Weddings are a family event, and that means our wedding couple will often ask some little ones to walk as ring bearers and flower girls in the wedding processional.
Over the past couple of weeks, we’ve covered how the officiant comes in and how the couple’s parents come in. It’s time to talk about the children. Ring bearers, flower girls, junior bridesmaids, junior groomsmen: how and when do we include all the kids in the processional order?
It’s a common question that couples ask me in our ceremony planning session. “What about the children?”
And as wedding officiants, we need to be able to present our wedding couple with some clear options.
Now, junior bridesmaids and junior groomsmen are an easier one than ring bearers and flower girls. They can just file in with either the bridal party or groomsman party they belong to.
But when it comes to that little pair or cluster of kiddies, there tend to be some questions.
Caveat: I say it all the time here, and I’ll say it again: there are many possible ways to do anything, but we’re going to rule out the kids drifting in from a hot air balloon or rolling down in a Zorb ball. Let’s keep it reasonable.
Here are 3 options for where we put the kids in the processional order. (In my next post, we’ll cover 5 important details to consider when they make their entrance.)
Option 1: The kids enter before Partner 2’s party
So the officiant has entered, any parents have been seated honourarily, and the officiant has given those opening remarks. Now, the words “…and with that, let’s begin” can cue the music for the Processional.
Our first option is to have the ring bearers and flower girls lead the way and be the first ones out. They’ll walk down the aisle ahead of everyone else, then the members of Partner 2’s* party will each take their turn.
[*As always. I will be using “Partner 2” in place of “bride” and “Partner 1” in place of “groom” throughout this article for gender/same-sex-couple inclusiveness.]
Bear in mind: this is the non-traditional place to have them enter, but it happens just as often as the Option-2 (below), more traditional way.
What are some benefits to having the kids come out first?
Well, if they’re toddler-age or there are concerns about the kids not exactly making it down the aisle (more on a contingency plan for this in another post), we might want to, uh, how can I say this… “get them out of the way.” (There’s gotta be a better way to phrase that. I just can’t think of one right now.)
I always tell my couples: kids under 4 have only one job to do, really, and that’s to be cute. And they won’t be able to do anything but crush it, no matter what they do in the aisle. I mean, even if they panic and scream and run, everyone will give that “awwwww!” adoring moan.
It’s understandable, though, if a bride would like to put a little distance between an unpredictable, cute-attack kid and her own big moment of walking down the aisle.
So maybe the kids are super young, and Partner 2 would rather his or her processional walk be a bit more grand than cutesy. In this case, we consider sending the kids in before the grown-up wedding party.
But if the kids are a bit older and we want to keep it traditional, then on to Option 2.
Option 2: The kids enter immediately before Partner 2
With this option, each member of Partner 2’s party goes down the aisle one-by-one and takes his or her place at the front.
Then, the ring bearer or flower girls make their entrance.
If there are a few kids, there are a ton of different formations that might work here, i.e. ring bearer with a flower girl and then two other flower girls behind; ring bearer first, then flower girl; two flower girls, then ring bearer, etc. Just consider what works best based on the temperament of the kids. (More on that in the “details to consider” post to come.)
With the kids down the aisle, then the music will change for Partner 2’s unique processional song. The officiant will say something like, “Please stand for the bride as you’re able,” and in she comes.
Option 3: The ring bearer enters before; the flower girl enters after
Another option is to split them up, though this is rarely done. But we’re talking options here, and it just might work best sometimes.
So we can send in the ring bearer down the aisle sometime after Partner 1’s party has made it to the front. That way the ring bearer can bring the ring to, say, the Best Man, because now he’s standing at the front.
Then the flower girl (or girls) could come in after Partner 2’s party makes their entrance, heralding Partner 2’s impending entrance in mere moments. She drops the rose petals, clears the aisle, and then it’s time for Partner 2’s big moment.
So in a nutshell: before, after, or split ’em up. Pretty simple, right?
But the “when” is only half the conversation. In my next post, we’ll talk about how to minimize meltdowns, lost rings, and other potential altercations when it comes to involving the little ones in our wedding couples’ processional.