Wedding Officiant Surprises Deaf Flower Girl by Learning Sign Language

"He was sending a message about inclusivity."

ASL for Deaf Flower Girl
Photo: Christina Pacala/Christina_Pax/Instagram

Sometimes the simplest gestures can have the biggest impact.

Take, for example, when the officiant at Christina Pacala's brother's wedding subtly incorporated American Sign Language into the ceremony. At first, the 34-year-old mom from Virginia couldn't believe her eyes.

"I was a bridesmaid and I started sobbing so hard when I realized he wasn't just moving his hands—he was signing the word 'family,'" Pacala recalled to Today.

You see, Pacala's 22-month-old daughter Riley, who served as her uncle's flower girl, was born deaf. The officiant, Randy Latini, had secretly learned sign language for the occasion.

"He didn't make it a big deal; he didn't even tell anyone," Pacala wrote alongside a video from the ceremony on Instagram." But it was a big deal to us. It signifies that the two families that joined on this day recognize that they have a Deaf family member, and they'll make an effort to include, love, and support her.

Latini, who is married to the bride's sister, told Today that he reached out to a teacher of the deaf at the school where he works.

"I sent her what I wanted to say and she sent me a video showing to sign those phrases," he said. "After that, I just had to practice!"

Though Riley is too young to fully understand Latini's sweet gesture, it meant everything to her parents.

"It was Randy's way of saying, 'Riley is a member of our family and she uses sign language to communicate, so we will too,'" Pacala explained to Today. "He was sending a message about inclusivity."

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