by Amy Newson
It’s not always easy to know what to do with little children at weddings, so getting them involved in the ceremony is a perfect way to keep them happy. Plus, the adorable wedding photos will get everyone talking.
It’s a lovely tradition to get children involved in wedding ceremonies. Not only will it keep them occupied and happy but will bring many a laugh when looking through the wedding photos over the years to come. When thinking about who to choose, the children of friends and family are the usual choice for filling the roles of pageboys, flower girls and bridesmaids.
Traditionally pageboys are young male attendants at formal weddings, whose role is to carry the bride’s train (especially if it is a very long one). Though they are less and less common at modern weddings (as are bridal trains), it’s a lovely way to get young children involved in your wedding and to make them feel an important part of your special day.
Being a ring bearer would be another task for a young boy and, being a ‘special’ page, he would carry the wedding rings for the bridal party and present them to the couple at the exchange of the rings part of the ceremony. A symbolic way to approach this is for the boy to carry a satin cushion embroidered with rings, while the actual rings are kept for safekeeping with the best man, who, at most modern weddings has taken on the the ring bearer’s duties.
Although pageboys and ring bearers are not often part of wedding ceremonies these days, flower girls still play a large role. Traditionally, and to this day, flower girls walk in front of the bride and carry a basket of flower petals, which they spread on the floor in front of her. This tradition originates from Ancient Rome, where a young virgin would carry sheaths of wheat before the bride, a gesture that was supposed to bring wellbeing to the newlyweds. Wheat gave way to flowers over the course of time, though not before young girls carried garlic for the bride in the Middle Ages.
When going through your list of friends and family’s children, it’s worth thinking about a couple of things before asking them to take on the role. Age is an important factor, as very young children will find it difficult to manage some of the tasks. For flower girls, children over five should be suitable to carry out (and enjoy) the task of scattering the flower petals. As for pageboys, depending on the length and weight of the train, seven years or older should make them capable of the task – though older bridesmaids are now more often than not stepping in to do this. Older children can also help with seating guests and other last minute jobs that may occur.
Once you have the ‘who’, it’s time to think about what to dress them in. This mainly depends on the formality of the wedding. For traditional weddings boys usually wear classic knickerbockers with cummerbunds and double-breasted shirts. Girls don full-skirted dresses complete with a sash and bow while frills decorate the collar and sleeves of their dress. Both girls and boys wear pale shoes with white socks or tights.
For less formal weddings, it has recently become the norm to dress children down, so that they can comfortably enjoy the wedding day celebrations. Girls can be dressed in beautiful net, tulle or lace detailed skirts to make them fit for the perfect fairy tale wedding, while boys can be dressed down in handsome chinos with a crisp shirt and bow tie. Neutral pumps or even trainers are a popular choice for little pageboys, flower girls and bridesmaids, as these can be reused after the wedding and allows for comfortable playtime.
Don’t think scruffy plimsolls but a light coloured shoe that complements their ensemble – and looks on trend too!
Finally, a challenge you might face is if your bridesmaids are mixed ages. Find dresses that complement each other rather than matching entirely. Chic and simple designs are perfect for this occasion and will look lovely grouped together. Flower hair circlets also look stunning on all ages, such as floral head dresses made out of large blooms or even a dainty hair vine for a sophisticated touch.