Full Guide to Children’s Roles at Weddings: Flower Girls, Page Boys and More
Children are great fun to have at your wedding. They fill the day with laughter, fun and adorable moments (not to mention great candid photographs). If you have nieces and nephews, young siblings or cousins, or children of your own, there’s no better honour than involving them in the wedding party itself.
But how to do it? There are many roles available for children at weddings. This guide will talk you through every role available for little ones on your big day, from babies all the way up to older teenagers.
Remember that you don’t have to include any of these roles in your wedding – it’s entirely up to you. This article is merely intended to give you ideas and inspiration. Feel free to do things exactly how you like at your own wedding!
Roles for Younger Children at Weddings
Babies, toddlers and little kids make adorable additions to the wedding party, and look ridiculously cute in photos. Though they may not quite be ready for real responsibility (such as being an usher or a bridesmaid), there are a number of roles suitable for them.
A flower girl is a role designed for young girls aged between 3 and 8. The flower girl’s dress is typically white or ivory (the colour of the wedding dress), and may feature a ribbon or sash in one of the main wedding colours. The flower girl may also wear flowers in her hair, or a floral headband.
The flower girl usually carries a basket of petals down the aisle (real or artificial), which she scatters as she walks. If your venue doesn’t allow this, she could alternatively carry a mini bouquet, a flower wand, or a bottle of bubbles to blow instead.
Baby Flower Girl
A baby flower girl is usually a baby or toddler under the age of 3. Rather than scattering petals (which may require too much coordination or concentration), a baby flower girl may hold a single flower or a flower wand – or simply wear a flower crown if she’s too young to carry something. If she can’t yet walk unaided, the baby flower girl can ride down the aisle in a decorative wooden cart.
A ring bearer is usually a young child, between the ages of 3 and 8. It’s their job to carry the wedding rings down the aisle, supported on a wedding ring pillow or box. The ring bearer is typically a boy, dressed in a suit, or shirt with formal trousers. He is usually the first one to walk down the aisle, alongside the flower girl(s).
Importantly, if your ring bearer is a very young child, it’s a good idea to give them prop or fake rings to carry. You don’t want to run the risk of them dropping, losing or damaging the real rings.
Baby Ring Bearer
Baby ring bearers, like baby flower girls, are just smaller and cuter versions of their older counterparts. They may be pulled along the aisle in a wooden cart if they are too young to walk. The title of ring bearer is mostly honorary at this age – it’s not a good idea to give baby or toddler rings to carry, whether real or fake (as they could be a choking hazard). However, you could give the baby a larger prop to symbolise the wedding rings (such as a silver-coloured teething ring).
Page Boy / Train Bearer
The role of ‘page boy’, historically, was a train bearer: a young boy, between the ages of 3 and 8, who would hold the bride’s train up as she walks down the aisle (to avoid it dragging along the floor and getting dirty).
Although most modern wedding dresses don’t have long trains anymore, you can still have a page boy, but his job will simply be to walk down the aisle alongside the flower girls and bridesmaids, and look adorable in a mini suit.
Another role suitable for young children, sign bearers have one simple job: to walk down the aisle carrying a sign with a cute message on it, such as “here comes the bride”. The sign may be held in the hand, or placed around the neck with string. There’s a plethora of wedding signs available – you could even make your own!
Roles for Older Children at Weddings
As soon as most children hit the age of 7 or 8, they may feel a little patronised if given the title of ‘page boy’, ‘ring bearer’ or ‘flower girl’. Older children and young teenagers are generally old enough to take on more mature roles, even if they aren’t quite ready for adult responsibilities. Here are some potential roles for older children at weddings.
A junior bridesmaid is usually aged between 8 and 15. Once the child hits 16, she will generally protest to the title of ‘junior’. In fact, at many U.K. weddings, no distinction is made between younger and older bridesmaids – they’re all simply called ‘bridesmaids’.
Unlike flower girls, junior bridesmaids don’t typically wear white. Instead, they wear the same colour as the adult bridesmaids. They may even wear the exact same dress, if you can find it in a child’s size.
Junior bridesmaids generally don’t attend the hen party (as these usually involve drinking and other adult activities). However, still get ready with the adult bridesmaids on the morning of the wedding, and walk down the aisle with them.
Junior Usher / Junior Groomsman
A junior usher is a boy who is too old for the role of page boy or ring bearer, but still wishes to be in the wedding party. Like junior bridesmaids, junior ushers tend to be between the ages of 8 and 15 (after which they are simply ushers).
A junior usher carries out all the same duties as an usher, with the exception of attending/organising the stag party. He normally wears a scaled-down version of the ushers’ suits, though he may wear a waistcoat instead of a suit jacket.
Junior ushers may also be called junior groomsmen at some weddings. This title is more common in the U.S. than the U.K., but it is slowly becoming more popular here.
A smaller (but still important) role, the bouquet bearer has one simple task: to hold the bride’s bouquet at the altar (or wherever the ceremony is taking place), while the bride is busy saying her vows. This job is traditionally carried out by a bridesmaid or junior bridesmaid, but there’s no reason why a boy couldn’t do it.
This job is certainly best suited for older children, rather than very young kids – the bouquet could easily get squashed, crushed or dropped if left in the hands of a toddler!
Guest Book Attendant
The guest book attendant’s job is to stand next to the wedding guest book, which is normally situated somewhere near the entrance of the ceremony venue or reception venue. As guests approach, the guest book attendant asks them to sign the book. This is a perfect role for an older child that can be trusted to stay in one place without getting distracted and running off.
If you have a child in your wedding party that is a good reader, and confident enough to stand up and speak in public, they may love playing the role of ceremony reader. This involves standing up during the ceremony and reading something aloud, such as a passage from a religious book, a poem, a quote or a short story. Note that religious readings aren’t permitted if you’re having a civil ceremony.
Some wedding ceremonies, particularly church ceremonies, may involve candles. This may be lit at the altar (or equivalent), positioned along the aisle, or be carried down the aisle. A sensible older child, that can be trusted with fire, may be allowed to carry or light the candles as part of their role in the wedding.
Traditionally, the bride is escorted down the aisle by her father (or step-father). However, if your father is no longer living or will not be at the wedding for whatever reason, your son or daughter could guide you down the aisle instead. It’s a very important role, but as it doesn’t involve any complicated responsibilities or handling anything fragile, it’s definitely suitable for children.
Maid of Honour
The maid of honour is usually an adult woman, over the age of 18 and unmarried (if she’s married, she’s called the matron of honour). She is usually the bride’s sister or best friend, and may also be known as the ‘chief bridesmaid’. However, if the most important lady in your life happens to be under 18 (e.g. your daughter) there’s no reason why the title of ‘maid of honour’ can’t be hers.
Similarly, although the best man is usually an adult (the groom’s brother or best friend), he doesn’t have to be. If the most important lad in the groom’s life is his younger brother or son, he can certainly be given the title of best man. However, the typical best man duties (such as organising the stag party) should be delegated to an adult groomsman.