Including little ones in your wedding is a fun tradition, especially since they usually garner "awws" from guests as they traipse down the aisle. Not only do kids make for some adorable photo ops, but they also have a big responsibility: They typically carry those very important wedding rings down the aisle or prep the aisle with pretty petals for the bride's grand entrance. But what's the appropriate age for your flower girl or ring bearer? After all, you want the child to actually make it down the aisle.
"You will want to consider the age of the child and if they will be able to carry out the role you are assigning them," says wedding planner Victoria Miller. If you're hoping to walk down the aisle as your flower girl blows bubbles, for instance, you have to make sure that you assign the task to someone old enough to be able to follow through.
Meet the Expert
Victoria Miller is the founder and lead wedding planner at LUXE Atlanta Event Planning & Design, a wedding planning company based in Atlanta.
You also want to fill these spots with those who are actually special to you. "When selecting someone to be a flower girl or ring bearer, consider how close you are to the child or their parents," she says. "Giving nieces and nephews these roles can be a very diplomatic way to include family members in your wedding." If you have more than one niece or nephew that you want to include, you don't need to choose who you like more. You can definitely assign more than one child for each role! While it's more common to include multiple flower girls in the ceremony, you can also have multiple ring bearers. Only one will be tasked to carry the rings, but the others may hold other objects that will be used in the ceremony.
Usually, flower girls and ring bearers range from ages three to eight years old. But don't let that stop you from giving those roles to someone younger or older, or even to adults, especially if you're not too keen on the idea of including children in your wedding. Friends, aunts, uncles, and grandparents can make amazing flower ladies and ring bearers.
Children Under Five
It's true: Younger kids are the cutest walking down the aisle. But they're more prone to tantrums, crying, and stage fright. If you choose to include very young children in your wedding party, you (and the parents) have to be flexible. Very young flower girls may not be able to throw petals, so an option is to have them wear flower crowns instead. In the case of young ring bearers, give them faux rings to carry and give your real wedding bands to the best man.
Miller recommends including children in the rehearsal to help avoid situations where the child gets overwhelmed or scared. "This is an amazing way to have a trial run and see how the child does before the wedding day. This also gives them an opportunity to meet any bridal party members they may not know and be familiar with their surroundings," she says.
Coordinate with your wedding planner about potential backup plans and include the parents in the conversation. They might have to bring a toy or a treat to coax their babies out of crying or napping, or they may have to carry the child or hold their hand down the aisle. Remember: Even if a child runs toward the aisle or takes the smallest of steps, a little one's quirkiness is what makes them so cute in the first place!
Ages Five to Ten
Kids between five and ten years old are the best candidates for flower and ring duties. They're old enough to walk down the aisle with minimal issues, and you can rely on them to execute just about any task. In fact, you can give them slightly more complicated tasks like throwing petals, blowing bubbles, or waving ribbon wands. And if you have a mix of older and younger children, you can designate the older kid to guide a younger child. He or she can walk beside the younger one or even hold his or her hand.
It's still helpful to have them attend the wedding rehearsal just to meet the other members of the entourage. "I suggest having the child practice walking all the way down the aisle then turning at the end of the aisle to whichever side their parent will be seated on during the rehearsal, so they know exactly where to go the day of," says Miller, who also proposes letting children sit down after the procession. "It is far too long to hold their attention and young children especially tend to become fidgety, which can be distracting for your guests."
Ring Bearer or Flower Girl Alternatives
"If the thought of an uncooperative toddler invokes stress for you or your fiancé, remember you do not have to fill these roles with children," says Miller. Kids may be the norm, but you can definitely assign the role of ring bearer and flower girl to an adult. It's a good solution if you prefer to have a ceremony that's adults-only or have adult loved ones you wish to include in the wedding party. Aunts, uncles, and grandparents can be flower women and ring bearers! "It's a wonderful way to make them feel like they are an important part of your special day," says Miller. And it's practically guaranteed that they'll walk down the aisle, sans tantrums.
This is also a great way to incorporate your pets, like in these uber-cute weddings where couples' dogs have carried the rings down the aisle.
Plus, grandparents definitely garner the same reaction from your guests as toddlers. It's absolutely heartwarming to watch, especially when they're sprinkling petals along the way. Just remember to let your grandparents sit along the first few rows, so they don't have to stand during the ceremony like the rest of your entourage. If necessary, you can even partner your grandparent with someone from your wedding party to serve as an escort during the processional. You can definitely play around here. Miller shares a couple of creative ideas she's seen, including grown men tossing petals from fanny packs and a father-daughter flower duo that danced down the aisle.