Do you have a sister, niece, or close family friend who you’d love to include in the wedding party, but she’s too old to be a flower girl and too young to be a bridesmaid? There’s another super-special way to honor her role in your life: make her a junior bridesmaid! With your ‘maids planning your bridal shower, organizing the bachelorette party, and popping the champagne while you get your hair and makeup done, what’s left for a junior bridesmaid to do? Our experts are here to break it down for you.
Who Is She?
A junior bridesmaid is a younger member of the wedding party who falls squarely into that age gap between “flower girl” and “bridesmaid” (usually about eight to 16, or whatever ages you feel are appropriate). She might be a younger sister or sister-in-law, a niece, a cousin, a daughter, or a close family friend. Essentially, if she is important to you and your partner and falls in the age range you’ve determined, she’s the perfect candidate.
What Does She Do?
A junior bridesmaid’s responsibilities are pretty basic: Before the wedding, she should attend the ceremony rehearsal and rehearsal dinner. On your big day, she will walk down the aisle (traditionally, ahead of your bridesmaids) and stand at the altar during the ceremony. And when it’s all over? If you’re having a sparkler send-off, she should help pass out those sparklers (but should leave the lighting to an adult).
She may also participate in pre-wedding events, as long as they are appropriate for her age group. Afternoon luncheon and tea for your bridal shower? Bring her (and the flower girl!) along for the fun! Your junior bridesmaid should plan to help assemble favors, participate in games, and assist your bridesmaids with clean-up when it’s over. Bachelorette weekend in Vegas? Not so much.
If you two are particularly close—and especially if she’s your sister or daughter—you may want to include her in some of your wedding planning outings, like dress shopping. You never know what a fresh, younger set of eyes might bring into the dressing room for you to try! A younger girl might not be quite up to becoming your shopping companion, but cake tasting? That’s something any elementary schooler can get behind.
What Should She Wear?
As a member of the bridal party, your junior bridesmaid should match the rest of the women standing by your side. Many bridesmaid designers also create coordinating gowns for younger women so she’ll fit right in. These dresses often have more age-appropriate lengths and necklines, and we love the idea of having her stand out by putting her in a matching floral print or a slightly lighter color than the rest of your ‘maids. She should carry a bouquet that is smaller than the bridesmaids’, but coordinates with their flowers.
Do You Need One?
While including younger women in your bridal party is a great way to honor them and acknowledge the important role they play in your life, a junior bridesmaid isn’t a “must-have.” So if there aren’t any special young women in your life who you’d like to include, don’t sweat it. On the other hand, if there's a little guy in your life you'd rather include—go for it. Most important thing to remember: It's your party, so include (or don't include) whoever you want!