Ring security, puppy wranglers, and train conductors: Alternative wedding party roles for kids

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Kelsey & Elias' flower girls. Photo by Rachel May Photography

We recently heard about a bride with five sisters, ranging in age from infant to adult, all needing a role in her wedding party. We're fans of just having as many bridesmaids, junior bridesmaids, flower girls, ring bears, flower grandmas, adult male flower girls, bell ringers, and aisle walkers as you like (WHEW!), so we're all for making this way less of a stress than it would be otherwise. Or, if you're looking for beautiful simplicity, consider having no wedding party, and nobody gets left out.

But if you're going for inclusion, here are some alternative wedding party roles for kids we'd recommend, AND how it's been done traditionally, just for reference. Our advice? Include whoever you want and enjoy seeing them all honor your love.

Here's a typical age-to-role breakdown, just so we know how it's been traditionally done and what guest parents may be expecting so you can dodge any questions:

  • 3 to 6: flower girls, ring-bearers, sign-carriers, and bell-ringers
  • 7 to 10: candle-bearers, prayer book-carriers, handing out programs or flowers, and guestbook greeters
  • 11 to 15: junior bridesmaids and junior ushers/groomsmen

These ages are completely subjective, and there are no rules on how many of each you can include. But at least we know what might be expected by guest parents of these kiddos. Here are some other ideas:

Sign carriers

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Photo by Rosalie Hincks Photography

Have kids lead you into the ceremony carrying funny signs (preferably not the groom-runs-away kind, though).

Ring security

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Rebecca and Isaac's ring detail. Photo by Emily West and Megan Dailey

Maybe your ring bearers are serious about this ring safety business… or even need their own ring security detail (offering even more roles for kids)?

Flower carriers/bouquet creators

In addition to decorative petal pushers, you could have some of the children create your bouquet for you. Here's how we've seen it done with guests before. Just adapt it to the kids, and you're a go!

Distribution experts

Wedding party roles for kids from @offbeatbride
Reinesha and Devan's superhero bubble bearer. Photo by Jacquelyn Philips Photography

Kids can be super helpful by helping to pass out favors, tossing items (like lavender, bird seed, etc.), bubbles, and programs.

Train conductors

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Asha's train's getting away! Photo by Jennifer Davis

Have a long dress train? Have a couple of kids help you carry your train down the aisle. Maybe have them wash their paws first, just in case.

Readers

Older children can be super sweet as readers during the ceremony. We've even collected our favorite readings from kids books to make this even more adorable.

Puppy wranglers

Dog in a lion costume on @offbeatbride
Stephanie and Gregg's dog lion. Photo by Sarah Babcock Studio

Have a responsible child walk your pooch down the aisle and keep him entertained during the ceremony. This isn't only a kick-ass job, but a super useful one.

Gift watcher

An older child or teenager could be put in charge of keeping an eye on the gift table and making sure the gifts get where they need to go. Just make sure the gifts get moved swiftly so they aren't tied to that table for too long. Hey, there's dancing and cake to be had!

Escorting the Bride

Son walks bride down the aisle on @offbeatbride
Virginia and her son. Photo by Summer Shea Photography

The most important job of all might just be when you get to escort the bride down the aisle, as Virginia's son did at her wedding. Obviously this one is pretty specific, but for your own kids, it might be the winning role.


grandmas

Are you having kids in your wedding party? What roles did we miss?

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  1. I made my 3 nephews the "Bubble Boys" – in charge of blowing bubbles during the processional. They loved it and it made them feel very included!

    3 agree
  2. We had two very young children (20-22 months old) we wanted to include in our wedding, a boy and a girl. Instead of giving them a bouquet and a ring pillow, we had them carry bride-and-groom teddy bears. Because they were fussing just before the ceremony, I made the last-minute executive decision to let their parents carry them down the aisle instead of forcing them to walk, but they were still very cute!

    (I'd note, however, that children so young are definitely unpredictable. If you're the sort of bride who wants full control over her ceremony, toddlers are *not* the way to go!)

    2 agree
  3. I am asking my Great-Aunt (67) to be my Maid of Honor, a few people I have told say "can you do that?" Yes, I can – she has been one of my best friends since I was born, my way of honoring her.

    5 agree
  4. This post is amazing!

    I'm currently one of 7 girls- my parents are expecting an 8th (I'm guessing this one will also be a girl just based on the current trend) but its too early to announce. I have a nephew who is young like my youngest sisters as well. I have 3 mothers- 1 biological, 1 step, one FMIL… I still haven't sorted out what they are all going to do.

    It's nice to see all these different roles I can just add in when someone seems to be feeling left out. My plan is to have backup roles for certain personalities since I foresee certain sisters needing things to-do….

    also, I love the bubble blowers mentioned in another comment. That's being added to the list/bucket of backup tasks. I've also put "Official Wedding Face Painter" on the list for reception activities.

    2 agree
  5. When i got married,i had my two nieces,who were 13 and 11,be my cute 'little 3 year old 'flower girls! I got them cute white,poofy,midthigh length dresses and a flower headwreath with ribbons down the back and lace anklets and white 'mary jane'shoes to wear as their little flower girl outfits.Then to make them even more cuter and little girlish,their mom did a size 7 pampers diaper with ruffled plastic pants over it under their dresses! Both girls looked adorable and were happy to be 'little' flowergirls for the day.

  6. Getting married at 41 meant that I had a lot of friends' children in my life who all wanted to be part of the day. So prior to the bridal party entering, we had a kids procession, made up of 32 nieces, nephews, godchildren and little friends. They wore their favourite clothes and carried a single rose each as they walked/danced down to L.O.V.E by the cast of Glee. The final two kids (my niece and nephew) carried signs saying, "Get ready Gav. Here comes the bride!" When they got to the front we sat them up in the choir stalls of the church so that they had a good view of the ceremony. It was a great way to make them feel special and part of the day!

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