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Flower Girls: Etiquette Q&A

Q.

A.

Q. Can I have flower girls in lieu of bridesmaids?

A: How sweet! In Victorian England, having child attendants was all the rage, and it's still a popular British custom. Your only problem? Making sure that the women (or men) close to you are still on board to help out with prewedding tasks, throwing a shower, and much more. Even the cutest flower girls in the world can't provide you with the help you'll need. So if you go the flower girl route, make sure to publicly thank the fairy godmothers who help to make your wedding happen (in the program or at the reception) and throw in a nice gift, too.

Q. My daughter is a flower girl in my brother's wedding. We've had conversations about her attire, but it's unclear who's paying. I want her to look picture perfect, too, but what's the deal?

A. Usually, child attendants' parents pay for their clothes, but the bride and groom will sometimes purchase a flower girl's dress (or a ring bearer's adorable little suit) as a gift. Ask your brother in plain terms, so that there are no misunderstandings. If they're receptive, maybe you can split it, or, you pay for dress, they pay for hat, shoes, etc. Just keep in mind that, like bridesmaids and groomsmen, agreeing to be in the wedding generally means you're willing to purchase an outfit. So, we say go for a multipurpose gown (the wedding, birthday parties, holidays, etc.)

Q. There's some concern about inviting our 6-year-old flower girl (a cousin) to the rehearsal dinner, especially since the reservation is for 8pm. My fiance's mother does not want to invite her to the dinner because she is so young; my parents disagree -- she's part of the wedding party. I can understand both points of view, but I don't know what we would do with her after the rehearsal. Who makes the call? The host (my fiance's mom) or the couple?

A. There's no strict etiquette -- whether or not child attendants are invited to the rehearsal dinner is up to you ("you" meaning the couple and the hosts of the party, often the groom's parents). It's perfectly appropriate to invite her to the dinner, since she will be at the rehearsal -- especially if her parents will be there, too! Perhaps you and your fiance should try to broach this issue with his mom to see if you can change her mind. It might be a money thing or maybe she thinks the flower girl's a brat, who knows? Check in with the little girl's parents, too. Maybe they already have a plan (i.e., a babysitter is coming to pick her up at 9:30).

Q. I'm a bridesmaid, and the bride's having her baby sister as the flower girl. I mean, she's cute, but I really don't want to have to be in charge of policing a 4-year-old's every move. Is "babysitting" her one of my duties?

A. Yes and no. For the day of the wedding, the bride may ask you to check her sister's appearance before she goes down the aisle, smooth her braids, fix her hair ribbon, etc. You might also have to take her to the restroom a couple of times. You can handle this, we know you can! As for the reception, we think you're off the hook. Parents will probably take charge, anyway. When it comes to partying, you're free to run with an older crowd.

Q. Does the flower girl stand in the receiving line?

A. Not usually, but if she's daughter to one of the newlyweds, then she should definitely be included. This is a big day for her, too.

See More: Your Bridal Party