After the groomsmen and bridesmaids make their way down the aisle, your littlest wedding attendants, the ring bearer and flower girl, make their debut. While often one of the most awww-inducing parts of the ceremony, there is also opportunity for some mishaps given the ring bearer's young age. Learn about what's expected of your ring bearer and what you can do to make sure his part goes smoothly.
What Is a Ring Bearer?
A ring bearer is usually a young boy between the ages of 4 and 8 who has a special connection to the bride and groom. He may be related to them, or just be a family friend. His role is to carry the rings down the aisle to the couple. Usually the rings are tied to a pillow and then the ring bearer carries this pillow down the aisle. While a ring bearer is a traditional part of a wedding ceremony, you may opt to not have one. If you go this route, the best man traditionally carries the rings in his pocket.
How to Choose a Ring Bearer
Look for a responsible young man who is important in your life and will take his role seriously. If you are having trouble choosing between two children, there's no reason why you can't have two ring bearers. Give them each a ring to carry and send them down the aisle together. Or, if you're having a long train, one can act as a page boy (train bearer) instead. If the child you have in mind is very young, you may want him to be escorted down the aisle by a bridesmaid that he is close with to prevent any tears or stage fright. A ring bearer can also, of course, be a girl. You may want her to wear a dress that matches the flower girl's or she can wear something completely different.
Preparing Your Ring Bearer
Buying a children's book about being a ring bearer is a smart move. Doing so will help him know what his role is and understand its importance. Seat his parents on the aisle, near the front so that he can see them when he walks down the aisle and during the ceremony itself. Ask a groomsman to be his "buddy" and make sure he uses the restroom before the ceremony. Avoid putting too much pressure on him by tying fake rings to the pillow (the best man can hold the real things), and wait to give him the pillow until right before he goes down the aisle. Most importantly, remember that the ring bearer is still just a child and mistakes or mishaps may happen. If you're the perfectionist type, choose an older ring bearer, or go without.
When the Ring Bearer Walks
When the ring bearer walks varies depending on local and religious custom. Typically, he walks down the aisle immediately before the flower girl, after the last bridesmaid. Decide the order based on what works best for your wedding party and the comfort of the ring bearer.
What a Ring Bearer Should Wear
Some people love the look of "mini-groomsmen," where the ring bearer wears a tiny tuxedo. Or, if you're dressing the flower girl in a white dress, rather than matching the bridesmaids, you may wish to find a white outfit for the ring bearer as well. For the littlest ring bearers, an Eton jacket with short pants is a classic look. If you're having a less formal wedding, the ring bearer may wear junior versions of the groomsmen's attire or something that coordinates and is age-appropriate. The ring bearer will hold a special ring pillow that can be found at many bridal stores or online.
Where to Find a Ring Bearer Suit or Outfit
If the groomsmen are renting tuxedos, the shop should have children's sizes available. You can find ring bearer suits at bridal shops, children's clothing stores, and department stores. Make sure you choose something relatively inexpensive since the ring bearer's parents typically pay for it. If you have your heart set something more pricey, it would be good manners to help pay for the outfit.