4-year-old volunteers to be flower girl at city hall weddings

When 4-year-old Annabelle Earl heard how much fun it was to be a flower girl, she didn't want to wait for a family wedding. (Kim Earl/ABC News)

The couple may have arrived at New York's City Hall unaccompanied, but the soon-to-be husband and wife found an unexpected guest.

Clutching a neon-green sign advertising her services, Annabelle Earl, 4, approached them to ask whether they were in need a flower girl.

After a playmate introduced her to the concept earlier this year, Annabelle told her mother, Kim Earl, that she, too, wanted to walk a bride down the aisle. The problem was that there were no family weddings in the works and close friends of her parents were already married.

"I thought she would forget about it after a while," Kim Earl told ABC News. "But it kept coming back up."

Lacking conventional options, Earl knew she needed to get creative. Since so many wed at City Hall each year, Earl planned a trip to the municipal building and hoped that at least one couple would be willing to include her daughter in their special day.

"I explained this option to her, and she thought it sounded okay," Earl said.

Last Friday, Annabelle donned her fanciest dress, decorated a brightly colored sign, and picked out a bouquet of flowers. She and her mother then traveled to the tip of Manhattan and stood in the lobby.

"People smiled at us," Earl said. "But I guess they didn't really know what to make of it. I told Annabelle we were going to have to go ask people ourselves."

While the first couple she called upon demurred, the little girl refused to be dissuaded. She approached a well-heeled woman in white and made her offer. This bride agreed.

Because Earl had told Annabelle that it was her job to entertain the couple, the newly appointed flower girl told stories and introduced both husband and wife to the Wedding Barbie doll that she had brought with her. Despite the revelry, Earl said that Annabelle took her responsibilities "very seriously."

During the bare-bones ceremony, she "stood there and quietly listened."

Once it was over, however, she piped up: "Mommy, is there cake?"

After exchanging contact information with the newlyweds, Earl took Annabelle to a nearby bakery to select a slice.

"I tried it and it wasn't very good," Annabelle told ABC News. She did report that a subsequently consumed chocolate cupcake was more impressive: "I liked it!"

Still, as so many wedding cakes before it, this one served its purpose. It made for a great photo. Earl snapped a picture of her daughter and texted it to the happy couple.

"We didn't want to be obtrusive," said Earl. "But I sent it to them and wrote, 'Here's to a sweet future.'"

For now, Annabelle has no immediate plans to repeat her City Hall performance, but her mother said that her daughter would be willing to return.

"The one thing she did say was, 'If I ever do this again, I want to be able to throw the petals on the floor.'"
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