Flower girls bring an undeniable cuteness to a wedding ceremony. Even if they don't make it all the way down the aisle, that collective "Aww!" is reason enough to send a few adorable little ones down the aisle in front of you. What makes them even more adorable are those pint-sized dresses, from flowing tutus to full-on ball gowns, complete with tiaras and shimmering Mary Janes. But even though they're small, those tiny frocks can be expensive! The question is, who is supposed to pay for them? Our experts weigh in.
Just like you're not required (or expected) to pay for your bridesmaids' or groomsmen's attire, you aren't obligated to buy your flower girl's dress, either. It's an expense that falls to the child's parents, so they should consider that cost when deciding if their child will be in your wedding. (Side note: make sure you talk to the parents about all the details before you ask their children to be in your wedding, to make sure no little hearts are broken if the parents don't approve.)
However, purchasing the dress or an accompanying accessory is a great gift to offer, especially if you've got a particular look or outfit in mind. If you know you just want the girls in all white with lace accents, but don't mind if they're mismatched beyond that (or have found an affordable dress that comes in a range of sizes to fit girls of varying ages), it's fine to pass the cost on to the parents. But if that dress is made from the same lace as your gown and is custom-ordered (a.k.a. expensive!), you should check with the parents before you place the order, and offer to cover part of the costs.
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An adorable and affordable option is to have each girl's parents buy the girl a dress in a solid color like white, ivory, blush, or navy, and then to gift the girls with cardigans to keep them warm and cover their shoulders, which will help create a more cohesive look while allowing each set of parents to spend what they're comfortable with.