Traditionally, weddings usually consist of one flower girl and one ring bearer. These children are most often from the bride’s side of the family and are children between about three to ten years of age.
But what if you have a large family and lots of friends with young children? What if you wish to include your fiancée’s side of the family as well? Or perhaps you don’t want to cut out including your friends and family that are more in their “tweens”, simply because they’re older than the traditional flower girl and ring bearer age.
Everything about wedding traditions is changing, and the roles of the wedding party are no exception. This opens up new opportunity to include everyone, decreasing the chances of hurt feelings in the family.
Alternative roles for your tiny tots are abundant. You just need to be creative! Think outside the basket or pillow and go for some of these fun and equally adorable ideas. This way, everyone has something to contribute.
Give small bouquets or individual flowers to one or two of the girls to be carried down the aisle and given to the mother of the bride and the mother of the groom.
Make older children junior bridesmaids or groomsmen instead of flower girls and ring bearers.
Ask a couple of girls to carry your train behind you instead of flowers in front of you.
Girls can carry baskets of flowers to be handed out to guests as they come up the aisle. This is usually best done with older girls who won’t be as easily distracted or as likely to “chicken out”.
Ask children to pass out programs, bird seeds, scroll, bubbles, or other hand-outs either before or after the ceremony.
Don’t forget the pets! You can certainly include the family dog as a ring bearer or “best dog.” Just make sure if you’re actually going to tie rings to him/her that someone is responsible for handling the dog so there are no runaway rings! Also, it’s best to be sure the dog is friendly and can handle being in a large crowd.
If you can’t help but include teeny tiny little tots that won’t be able to stand up or walk long enough to make it down the aisle themselves, why not ask older children to pull them down the aisle in a decorated wagon? This is sure to get plenty of “awwww… “
One hot new trend is for children to carry a sign as they walk down the aisle ahead of you. “Here Comes the Bride” is a popular one. After the ceremony, they can follow you with “Just Married”!
If you do wish to incorporate more than one ring bearer but still like the traditional ring on a pillow idea, why not have one little guy carry the bride’s rings and another little guy carry the groom’s ring?
Another popular new trend, usually best for outdoor weddings, is for little ones to blow bubbles to announce the entrance of the bride. For indoor weddings, the ringing of bells is also popular.
If you think your little ones are best walking down the aisle and just looking cute, rather than performing a task, there are some great alternatives so that they’re at least not empty-handed:
- Flower Balls
- Bibles or books
- Artificial bird’s nests with birds
You don’t even need to have the same amount of boys and girls, or the same amount of children from each side of the family. Some wedding parties don’t even ask them all to wear the same dress or suit. The more children you’re including, the more difficult it can be to coordinate the parents of those children and the little tykes themselves for shopping for their wedding day wares as well as fittings, etc. And kids grow so fast, you may find yourself with a bunch of outgrown dresses and tuxes by the time the wedding comes around!
Perhaps set a color such as all ivory or all white and play around with accessories like bow ties and headpieces. Allowing some individuality may make it more comfortable for the little ones and affordable for the parents. The parents will appreciate this gesture.
Most of the time flower girls and ring bearers are just for show. Grown-up wedding attendants can carry the rings themselves. But you’d be missing out on some serious adorability by cutting out the roles of your beloved tots.
Alternatives are good to incorporate everyone. And if someone does “chicken out” or just tire out before their big moment arrives, no sweat! You’ll still get your rings and there will still be plenty of photo opportunities with either the pouty little one refusing to perform (always good to show them later after they’ve grown), or the sweetie pie that fell asleep at the alter or in Mommy’s arms before the “I Do’s”.