Tips for First-Time Flower Girls

Cute as a button, but not without some dos and don'ts. Here's the nitty gritty.
by The Knot
Flower girls before woodland wedding
Alissa Saylor Photography

Flower Girl Duties in Detail

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 favorite little person feel a part of it all. Here's an explanation of her role and tips to help make it easy.

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 honor, scattering rose petals along the bridal 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 aforementioned 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 definitely 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.

Practicing 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 behavior. Toddlers will respond better to these offers if there’s a visual reminder at the front of the aisle. Asking your maid of honor 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.

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.

Need inspiration for your flower girl’s look? Here are some of the sweetest dresses anywhere

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