Rachel and Patrick Givens wanted their Aug. 8 wedding at The Barns at Wesleyan Hills in Middletown, Connecticut, to be fun, inviting and undeniably them.
“We paid a lot of attention to details to make sure our love was represented in a personal way throughout the entire weekend. Our goal was for our guests to walk away saying, ‘That wedding was so Rachel and Patrick,’ ” Rachel Givens tells PEOPLE.
This included finding a unique way for the couple to include their grandmothers, Renee “DD” Ruben and Joanne C. Reich, in the ceremony.
“We asked them to be our flower ladies because we knew they would have the best time doing it,” Rachel says. “Also, the theme of our wedding was ‘adventure,’ and our grandmothers, who have always both loved to travel, have served as inspiration for us and our future adventures together.”
The women were instantly interested in taking on the role of “co-flower ladies.” Rachel’s grandmother “DD” pumped her fist and shouted, “All right!” in response to the offer.
So on Rachel and Patrick’s big day – photographed by Allan Zepeda Photography – the adorably unconventional flower girls, who just met that weekend, strutted down the aisle arm-in-arm, tossing petals and beaming at the crowd. The guests responded with smiles of their own and thunderous applause.
“It was an incredible feeling looking out at this amazing crowd of our family and friends, and then seeing the heart of it all, the women at the start of it, strutting down the aisle with the biggest smiles on their faces. I had plenty of nerves standing up there, but seeing my grandma Joanne tossing flowers around and DD kicking her heels up with that flair – it was such a great reminder to just enjoy the moment,” Patrick says.
The grandmas left an impression on the guests too. The bride said that throughout the reception numerous people told her the flower ladies were the best thing they have ever seen. Rachel hopes her special wedding touch encourages other couples to personalize their weddings.
“A lot of wedding traditions are outdated, so don’t be afraid to make it your own. Of course, I understand the importance of some religious traditions, but that doesn’t mean you can’t still weave in elements of your own personal style throughout the day,” she says.
She adds, “Do you want to serve pie instead of cake? Do it! We did, and everyone loved it. Do you want to have your adorable grandmothers throw the petals instead of a traditional flower girl? Go for it! The most important thing is that it’s what you want and what will make you have the best day of your life.”