If you will be having children in your wedding, CAUTION… kids are unpredictable. And that’s not necessarily a bad thing. Expect the unexpected. Countless times I have seen the children make the wedding memorable and be the rockstars of the whole event.
The key is to choose your ring bearer wisely. The ring bearer can be a girl, if the bride chooses. Some children are just too young to understand why they are there. The ring bearer, traditionally a small boy aged four to eight, walks down the aisle just before the flower girl (or he may walk with her), carrying a pillow with two rings tied to it. They should be mature and confident enough to make their way between the seats without having a full-fledged meltdown along the way.
He is not ring security. Most brides and grooms actually have the Best Man hold both rings to keep from entrusting the expensive rings to a rambunctious 6-year-old, the rings are usually fakes. Often a bride will want the Maid/Matron of Honor to carry one of the rings, however, I don’t recommend that because she will be holding her own bouquet, the brides bouquet (during the ceremony) and usually does not have pockets.
Children younger than four may need to be coaxed with candy or a toy as a reward. Sometimes a teddy bear or other personal item is utilized for carrying the rings. In some cases a family dog takes the place of a human ring bearer for an added personal touch. The downside: someone has to be responsible for caring for the dog and will miss some of the cocktail party and reception. No cats, please. They have a mind of their own at weddings.
Very young children may walk hand-in-hand with a parent or are sometime carried down the aisle by their parent. One of my weddings had a teen pull a wagon with the 2 year old ring bearer in it. The wagon was decorated and the ring bearer was surrounded by rose pedals. By the way, Having a ring bearer is not a requirement. The best man is perfectly capable.
At one on my themed weddings in Tucson – the bride, groom, bridal party and moms and dads – were all dressed as pirates. The ring bearer was about 6 years old and carried both rings in a tiny pirate’s treasure chest.
Kids will be kids, so the best you can do is have them as well prepared and trained as is possible. Remember though, with kids, practice does not make them perfect, it only makes them a little better. Having an alternative plan B is not a bad idea either.
Here are a few duties of the ring bearer:
• Attend the pre-wedding day ceremony rehearsal but does not usually attend the rehearsal dinner
• He immediately precedes the flower girl during the processional or if the flower girl is younger, he may Walk down the aisle with her
• Deliver the wedding rings to the best man or groom
• Be present in all wedding photos
• Possibly stand up with the groomsmen during the length of the ceremony. If he gets finicky he can go sit on the front row.
• Walk with the flower girl directly behind the couple during the recessional
• Hold a basket of rose petals or confetti for other guests to throw at the newlyweds as they depart
• And if mature enough, anything else you can imagine to make your ceremony more memorable.
The ring bearer should sit with his parents at the reception – not at the head table with the bridal party. Depending upon their ages, you may want to have him dance with the flower girl during the reception.
The ring bearer is usually dressed similar to the ushers (sometimes a rented child’s tuxedo) and in some areas – like Arizona – may even wear dress shorts instead of pants if desired. Often it is the parents who shop for the ring bearers attire as long as he does not need to match identically to the groomsmen. His family pays for the cost of his attire.
Along with the duties mentioned above, the ring bearer’s additional responsibility is to look handsome, charm the ladies, dance and eat cake. 😉
If you are dreaming of the perfect wedding, get stressed even thinking about having children at the ceremony, and have a vision of everything running as planned, you may want to think twice before you include very young children.
Watch Bilbo the owl bring the rings down the aisle at a wedding! Very creative!
BONUS Article: An Age Guide to the Little Ones in Your Wedding
Copyright © 2015 – Larry James. This information is adapted from Larry’s Wedding Website and Wedding Blog. Larry James is an award winning, non-denominational wedding officiant and performs the most “Romantic” wedding ceremony you will find anywhere! Every wedding ceremony is customized to your complete satisfaction. Call to check availability: Cell: 480-205-3694. Pre-maritial relationship coaching is available and not required. You will find more than 475 pages of Wedding ideas, tips (90 tips and growing), ceremonies, and more at: http://www.celebrateintimateweddings.com. Something NEW about weddings is posted every 4th day on this Wedding BLOG. Check Larry’s availability.
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