Bridesmaid and groomsmen proposals have become a trendy way to ask those closest to the couple to stand by their side on their wedding day. But they aren’t the only members of the bridal party who deserve some love. You may want to have little ones in your bridal party as coveted ring bearers and flower girls, so it’s important to consider how you go about asking them, too. “Even the littlest members of the wedding party are VIPs and should be treated as such,” says event planner Nora Sheils.
Having a flower girl or ring bearer in your wedding party isn’t just about filling a role or appeasing parents in your bridal party. “The smallest members of the wedding party tend to have the biggest impact. It’s a sight that most of your guests can relate to, binds the experience, and it gives you a comparison of from then until now,” says event planner Keith Willard. “There is an innocence that comes with the inclusion of little ones—something that is as pure as the love between the couple.”
Children also add lightheartedness and whimsy to the day. Sheils admits, “Many brides say they are nervous to walk down the aisle and a darling flower girl walking in right before you is a great way to deflect the attention." Loren Petroski, owner of Marry You in Hawaii, adds, “It shows that they are loved so much that the couple wants them included in their special day." This is a lasting gift to the children as well as their parents.
Meet the Expert
- Nora Sheils is the cofounder of Rock Paper Coin, a contract and invoicing platform for the events industry, and founder of Bridal Bliss, a Pacific Northwest–based event planning service.
- Keith Willard is the founder of Florida-based wedding and event planning service Keith Willard Events.
- Loren Petroski is the owner of Marry You in Hawaii, a curated group of Hawaii-based wedding officiants.
When to Propose to Your Flower Girl and Ring Bearer
Brides and grooms should ask the parents of their desired flower girl and ring bearer to be a part of the wedding along with the rest of the party to give them as much notice as possible–never just assume they know or will joyously accept the honor! Per Sheils, the earlier you ask, the better, as the family will need to make travel plans or arrangements to be a part of the festivities. However, she suggests waiting to share the news with the children until a month or two before the wedding or whenever you have to order attire. “They will be so excited and asking them to wait too long is torture."
Flower Girl and Ring Bearer Proposal Etiquette
The smallest members of your wedding party deserve the same consideration as the biggest ones. Here are some things to keep in mind when asking a child to be your flower girl or ring bearer.
Ask the Parents First
The most important aspect of asking a child to be in your wedding party is clearing it with their parents first. “There may be a reason you hadn't considered that wouldn't make their involvement such a great idea,” Sheils says. “Maybe a child has special needs and deviations from a schedule or big occasions cause problems. Or maybe the parents were hoping to enjoy the big wedding sans kids.”
Be sure to ask both the parents if they want their little one to take on the honor before asking the child.
Get On Their Level—Literally
The way in which you ask the child is also just as important as what you say. “Make sure to get on their level, both figuratively and literally. You will get a much better reaction if you’re eye to eye,” says Willard.
Set Aside Time to Bond
This is extra true if it's a child that only a bride or a groom knows well. Willard suggests their partner spend time getting to know the flower girl or ring bearer well before the wedding. “Kids don’t do great around strangers so you have to take the time to get to know them and for them to get to know you."
Know Your Wedding Plans
Couples should also know the answers to a few important questions before popping the question.
- Will the child's parents also be in the bridal party? This can get sticky, so make sure you are clear with who you are asking and have a plan for logistics as far as day-of and photos. This way adults don’t make assumptions or feel left out.
- Are you having a child-free wedding? If you're planning a child-free wedding, you will need to discuss child care for after the ceremony if the young attendants are not invited to the reception. If they are, prepare for other parents to potentially have questions about whether their child can also attend.
- Are you requesting specific attire? Do you have your heart set on your ring bearer wearing a custom tux that matches the groomsmen? Have you already picked out a swoon-worthy dress for your flower girl? You will need to discuss both budget and outfit ideas with the parents so everyone is clear on who is paying for and approving attire.
Flower Girl and Ring Bearer Proposal Ideas
Once you’ve asked the parents and received their blessing, it’s time for the most exciting part: the proposal! When popping the question to the kids, Willard recommends including a gift. “Kids don’t typically have complex mental abilities so tying in the questions with something tangible will help solidify the specialness."
How to Ask Younger Flower Girls
To ask a younger flower girl, “Pop the question with flowers, pretty shoes, a little tiara and you can expect a big ‘yes,'” suggests Sheils. Other sentimental options include a bracelet or hair clip that she can save as her “something old” for her own wedding day, a matching flower girl dress for a doll that can be saved for her own daughter, or a handwritten card explaining her importance in your life.
How to Ask Older Flower Girls
“For girls that are preteens, an adult spa day is consistently a winner,” Williard suggests. “Nothing makes a preteen feel more included than doing adult activities that are preteen appropriate.”
How to Ask Younger Ring Bearers
For little ring bearers, Sheils recommends gifting them matching shoes or pieces of the attire that the groomsmen will be wearing. You can also go with a personalized baseball bat, puzzle, or game that matches their interests.
How to Ask Older Ring Bearers
Older ring bearers can be a bit more challenging. However, Willard says, "Having it be a two-part gift will help in creating that mental connection. I have had some couples where the ring bearer really loved a particular sports star. Taking them to one of their games to do the ‘ask’ and then giving them an autograph ball the day of will truly make a memory that lasts a lifetime.”
In addition to giving your young attendants a proposal gift, be sure to give them a present on the wedding day, too.
But above all, it’s all about going a step further and figuring out a personal idea that reflects their individual interests. “Any of these gift ideas need to be specific to the young man or young woman. A general ‘give them jewelry or a toy’ is not going to cover it,” he adds. “It’s important to know what they want, and for many couples, children are not yet part of the picture. So, knowing what will make them happy is going to be fully based on a conversation with their parents.”