Having a flower girl as part of the wedding party dates back to the Victorian Era or earlier. The original intention was to use her as a way to provide entertainment to wedding guests who would ooh and aah as she walked down the aisle. These days her main purpose might not be to entertain, but guests are still delighted when she walks before the bride.
What’s the flower girl’s primary role? To be darling, of course. But rosy cheeks and ribbons aside, her cruise down the aisle is no small feat. Having a flower girl is optional, but it’s a nice way to make a favourite little person feel a part of it all. Here’s an explanation of her role and tips to help make it easy.
The role of a flower girl is mostly just to look super adorable walking down the aisle and in your wedding photos. It’s a lovely way to include the younger children that are close to you on your wedding day.
Typically couples choose to have one flower girl on their wedding day, but if your bridesmaids have children or you have a few nieces that you would like to include in your big day, then there’s nothing to say you can’t have more than one.
Table of Contents
- 1 Picking your little lady
- 2 Say yes to (her little) dress
- 3 Understand her duties
- 4 What does the flower girl do?
- 5 Rehearsing with your flower girl
- 6 Things to Consider When Selecting Flowers for Your Flower Girls
- 7 Tips for coping with flower girl nerves:
- 8 Modernizing the Flower Girl Role
- 9 Flower Girl Traditions
- 10 Practising the Buddy System
- 11 Pep Talks and Presents
- 12 Duties Before the Big Day
- 13 Flower Girl Age Recommendation
- 14 Flower Girl Gifts of Appreciation
- 15 Keep Kids Busy
- 16 Wedding Flower Girl Fashion
Picking your little lady
First things, first! Since your flower girl is (presumably) a young child, be sure to ask her parents first, especially since they will assume the costs of her flower girl dress and accessories. They will also be able to gauge if their little one is up to the task of walking down the aisle (sometimes, a young child might find all that attention a bit too overwhelming). Once you get the go-ahead from them, ask your prospective flower girl if she’ll do you the honour of being in your wedding. Consider giving her a small gift, like this picture book or this bride bear!
Say yes to (her little) dress
As the bride, you get to select the flower girl’s outfit and accessories. However, it’s always good to be mindful of budget and comfort–luckily, there are tons of adorable flower girl dresses out there at a range of prices! Prepare to start drooling because flower girl dresses are the cutest things ever! Sometimes, flower girl dresses take quite a bit of lead time so start your search early and let her parents know as soon as you decide on a style (and also let them know when they need to order it by). When it comes to sizing your flower girl, try to factor in a little room for growth. If she’s in between sizes, go up a size. In addition, you also get to choose her basket, as you’ll want to coordinate it with your wedding day style. You cover any floral aspects (like the petals that go in the basket or a flower crown) though you might want to consider gifting the basket and any little jewellery you want her to wear to her as part of her wedding day thank-you present!
Understand her duties
Being a flower girl is a big job for such little girls! There’s more to it than meets the eye. Typically, your flower girl will get ready with you and your bridesmaids. You’ll probably want to have her hair done professionally in a cute, age-appropriate style. Then, she will participate in bridal photos with you and the other bridesmaids. At the wedding, she will walk down the aisle, often preceding you. She will carry her basket and sprinkle petals onto the ground. Of course, she doesn’t have to hold a basket. You can give her a sign that says “HERE COMES THE BRIDE”, a pompadour, mini-bouquet…anything that speaks to you! Once she arrives at the end of the aisle, you’ll probably want to have her sit down with her parents–standing through service is a lot for a tiny tot. Afterwards, she’ll need to stay nearby for photos with you and your new Mr.
What does the flower girl do?
Every bride has her own ideas about what they would like their flower girl to do, but usually, she walks down the aisle in front of the bride or maid of honour scattering rose petals in their path. Many venues no longer allow petals to be strewn on the floor so modern flower girls often simply carry a basket of flowers or a miniature bouquet.
Once the flower girl has walked down the aisle, her main duties are looking adorable and starring in some of the wedding photos. Older flower girls may stand at the altar with the bridesmaid, while younger ones tend to sit with their parents or grandparents during the ceremony.
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Rehearsing with your flower girl
Although your flower girl might be involved in the wedding rehearsal, so she knows when and how she needs to walk down the aisle, it is unlikely you will have a spare basket of rose petals for her to practice with.
Sit down with her and explain how you would like her to scatter the petals, perhaps a small handful of four or five petals with each step she takes, so you don’t end up with all the petals at the entrance and none near the altar. Ask her parents to practise this with her in the lead up to the wedding.
Walking down the aisle may sound simple enough, but your flower girl will also need to practise her processional pace; otherwise, in the excitement of the moment, you may find her hurtling headlong down the aisle. She will need to practise walking in her dress which may be longer or stiffer than she’s used to, and also walking with her basket, which may be quite heavy for her small arms.
Things to Consider When Selecting Flowers for Your Flower Girls
When brides tell me they have flowers, girls, I always ask, if we are talking about a traditional flower girl or a junior bride’s maid. About 50% of the time, my brides will indicate that they are really talking about a junior bride’s maid. In that event, it is probably more appropriate to provide them with a miniature bouquet like the rest of the bridal party.
In the case of a traditional flower girl, do not assume she would be able to throw flower petals. Many churches and venues have banned the throwing of petals. Some ban only real petals but will allow silk petals. Because the rules vary from place to place, it is best to ask. In the event you can throw petals, they are fairly inexpensive to purchase. A wedding designer can create a basket for the flower girl decorated to match your wedding, or you can find one you like from many online sources.
If you are not allowed to throw petals, you do have some alternatives. If the flower girl is dressed as the bride, a small bouquet that mirrors the bridal bouquet would be appropriate. If the flower girl is dressed like the wedding party, then a small bouquet similar to the wedding party would be an option.
For Pompadour Balls: these are very popular choices for flower girls. But do not think they are an inexpensive choice. They can, and do, cost as much as an attendant’s bouquet. The amount and type of flowers needed to make a tight ball, determine the price.
Keep in mind flower girls, like little ring bearers can be unpredictable. I have seen children refuse to go down the aisle. I have seen flower girls violently swing a very ornate Pompadour Balls from one end of the church to the other. And while I know, we make ours in such a way that they will not come apart, and I still hold my breath when I see them aloft. My point is when dealing with children, you want to choose something appropriate for your wedding and that also works for them.
Tips for coping with flower girl nerves:
- Try having her parents or grandparents sitting near the front of the ceremony on the aisle so that she can see them as she walks along. They can smile and encourage her if she seems to be faltering.
- Have the flower girl walk in front of the maid of honour instead of the bride. This means that the maid of honour can escort the flower girl if she gets last-minute stage fright.
- If you really want an aisle full of petals to have an adult scatter an even layer just before the bridal party arrives. Your flower girl can still sprinkle a few petals on top, but she’s not responsible for the overall look.
- If your flower girl isn’t actually scattering petals, you could suggest she carries her favourite doll or teddy bear down the aisle, perhaps dressed in a special coordinating wedding outfit. Little girls tend to be much braver with a teddy by their side.
- Having two flower girls to walk together, or having the flower girl and page boy walk down the aisle at the same time can really increase their confidence.
- Make sure your flower girl has met and got to know your bridesmaids in the run-up to the wedding, so there are familiar faces around. Make sure you spend at least a few minutes with her before the ceremony, so she feels she is a special part of your day.
- Have something non-messy to occupy your flower girls just before the ceremony, so there isn’t time for nerves to build up. This is a great time to give her a thank you gift as it will provide a distraction, but just make sure she has somewhere safe to keep it.
Modernizing the Flower Girl Role
In Roman times, flower girls would precede the bride as she walked down the aisle, scattering herbs and flowers to symbolize fertility and new beginnings. Nowadays, the wedding flower girl is a sweet representation of family and community. Involving the next generation in your ceremony is a great way to bring everyone together – after all, little ones have a way of uniting new families and friends.
While the flower girl role has traditionally been reserved for toddlers and little girls, modern weddings have seen an evolution of the position. Some couples ask their beloved grandmothers to serve as flower girls. Others train their dogs to walk down the aisle with a bouquet. There’s truly no limit to the modern-day flower girl role!
Flower Girl Traditions
The flower girl, usually an adorable little lady aged three to eight, proceeds down the aisle just before the maid of honour, scattering rose petals along the bridle path. She follows the ring bearer (if there is one), and sometimes she will even precede the bride. Traditionally, she totes a basket full of petals, but other alternatives include wrapped candies or confetti. Also, instead of scattering as mentioned above items, she can carry a single bloom, a pomander (a lush ball of flowers), or blow bubbles.
If some bridesmaids are skittish about the processional, then the flower girl is going to be a little spooked. To communicate the importance of her role, while minimizing the pressure, the bride should explain the flower girl’s duties to her well in advance. The parents should follow up with pep talks and rehearsals.
Practising the Buddy System
Never underestimate the power of the buddy system. We love the idea of having two flower girls or pairing up ring bearer and flower girl so that they can proceed together, side by side. Partnering will give them added confidence. There’s no need to limit the age of the flower girls, either. If you have a young flower girl in mind for your ceremony, ask their parents about the role. There’s nothing wrong with mom or dad walking down the aisle with the flower girl as she tosses petals! Younger children often struggle to understand the weight of their roles, so having parents close at hand will keep the risk of a tantrum to a minimum.
If possible, arrange to have the flower girl attend the shower and/or the bridesmaids’ lunch (if the bride is having one) to boost her comfort level around the other (bigger) bridal attendants. Seeing friendly, familiar faces on the big day will help to ease any anxiety.
Seat the flower girl’s parents toward the front of the ceremony so she can focus on them and be encouraged by their smiles of reassurance. The very young flower girl should sit with her parents after she walks; poised little ladies may stand at the altar with the other bridal attendants.
Pep Talks and Presents
For particularly young flower girls, you could offer up a treat in exchange for good behaviour. Toddlers will respond better to these offers if there’s a visual reminder at the front of the aisle. Asking your maid of honour to hold a piece of candy or special gift is a great way to entice your flower girl down the aisle.
Older flower girls, on the other hand, may be mature enough to grasp the delayed gratification of a post-wedding treat. Promise them a small toy or gift after they complete their duties, and ask their parents to be in charge of doling out the goods at the reception. Keep it all in perspective – children always bring some level of spontaneity and unpredictability to wedding ceremonies.
Duties Before the Big Day
While most brides wonder about the flower girl’s duties on the wedding day, they often forget there are a few things to do first that come with the flower girl role that they need to inform her parents of when asking her to partake in the wedding.
Gather Dress and Accessories
Parents or the couple will help gather her attire and accessories prior to the wedding day. In most cases the flower girl will wear a miniature version of the bride or bridesmaids’ dresses, often styled appropriately for her size and age. If no matching version is available, you can consider a less expensive flower girl dress in the same colours as the bridesmaids or a simple white party dress.
- White tights and age-appropriate shoes can be worn.
- Ballerina flats or Mary Janes dyed to match the dress are a good choice.
- Jewellery should be simple; keep it delicate and age-appropriate.
- Flower girl hair may be up or down; she may wear a tiara, barrettes, or even flowers.
- Flower girls are smiling with bride outdoors.
Attend the Wedding Rehearsal
The flower girl and her parents should attend the wedding rehearsal, so she knows what to do on the big day. The flower girl and her parents should also be invited to the rehearsal dinner. If the evening gets late, however, couples should not expect them to stay for the entire event.
Flower Girl Age Recommendation
The flower girl is generally between the age of three and eight. Keep in mind, however, that the younger she is, the less likely she is to stay focused. Young children at weddings are unpredictable so discuss with her parents whether they feel she can handle the responsibilities. While most of the time there is nothing to worry about, you should be prepared for all likelihoods.
Check out our post on What can brides/bridesmaids carry besides flowers?
Flower Girl Gifts of Appreciation
When choosing bridal party gifts, don’t forget something for the flower girl. Jewellery, music boxes, bridal dolls, or even fun games and toys are all wonderful ways to thank the special girl for partaking in your wedding day.
Keep Kids Busy
Once your flower girl has completed her duties, it’s a good idea to have toys or games to keep her occupied during the ceremony. This is especially true for toddlers who have little concept of what is going on around them. Have snacks on hand to keep mouths full, and consider keeping a tablet or phone nearby for entertainment. When crying erupts, you’ll be glad you had a backup plan.
Wedding Flower Girl Fashion
Flower girls aren’t limited to wearing mini replicas of the bride’s dress. Tea-length white dresses with a bonnet or satin bow are standard and sweet, but there are many little-girl looks to choose from.
Keep in mind that having children in the ceremony means there’s only so much one can control. Rest assured that whatever the flower girl does (cries, drops the basket, lifts up her dress), her personality and preciousness will make the guests smile.