— -- This ring bearer is making headlines—because she’s not a flower girl.
When Kait Villegas-Payne married the love of her life, Bobby Villegas, on May 12, they made the decision that Kait’s daughter, Scarlet, would be their ring bearer “because that’s what I had a literal need for,” Villegas-Payne, 28, told A Practical Wedding.
“We didn’t even have a real aisle for anybody to throw petals down on,” she added. “We did need somebody to hold our rings.”
The couple eloped to Seattle from their home in Oklahoma because they were planning to take a road trip for their honeymoon anyway. But when their original plan to be married on a large cruise ship dock near Pike Place fell through, their photographer, Jonas Seaman, just rolled with the punches.
“We actually got married in a stranger’s front yard!,” Villegas-Payne explained on A Practical Wedding. “I asked Jonas to go pick somewhere in the neighborhood that he thought would be best for photos. At the end of the day, I didn’t care where I married Bobby, only that I married him.”
The entire wedding was a wonderful combination of “playing it by ear,” throwing all the normal nuptial traditions to the wind.
“Why is it more socially acceptable for a dog to be a ring bearer than a human girl? That I don’t know,” she questioned.
“It really came down to the fact that we needed somebody to hold the rings for us and she was the only other person there," Villegas-Payne wrote to ABC News. "I wasn't trying to make some grand statement on social norms or anything.”
But they did, however, want to make the ceremony just as sentimental for Scarlet, 7, as it was for them, so they set aside an entire portion to be solely dedicated to her.
“She was basically our cupid,” said Villegas-Payne. “She’s always been a central part of our life together. They definitely had a strong bond from day one. Bobby and I were best friends for a long time, the kind of best friends that always laugh it off when people say they are going to end up together. I'm glad we did. I feel like he's been helping me raise her for years, it's exciting to see bits of him develop in her personality. She basically handpicked her stepdad and I'm so happy she has him in her life as an example of how a man should act. Bobby even asked her permission before proposing to me.”
The bride and groom weren’t the only ones that exchanged rings to symbolize forever, either.
“Bobby gave her a ring and a promise to always be there if she ever needs him for anything,” Villegas-Payne explained.
Her mother had something very special for her too, ensuring Scarlet knows just how much she means to her not only on their wedding day, but every single day of their lives.
“I gave her a gold pin with the word ‘Constant’ and talked to her a little about how much her presence means to me,” she told A Practical Wedding. “I love the show ‘Lost,’ I love the idea of ‘Constants’ and I mostly love that Scarlet has always been mine.”
Villegas-Payne had Scarlet when she was 19, “so she’s been around for my entire adult life,” she wrote to ABC News.
“I have had a unique opportunity to be able to grow up along with her because I had her at a young age," she elaborated on A Practical Wedding. “We’ve been through a lot together. She’s my ride or die.”
And as for why Scarlet wore a suit instead of a big, fancy dress?
“Scarlet is all about comfort, she doesn't even like to wear denim,” her mom told ABC News. “The last thing that I wanted her to be was uncomfortable on such an important day. I remember when we decided because we were suit shopping for Bobby. I looked at her and said, ‘Do you just want to wear a suit then?’ She was fine with it.”
Scarlet only had one stipulation for the big day.
“Her only request was that she got to wear gold shoes, which was an easy one,” said Villegas-Payne.
And those little gold shoes carried her down the aisle, or rather sidewalk, right alongside her mom, instead of ahead,like a flower girl would.
“She walked me to the ceremony,” Villegas-Payne said. “I won’t say she ‘gave me away’ because I’ll always be hers.”