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 VIP's and should be treated as such,” says Nora Sheils, co-founder of Rock Paper Coin and founder of Bridal Bliss.
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 till now,” says Keith Willard of Keith Willard Events. “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.
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 that 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."
But as Willard reminds, you should ask both the parents and their children if they want to take on the honor. He says, “You want to make sure both want to so you don’t have a tantrum the day of the wedding. Waiting a bit also gives enough time to provide excitement but not too much time to be forgotten again by the parents.”
Flower Girl and Ring Bearer Proposal Etiquette
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.”
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,” he said.
Set aside time to bond.
And if this is a child that only a bride or a groom knows well, Willard suggests that their partner spend time getting to also know them well leading up to 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:
- Are you not having the parents in the bridal party and only their children? 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 so the adults don’t make assumptions or feel left out.
- Are you still having a child-free wedding? If so, you will need to discuss childcare 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 little groomsman wearing a matching custom tux? 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."
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.
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.”
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.
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.”