Bridal Party Blossoms:

Flower girls and

Junior Bridesmaids

By the Bridal News Network


(BNN) Brides have so many adored little girls in their lives that they often choose more than one flower girl. In fact, we’re now seeing groups of flower girls including all of the bride and groom’s nieces – which eliminates any concern of favoritism. And it’s a precious scene when five or six little ones in white party dresses with pink sashes make their way down the aisle preceding the bride.

Etiquette standards suggest that girls between the ages of 4 and 7 are named flower girls, while girls ages 8 to 14 who are too old to be flower girls yet too young to be bridesmaids are named junior bridesmaids. (Their responsibilities are quite similar, except that the junior bridesmaids don’t scatter flower petals and they often stand with the bridal party during the ceremony while the flower girls sit with their parents.) Of course, as the bride, you might decide that 16 is an appropriate age for the title of junior bridesmaid, and that 3 is an acceptable age for your niece to be a flower girl. All roles are granted according to each girl’s maturity level – we’ve all seen some well-behaved three year-olds, and we’ve also seen some 8 year-olds who act like 2 year-olds. So it’s purely a matter of “Can this child accept the responsibility?”

Luckily, the responsibilities are few, and tasks are short in duration. Kids don’t have long attention spans, so the brief nature of each task in a wedding day is often very do-able for even the youngest flower girl. Wedding expert Sharon Naylor, author of thirty-four wedding books including The Bridesmaid Handbook (below) and The Essential Guide to Wedding Etiquette (both Sourcebooks, 2005) gives a lineup of the responsibilities of today’s modern flower girl:

Before the Wedding Day

  • Participate in choosing her dress for the wedding day, along with any sash, shoes or accessories.
  • Together with her parents, attend any pre-wedding parties and showers. Her name is added to the parents’ card for any gifts.
  • Participate in the planning for bridal showers, often given kid-friendly crafts like helping to assemble the favors.
  • Attend the rehearsal and learn her tasks, then attend the rehearsal dinner.

On the Wedding Day

  • Together with her parents, arrive at the location where the bride and bridesmaids will prepare for the wedding.
  • Have her hair styled for the wedding.
  • Participates in the pre-wedding photo session.
  • Walk in the processional immediately preceding the bride. She may be asked to sprinkle rose petals during her walk, or if the site forbids petal-sprinkling, she may simply carry a nosegay of flowers.
  • Sit with her parents or stand up with the rest of the bridal party.
  • Participate in the recessional, but may be excused from the receiving line.
  • Join the bride and groom and bridal party for post-wedding photos.
  • Enter the reception hall when announced by name.
  • Participate in the first dance of the bridal party, often dancing with a father if there is no ring bearer for her to dance with.
  • Be included by name on the parents’ wedding gift to the couple.
  • If the wedding is a late-night affair, the flower girls may be taken to the babysitting room where the other kids are given food and entertained such as watching a movie or playing video games. Most child attendants, especially when other guests are not allowed to bring their kids to the reception, prefer to be in the company of other kids, rather than ‘stuck’ at the adults-only reception. If they will attend the reception fully, they are seated at either a kiddie table or with their parents.

It’s a wonderful honor for the little girls and budding daughters to be included in a bridal party, and many parents love it when their precious offspring are asked to be flower girls and junior bridesmaids. That’s a lasting memory, sometimes a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity!