine him starting a trend toward flower boys rather than girls, misbehavior and all.


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