From flower girls, to ring bearers, to junior bridesmaids, there are a number of age-appropriate wedding roles the little tykes you care about can take on. Flower girls in particular can make for a memorable ceremony, but what’s the appropriate flower girl age?
The answer depends on what you want your young flower girl’s duties to include (besides being adorable, of course).
In this guide, we’ll discuss the factors you should consider when including children in your ceremony, such as age and the young flower girl responsibilities, as well as a few tips and tricks to ensure your special day is made even more wonderful by your littlest guests.
The role of the flower girl is no small part. Usually, the last of the wedding party to walk down the aisle before the bride, the young girl is a crucial precursor to the big moment. The young girl’s job usually consists of sprinkling flower petals along the aisle, sometimes accompanied by the ring bearer or additional flower girls.
Generally, flower girls are between three and eight years old—but this can vary depending on the child in question and the kind of ceremony you want to have
Regardless of how old your perfect flower girl is, you want to make sure that she’s able to accomplish the tasks you set for her. Will she make it down the aisle with her flowers, or is there a chance she’ll get distracted by the first recognizable face she sees?
When choosing your perfect flower girl, it will be helpful to consider her:
Maturity Level: Not all three-year-olds are ready to march down an aisle in front of a bunch of adult strangers—but neither are all seven-year-olds. There’s a good chance you know your prospective flower girl well enough to gauge her preparedness, but the best judges of a child’s capability are probably her parents. Make sure to have an open conversation about whether their daughter is up for the challenge.
Personality: Even the most mature five-year-olds might not have the proper disposition for filling the flower girl role, which requires a child to take center stage at your wedding (at least for as long as it takes to walk the aisle). That means a shy child or one who doesn’t like being the center of attention might not be the wisest choice for the part. There’s also a good chance that the child might have to spend the duration of the wedding away from their parents or in the care of other members of your wedding party, so be sure to choose a child who’s comfortable with strangers or folks they don’t know very well.
Interest: While some little girls might jump at the chance to wear a pretty dress and carry flowers, others might not be so excited. If your potential flower girl seems uninterested in the job, she probably is, so pay attention to her reaction when you tell her about the role, or ask her parents about her level of interest.
The kind of ceremony you want to have is another factor to consider when choosing your flower girl. Maybe you want a traditional ceremony that follows the very specific program you’ve spent months planning. Or maybe your wedding is more unconventional and open to unplanned whimsy.
If you’re big on details and determined to have your wedding run exactly as planned, it’s extra important to consider the child’s maturity, personality, and interest before asking them to take part in your ceremony. Children can be highly unpredictable. No matter how much planning or rehearsal goes into your wedding, you never quite know what a child will do.
If the thought of your flower girl causing any sort of commotion fills you with dread, you might want to choose a more mature child. Then again, maybe you wouldn’t mind a little spontaneity. Flower girls have been known to flee the scene, dump all the flower petals at once, and even hide underneath the bride’s dress. But unexpected moments like these can create a more memorable event, sprinkling a bit of laughter in between the joyful tears that accompany most weddings. Plus, with Zola, you can create a one-of-a-kind wedding album to look back on all the unforgettable moments that defined your special day.
Age is just one of many factors to consider when choosing the right flower girl for your wedding. You also need to think about how she's related to you or your spouse and the willingness and ability of her parents.
Relation: In most cases, it’s generally a good idea to look inside the family for your flower girl before reaching out to friends. There are no rules dictating whether the flower girl should come from one or the other side of the family, but ideally, the child should be someone you already have a close relationship with. The child of a close friend can also be a good option in the event there are no family members available.
Family Politics: Family politics can play a big part in selecting each member of your wedding party, including your flower girl. If you find yourself with a plethora of options, it might be difficult to decide who to choose without hurting anyone’s feelings by excluding them. When it comes to choosing your flower girl, err on the side of caution. If there doesn’t seem to be a way to make a decision without hurting feelings, investigate alternative options and solutions, such as having more than one flower girl or giving each young family member a role in the wedding.
The Parents: The parents will ultimately be the ones who make the final decision on whether or not their child can participate in the wedding, so it’s a good idea to broach the subject with the parents before mentioning the possibility to the child. This will help ensure you make the right choice and avoid getting your potential flower girl’s hopes up if it isn’t going to work out.
When planning your wedding, it’s important to keep in mind that any problem you may encounter has a solution. This is as true for choosing your flower girl as any other aspect of your big day.
Maybe there’s a two- or three-year-old who you’ve dreamt of having as your flower girl since the moment you said yes, but who isn’t quite ready for the responsibility. Or maybe you and your spouse-to-be both have nieces you adore and want to include in the wedding.
Here are some ideas for finessing the flower girl role to account for these and other tricky situations:
Have a Ring Bearer Escort: If you have your heart set on a flower girl who might not make it down the aisle, don’t ask her to go it alone. If your ceremony includes a ring bearer, consider sending the two of them down the aisle together. Choose a ring bearer who’s a little older than the flower girl and can help keep her on track.
Choose Multiple Flower Girls: Who says you can only have one little lady sprinkling your nuptial path with flower petals? If there’s more than one child in your life who you’d love to feature at your wedding, consider sending multiple flower girls down the aisle.
Simplify the Role: Most flower girls haven’t been walking very long, so proceeding down the aisle at an appropriate pace while also distributing flower petals can be understandably difficult. Set your flower girl up for success by simplifying the role. Instead of giving her petals to throw, consider having her carry a bouquet. If there’s a bridesmaid, groomsman, or another member of the wedding party that the child feels comfortable with, assign them the role of “flower girl buddy”—someone the child can meet up with when she reaches the end of the aisle.
Once you’ve decided who you want your flower girl to be, it’s time to pop the question. But there are a few things to keep in mind before doing so. Here are some tips for asking a child to be in your wedding:
Receive Parental Permission: When you ask a child to participate in your wedding, you’re asking just as much of their parents. In most cases, the parents will be responsible for purchasing your flower girl’s wedding day outfit and making a certain time commitment. One way to help lessen the strain of this added responsibility is to make sure the parents know your wedding date far enough in advance to plan accordingly. With Zola’s customizable wedding paper suite, you can create personalized Save the Dates to ensure your flower girl and her parents are available on your big day.
Give It Time: Although you’ll probably be vibrating with excitement by the time you start assembling your wedding party, it might be a good idea to hold off on saying too much about it to your intended flower girl until closer to the date. Even five or six months can feel like an eternity to an excited child. As long as you’ve asked the parents and are certain the child is willing, you can wait to tell her until closer to the ceremony.
Offer a Gift: Giving your flower girl-to-be a gift when you ask her to be in your wedding is a nice way to show her how much her participation means to you. It can also impress upon her how important the occasion is. Consider giving her a special candy or a piece of jewelry she can wear to the ceremony. You can also give her a book that explains the role she’ll be playing.
Including other children in your wedding ceremony can add an extra layer of warmth and adorableness to your big day. By virtue of their wee size, everything children do is just cuter, from distributing petals as they march down the aisle to carrying the bride’s train.
If you’re blending families, including the children can also help set them at ease with the whole process. For children who may find themselves with a new step-parent or even a new home, weddings represent a big change. By allowing them to participate in the wedding, the day becomes more about all of you coming together as a family.
If there are many children in your life, you may be wondering how you can include them all in your wedding. Maybe you have a few nieces and nephews who are as excited about your wedding as you are. Or maybe your two closest friends both have children you’d love to include.
Fortunately, there’s no shortage of wedding positions that can be filled by children. Although some roles are suitable for children of any age and temperament, other roles require a certain level of maturity (not to mention motor skills).
Some of the many possibilities include:
Ring Bearer: The ring bearer carries the wedding rings to the bride and groom. It’s a big responsibility to put on tiny shoulders, but generally, ring bearers are between four and 10 years old.
Junior Bridesmaids/Groomsmen: Children who act as junior bridesmaids or groomsmen are usually a bit older—no younger than nine or 10. They perform similar duties as the adult bridesmaids and groomsmen at the wedding, and walk down the aisle along with the rest of the wedding party. Casting junior bridesmaids and groomsmen can be a great way to include the children you love who are too old to serve as flower girls or ring bearers.
Wedding Pages: Younger children may also serve as pages at your wedding. Also known as “train bearers,” they carry the bride’s train as she walks down the aisle. It’s a job that’s easy enough for children between five and seven years old. Plus, having wedding pages in your wedding can add a slightly formal touch to your procession.
Greeters: Everyone loves to see children dressed up in suits and dresses. Consider having a few of your well-dressed youngsters front and center to greet your guests as they arrive. Your guests will feel welcomed, and the children you adore will feel useful and involved.
Guest Book Attendants: Older children can be a good option for supervising the guest book. The role requires only a little responsibility and a relatively brief time commitment, so you don’t have to worry about wearing them out.
Musicians/Singers: If you have any prodigies in your midst, consider tapping them to perform at your wedding. Perhaps your nephew can play a piano solo while your guests file into the ceremony hall, or maybe your niece can sing a hymn before the wedding party enters.
You can also enlist children to distribute party favors, collect gifts at the reception, or serve as altar boys or girls, depending on your wedding.
Choosing the right children and casting them in the appropriate roles can help ensure a smooth, stress-free, and memorable wedding day. If you’re still uncertain about which roles are best for the children in your life, Zola’s wedding advice service can help. Our experts can answer all your wedding day questions, from how to choose a ring bearer to how to pick your perfect venue.
Planning your nuptials is a huge undertaking. From finding your flower girl to planning your reception menu, you’re juggling a lot. Amidst all the invitations, seating charts, and cake tastings, you may find yourself wishing you had a wedding-wise friend to help you balance it all. Fortunately, you have something even better—Zola.
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