Having children in your wedding party
Flower girls, ring bearers, junior bridesmaids... they're all adorable, except when they aren't. Deciding whether or not to include children in your wedding can be a difficult decision, especially when family pressure is involved.
What they do
Flower girl: Usually a young girl (Between 3 and 8 years old) who precedes the bridal party down the aisle spreading flowers or petals. The flower girl is often dressed in an
age-appropriate version of the bridesmaids' dresses.
Ring bearer: Usually a boy who carries the wedding rings on a pillow and presents them to the best man, groom, or officiant. The ring bearer often wears a traditional 'boy's suit' consisting of a jacket and shorts.
Junior bridesmaid: Usually a 10 to 14-year-old girl who is too old to be a flower girl, but not old enough to accept the responsibility of being a bridesmaid. The junior bridesmaid dresses are either the same or similar to the bridesmaids' dresses, and she should be included in bridesmaids' activities.
Reasons to include children
- They're cute.
- They help symbolize that this wedding is about family and the future.
- They allow you to honor family members or friends who are not part of the bridal party.
Reasons not to include children
- Children often get nervous and find it difficult to perform their roles.
- Having children in the ceremony requires inviting them to the reception, which opens up the floodgates to other families wanting to bring their children.
- Including some children but not all children in a family can open up family wounds.
If you do include children
Make sure you have reasonable expectations. Your three-year-old flower girl may never make it down the aisle, but the story of how she refused to go will entertain family members for years.
Remember, anything these children do, short of a full-fledged tantrum, will be considered adorable.
Make sure a parent is free to assist the child. Many a wedding guest has chuckled to see a six-foot-tall dad act as flower girl next to his daughter. Trust the child's parents to tell you what the child can and cannot be expected to do. One parent or grandparent should be stationed at the end of the aisle and be available to sit with the child during the wedding.
Consider providing babysitting services for the reception. Many reception sites have separate rooms where young guests can be entertained by a babysitter. The parents of your small attendants will thank you for this.
Don't forget to buy age-appropriate thank-you gifts.
For more wedding tips:Wedding Etiquette and Other Questions
Wedding Planning for the Newly Engaged
Ideas from other Brides in the Wedding Forum