Many brides get a little confused when it comes to deciding who in their bridal party will be a bridesmaid and who will be a flower girl. Etiquette states that a girl over the age of eight should be a bridesmaid and should be given responsibilities which are appropriate for her age group, such as assisting the maid of honour and smoothing the bridal gown. For girls below the age of eight the term ‘flower girl’ is more appropriate as this signifies a role with the sole responsibility of walking down the aisle before the bride and the rest of the bridal party. As a general rule flower girls are usually above the age of four so that they are able to cope with the pressure of gliding down the aisle, sprinkling petals as they go, while all of your wedding guests look on.
While wedding etiquette is great for giving brides and grooms a starting point in the decision making process, you should not feel that you have to stick stringently to the ‘rules’ in any way. For our wedding we had four flower girls aged between one year and eight years old, and no bridesmaids! While some brides will go wide eyed at the idea of little ones toddling down the aisle, choosing very young flower girls was easy for us as they are all our nieces, and already had experience at performing this role. That being said I didn’t expect the tiniest flower girl to walk down the aisle scattering petals before her! Instead she was dressed to match the other girls and included in the bridal party photos.
There are numerous wonderful options when it comes to what your flower girl can carry down the aisle, so many in fact that it can be difficult to choose. Traditionally the flower girl would carry a basket filled with petals and scatter them before the bride and her father begin their procession, or even as the very first person down the aisle.
If you feel that you’d like to appoint some flower girls, take a look at the list of accessory option below and make a note of anything that inspires you, and fits well with your wedding concept...
Flower girls take their name from the basket of flowers or petals which they would traditionally have carried down the aisle before the bride and her father began their own procession. Recreating this is as simple as purchasing a basket, filling it with petals (preferably silk to avoid staining the bridal gown) and asking your chosen flower girl to scatter them gently as she walks. Giving young flower girls a job to do will ensure that they are concentrating on that task rather than worrying about being watched by your guests. We decided to give this job to two of our flower girls so that they didn’t have to walk down the aisle alone, and this seemed to work very well as both girls (aged three and four) successfully floated down the aisle like little fairies, leaving petals in their wake.
If you don’t fancy making so much mess you could always ask your flower girls to carry small posies of flowers which match the bridal bouquet. Having your flower girls carrying something down the aisle will keep their attention fixed on holding the accessory properly, rather than on the faces of the people watching them. With little ones it’s all about distracting them! Our oldest flower girl (who walked down the aisle with my maid of honour) was given a posy rather than a basket of petals to signify that she is a little more grown up than the other girls.
Pomanders are a lovely alternative to posies if you’re looking for something a bit different. You could also use posies and pomanders together if you have a collection of flower girls and young bridesmaids. Have a chat with your florist if you like the idea of pomanders, and they should be able to show you some examples to inspire you. If you’re not sure what pomanders are, take a look at photos from Prince William and Catherine’s wedding and you will see that the two youngest flower girls are carrying small circular arrangements on loops around their wrists. Those are pomanders.
Teddies and other accessories
I trend which I absolutely love seeing is the use of teddies and other soft toys instead of floral accessories. Not only is it incredibly cute to see a flower girl carrying a teddy bear down the aisle, it’s also very cost effective and provides the flower girl with a gift which she will treasure for years to come! You could also ask your florist to create a floral accessory to pin to the teddy so that it matches perfectly with your bouquet. Floral crowns are also the perfect accessory to match whatever your flower girl is carrying, and will bring her entire outfit together seamlessly.