Children’s Roles in A Wedding

I have 2 attendants currently, my fiance has 1. I would love to include his 4 nieces in the wedding, but he does not want 6 standing on my side and only 1 on his. The girls are ages 10-18. I know the oldest 2 really should be bridesmaids, but that’s not an option. Do you think it would be acceptable to have all 4 as flower girls, or 2 flower girls 2 junior bridesmaids, or perhaps 4 flower girls and his goddaughter can be the ring bearer also? I could always have them do readings but I think they would be excited to be part of the procession.

I know these are unusual options. Would I be breaking any rules of etiquette by going against tradition?


Donna, Wedding Queen

All of these girls are much too old to be flower girls, and ring bearers are typically boys age 3 – 5. I think everyone would find these roles too odd for this age group.

You don’t have to have evenly matched bridal attendant members on each side. My recommendation is for the younger girls to be junior bridesmaids and the older as bridesmaids.

Those are the only roles that would include them as members of the bridal party where they would be dressed in the same clothes and treated as attendants and part of the processional.

See Also

Emmanuela Stanislaus, Precious Occasions, Wedding and Event Planner

To add to Donna’s comment…traditionally, flower girls are between the ages of 4 and 9 and junior bridesmaids are between 10-14. Why is it not an option for the two oldest to be bridesmaids? I would suggest you have the two youngest nieces be junior bridesmaids and the oldest two serve in another capacity if they can’t be bridesmaids. They can have a part by doing readings like you mentioned. You can also have them serve as greeters for your guests or guest book attendees.

Thank you for the advice. The reason they can’t be bridesmaids is because my fiance (their uncle) would feel self-conscious, although it is acceptable to have an unbalanced wedding party. For various personal reasons the wedding guests are primarily my parents friends. He feels that uneven attendants will highlight how few people are there for the groom. I just wanted to confirm that the age groups were set in stone. They’re sweet girls, I don’t think they will be disappointed if I don’t mention a processional role for them.

We don’t have a young boy we can ask to be ring bearer. On a related note to my first post, can we ask my uncle/godfather, his niece/goddaughter, or should we just have the maid of honor hold them? We don’t want to do anything improper.


Darlene Taylor, PBC
TaylorMade Weddings

I am concerned firstly, and I may be the only one to notice, that you mentioned that your fiance did not want 6 standing on your side and only one on his and then proceeded to go on with discussing bridesmaid/flowergirl options. He sounds uncomfortable about being unbalanced and I think you might want to ask him what he would want/prefer before you proceed with what to do about these 4 girls. Moving ahead without him may cause hurt feelings and make him feel like his opinion doesn’t matter. If he is fine with the “unbalanced” look, which is totally fine these days, then I would proceed with your plans on how to include these girls. And make sure to include him on your ideas. If he is uncomfortable, and to honor his feelings, I suggest you go with other options of having the 4 girls play an important role of handing out programs, or doing special readings in the ceremony. Then they could be listed in the program and still be a part of the wedding!

A final thought – if you’re going to be unbalanced, it would certainly look better 2-1 than 6-1.

Happy planning!

Thank you – this is exactly my concern. I forgot to mention in my original post – I run everything by him first. 🙂 Some very important people in his family are no longer with us, so my mother feels strongly that the girls should be honored but he is uncomfortable with the disparity in the wedding parties. I was hoping there was a role to please them both, but if there isn’t, the girls will just do readings.

Donna, Wedding Queen

I can’t think of anything that would have them in the processional without having them standing up on your site of the aisle or making the show of friends any less one-sided.

Joyce C Smith, MBC, President and owner of Weddings Unlimited, Inc. and Ohio State Coordinator for Association of Bridal Consultants

Why not step away from the traditional and do a special ceremony activity that could include the girls. For example: do a sand ceremony instead of the unity candle. The girls could come up, and pour a different colored sand into a vessel to represent his side of the family. The girls could also be a part of the processional, each carrying a rose to be placed on the altar near a memorial candle and then take their places in the front pew. It is important that this not be done in a way to upstage the ceremony itself.