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Flower Girl and Ring Bearer Etiquette

Q. Can I have flower girls in lieu of bridesmaids?

A: How darling! In Victorian England, having child attendants was all the rage, and it's still a popular British custom. Your only problem? Making sure that the women (or men) close to you are still on board to help out with pre-wedding tasks, throwing a shower, and much more. Even the cutest flower girls in the world can't provide you with the help you'll need for this event. So if you go the flower girl route, make sure to publicly thank the fairy godmothers who help to make your wedding happen (in the program or at the reception) and throw in a nice gift, too.

Q. My daughter is a flower girl in my sister's wedding. We've had conversations about her attire, but it's unclear who's paying. I want her to look picture perfect, too, but what's the deal?

A. Usually, child attendants' parents pay for their clothes, but the bride and groom will sometimes purchase a flower girl's dress (or a ring bearer's adorable little suit) as a gift. Ask your sister in plain terms, so that there are no misunderstandings. If they're receptive, maybe you can split it, or, you pay for dress, they pay for accessories and shoes. Just keep in mind that, like bridesmaids and groomsmen, agreeing to be in the wedding generally means you're willing to purchase an outfit. So, we say go for a multi-purpose gown (the wedding, birthday parties, holidays, etc.). Paying for your childs outfit is not in lieu of a wedding gift(s). So isn't it great our dresses are so inexpensive?

Q. There's some concern about inviting our 6-year-old flower girl (a niece) and 4-year-old ring bearer (a nephew) to the rehearsal dinner, especially since the reservation is for 8pm. My fiance's mother does not want to invite them to the dinner because they are so young; my parents disagree -- they are part of the wedding party. I can understand both points of view, but I don't know what we would do with them after the rehearsal. Who makes the call? The host (my fiance's mom) or the couple?

A. There's no strict etiquette -- whether or not child attendants are invited to the rehearsal dinner is up to you ("you" meaning the couple and the hosts of the party, often the groom's parents). It is appropriate to invite her to the dinner, since she will be at the rehearsal and they are part of the wedding party -- especially if their parents will be there, too! Perhaps you and your fiance should try to talk about this issue with his mom to see if you can change her mind. It might be a something very logical. Is your wedding the next day? If so, let the poor child sleep! You will be sorry if you don't! Check in with the parents, too. Maybe they already have a plan (i.e., a babysitter is coming to pick them up at 9:30).

Q. I'm a bridesmaid, and the bride's having her baby sister as the flower girl. I mean, she's cute, but I really don't want to have to be in charge of policing a 4-year-old's every move. Is "babysitting" her one of my duties?

A. Yes and no. For the day of the wedding, the bride may ask you to check her sister's appearance before she goes down the aisle, smooth her dress, fix her hair wreath, etc. You might also have to take her to the restroom a couple of times. You can handle this, we know you can! As for the reception, we think you're off the hook. Parents will probably take charge, anyway. When it comes to the party, you should be free to run with an older crowd. But, ask what the expectations of the bride are first. But, yes during the ceremony, if you've been asked, you must be someone the bride trusts, so be honored!

Q. Does the flower girl or ring bearer stand in the receiving line?

A. Not usually, but if she's daughter or son to one of the newlyweds, then they should definitely be included. This is a big day for them, too. Don't forget her/him.

Q. I'm one of 6 bridesmaids, and I was wondering what the seating at the head table should be. In addition to the 12 attendants (6 guys for the 6 girls), there are two 5-year-old flower girls. Is it proper for the girls to sit with us or should be directed to sit with their parents?

A. It's not up to anyone in the the wedding party to decide where anyone's going to sit at the reception -- only the bride and groom can say that. And it really would go back to what they gave the caterer or event planner for seating arrangements. Still, the young children in the wedding party (under 12) generally sit with their parents at the reception. Its only fair because the parents are the ones who know what they will and will not eat.

Are the flower girls or ring bearers daughters or sons to the bride or groom? If that's the case, then you should count on sharing table space with their little ones and helping out as much as you can! Remember, this is only one day, try to help make it as smooth as possible.

About the Author: Sally Hudson is a designer having a blend of French, British and US taste. She designs and sells blended design collection of Flower Girl Dress.on his online store at

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