Classic Wedding Bride Posed with Flower Girls and Ring Bearer

Photo: Pasha Belman Photography

We can probably all agree that watching a little flower girl and ring bearer stroll (or inch shyly!) down the aisle at a wedding is the cutest part of the day. But how does a couple decide which children get that honor? And what about the kids who don’t get picked?

Read on to figure out exactly how to choose your flower girl and ring bearer.

What’s the right age range for a flower girl and ring bearer?

According to etiquette expert Anna Post, flower girls and ring bearers are usually between the ages of 3 and 7. Younger children are more likely to become shy and nervous at the wedding, though, so keep that in mind as you’re making your decision. Parents of particularly young children should be seated near the front of the venue on the aisle, so that kids can see mom or dad while processing down the aisle. Kids can always sit with their parents after they’ve completed their duties, rather than standing with the rest of the wedding party where they might become restless.

If there are lots of kids in our life, how do we decide which ones get to participate?

If the choice isn’t obvious — i.e. you have your own children, or there are a couple of nieces or nephews you’re particularly close to — then selecting your littlest attendants might pose a bit of a challenge. You can always include more than two children in your wedding party — have an older child pull two or three little ones in a wagon, for example, or have one attendant throw petals while the other carries the bride’s train. But if you’re committed to selecting just two kids, consider ages and personalities. Will your best friend’s son be so shy he hides under a pew? Will your brother’s daughter dance her way down the aisle, delighting everyone? Think about the quirks and traits of the kids you know and how they might fit into your wedding-day picture.

You might also want to consider whether or not there are kids in your life who have been included in weddings before. If you have a niece who’s been a flower girl three times, and a friend’s daughter who has never been in a wedding, consider asking the friend’s daughter if she’d like to take part.

Is there a way to make the other kids at our wedding feel special?

Absolutely! If there are kids in your life who are special to you but won’t be able to participate in the actual wedding ceremony, consider giving them each a flower crown, corsage, or boutonniere to wear throughout the day. That way they know they’re important and still get to show off to their friends. You can also assign slightly older children the roles of usher and junior attendant, and dress them slightly differently from the flower girl and ring bearer.

Some couples have even had “kid parades,” where all the child guests at the wedding get to process down the aisle with noisemakers. You’ll either think this is a fun and whimsical idea, or a total nightmare — but it’s always an option!

How do we ask the flower girl and ring bearer to participate?

You’ll obviously need to get permission from their parents first, but it’s a sweet gesture to send a card and maybe a treat to your child attendants asking them to participate in your wedding. When you speak to their parents, don’t forget to discuss outfit requirements, and who is expected to pick up the tab on formalwear.

Do we have to choose a girl and boy?

Definitely not! The roles of flower girl and ring bearer have traditionally been gender segregated, but you can absolutely break the rules. Boys can toss flower petals, girls can carry the rings, or they can do something completely different—like carry pinwheels, signs, or ribbon wands down the aisle.