Upper-class Greeks and Romans often included little girls in the wedding procession. They would walk ahead of the bride, “showering her path with grains and herbs,” which of course represented the collective hope that this woman could also make little humans just like the ones tossing oatmeal, lest she be doomed to a life of barren dread.
The interpretation of this tradition got a little looser and a little weirder around the Elizabethan era when the inclusion of children in the wedding party itself was more a reflection of how the culture idealized childhood, seeing kids as “symbols of hope and innocence.” Since the flower girl walks down the aisle before the bride, she’s meant to represent a younger, more innocent version of the bride and the transformation from child to adult.
Flower Girl FAQs
How old should they be?
Usually, they range from three to eight years old. You can, of course, go with someone younger. As long as you’re confident in their ability to get down the aisle, it’s really up to you.
Can I have more than one?
Definitely! If you have a big family or a bunch of nieces, it might be a good idea to include everyone to avoid anyone feeling left out. If you’ve decided to include several little attendants in your bridal party, there are many duties they’d no doubt love to take on. Ask one flower girl to walk with you and carry your train while another helps escort a beloved pet down the aisle. They can hold hands with each other as they walk down the aisle or opt for a wagon ride with the eldest flower girl pulling the littlest ones.
Who should pay for the dress?
Typically, their parents are expected to pay for the outfit. If what you’re envisioning is a bit pricey though, you might volunteer to cover the cost.
Do they have to throw flowers?
Nope, they can carry everything from colorful balloons to pinwheels or a bottle of bubbles to blow as they walk down the aisle. The possibilities are endless.
Flower Girl Alternatives
You can choose to skip out on having flower girls altogether, or you can get creative by giving the role to a friend or family member that isn’t already a part of the wedding party. You can even give this role to a pet who is trained and able to follow the cue of when to walk down the aisle.
Some people are inviting their grandparents to walk down the aisle instead. The idea is to incorporate them into your big day and honor them in some way. The act became somewhat of a trend last year and has made the concept of “flower grandmas” a thing.
If you still want the little ones to be a part of your wedding, but you’re not into the origins of the flower-girl tradition, you can also have them be greeters at the wedding, waving to guests as they arrive to set a fun, cute mood. Or, if they’re older and capable enough, recruit them to be the ushers who are typically responsible for handing out programs and escorting guests to their respective sides.