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 oooh 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.
Flower Girl Wedding Day Duties
The flower girl is usually a close relative or friend of the bride or groom. In addition to her ceremonial duties and other responsibilities, she will be expected to be in some wedding photographs, either before or after the ceremony.
Walking Down the Aisle
The flower girl's appearance signals the bride's arrival on the wedding day. She is to walk behind or with the maid of honor, but before the bride. If there is a ring bearer, she may walk down the aisle at his side. Alternatively, she may walk with other flower girls, between two ring bearers, pulling a wedding wagon with younger children, or walk single file. In most cases, she'll strew flower petals (real or faux) along the aisle for the bride's service. However, she might also be asked to:
- Pull streamers
- Blow bubbles
- Carry a sign
- Hold balloons
- Carry a small bouquet or nosegay
While most of the bridal party is expected to stand at the bride's side during the ceremony, it's rather unreasonable to expect a young child to do so, especially if it's a long ceremony. Designate one of the bridesmaids to keep an eye on her and hold her hand if needed. If she starts fidgeting or misbehaving, the bridesmaid should bring her to her parent's pew, where she should sit for the duration. She's not required to walk back up the aisle in the recessional, though many do.
Reception duties vary depending on the age of the flower girl and what she and her parents are comfortable with her participating in. Options include:
- The flower girl may be announced as part of the grand entrance if she wants to participate.
- The flower girl should be seated at either the head table or with her parents at a reserved table near the head table for dinner.
- She may partake in the bridal party dance and any other dancing throughout the evening.
- Some brides request that young ladies also come forward for the bouquet toss.
Be flexible and leave it up to her and her parents to determine what she participates in and how long they stay at the reception.
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 colors 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.
- Jewelry 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.
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.
Flower Girl Gifts of Appreciation
When choosing bridal party gifts, don't forget something for the flower girl. Jewelry, 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.