Groomsmen and bridesmaid proposals have become increasingly more popular over the last few years, and it’s easy to understand why: After a partner pops the question, the newly-engaged couple is excited to ask their closest family members and friends to stand by their sides on their wedding day. If you plan to have little ones join you down the aisle as ring bearers or flower girls and boys, you should also ask them in special ways, too. “Even the littlest members of the wedding party are VIPs and should be treated as such,” says event planner Nora Sheils. Whether you give a ring bearer card or a sweet flower girl present, there are plenty of ways to embellish your wedding party proposal.
Meet the Expert
- Nora Sheils is the cofounder of Rock Paper Coin, a contract and invoicing platform for the events industry, and founder of Bridal Bliss, a Pacific Northwest–based event planning service.
- Keith Willard is the founder of Florida-based wedding and event planning service Keith Willard Events.
- Loren Petroski is the owner of Marry You in Hawaii, a curated group of Hawaii-based wedding officiants.
Having a flower girl, flower boy, or ring bearer in your wedding party isn’t just about filling a role or appeasing parents in your bridal party. “The smallest members of the wedding party tend to have the biggest impact. It’s a sight that most of your guests can relate to and binds the experience,” says event planner Keith Willard. “There is an innocence that comes with the inclusion of little ones—something that is as pure as the love between the couple.”
Children also add lightheartedness and whimsy to the day. Sheils admits, “Many brides say they are nervous to walk down the aisle and a darling flower girl walking in right before you is a great way to deflect the attention.” Loren Petroski, owner of Marry You in Hawaii, adds, “It shows that they are loved so much that the couple wants them included in their special day.” This is a lasting gift to the children as well as their parents.
Want to ask your favorite kids to join you down the aisle? Read ahead to learn how to ask ring bearers and flower girls and boys to be in your wedding party and ideas for great proposal gifts.
When to Propose to Your Ring Bearers and Flower Girls and Boys
Brides and grooms should first ask the parents of their desired ring bearers and flower girls and boys if they can be a part of the wedding before popping the question to ensure they feel comfortable with the time and financial commitment. It’s best to give the parents as much notice as possible, so Sheils says the earlier you ask, the better. After all, the family will need to make travel plans or arrangements to be a part of the festivities. However, she suggests waiting to share the news with the children until a month or two before the wedding or whenever you have to order attire. “They will be so excited and asking them to wait too long is torture,” she says.
Ring Bearer and Flower Girl and Boy Proposal Etiquette
As with anything else related to a wedding, there are some etiquette rules couples should follow when asking the smallest members of your party to be a part of your celebration. Here are some things to keep in mind when making a ring bearer or flower girl and boy proposal.
Ask the Parents First
The most important aspect of asking a child to be in your wedding party is clearing it with their parents first. “There may be a reason you hadn’t considered that wouldn’t make their involvement such a great idea,” Sheils says. “Maybe a child has special needs and deviations from a schedule or big occasions cause problems, or the parents were hoping to enjoy the big wedding sans kids.”
Be sure to ask both parents if they want their little one to take on the honor before asking the child.
Set Aside Time to Bond
Make sure that both nearlyweds get to spend time with your young wedding party member. “Kids don’t do great around strangers so you have to take the time to get to know them and for them to get to know you,” advises Willard. “Make sure to get on their level, both figuratively and literally. You will get a much better reaction if you’re eye to eye.”
Understand Your Wedding Plans
Couples should also know the answers to a few important questions before popping the question.
- Will the child’s parents also be in the wedding party? If they are not, make sure you are clear with who you are asking and have a plan for logistics as far as day-of and photos. This way the parents won’t make assumptions or feel left out.
- Are you having a child-free wedding? If you’re planning a child-free wedding, you will need to discuss child care for after the ceremony if the young attendants are not invited to the reception. You should also prepare for other parents to potentially have questions about whether their child can also attend.
- Are you requesting specific attire? Do you have your heart set on your ring bearer wearing a custom tux that matches the groomsmen? Have you already picked out a swoon-worthy dress for your flower girl? You will need to discuss both budget and outfit ideas with the parents so everyone is clear on who is paying for and approving attire.
Ring Bearer and Flower Girl Proposal Ideas
Once you’ve asked the parents and received their blessing, it’s time for the most exciting part: the proposal! When popping the question to the kids, Willard recommends including a gift. “Kids don’t typically have complex mental abilities so tying in the questions with something tangible will help solidify the specialness,” he says.
Above all, it’s all about going a step further and figuring out a personal idea that reflects their individual interests. “Any of these gift ideas need to be specific to the young man or woman. A general ‘give them jewelry or a toy’ is not going to cover it,” he adds. “It’s important to know what they want, and for many couples, children are not yet part of the picture. So, knowing what will make them happy is going to be fully based on a conversation with their parents.”
How to Ask Younger Flower Girls to Be in Your Wedding
To ask a younger flower girl to be in your wedding, “Pop the question with flowers, pretty shoes, or a little tiara. You can expect a big ‘yes,’” suggests Sheils. Other sentimental options include a bracelet or hair clip that she can save as her “something old” for her own wedding day or a matching flower girl dress for a doll that can be saved for her own daughter.
How to Ask Older Flower Girls to Be in Your Wedding
If your flower girls are a bit older, you might want to consider offering a fun bonding activity as a gift. “For girls that are preteens, an adult spa day is consistently a winner,” Williard suggests. “Nothing makes a preteen feel more included than doing adult activities that are preteen appropriate.”
How to Ask Younger Ring Bearers to Be in Your Wedding
For little ring bearers and flower boys, Sheils recommends gifting them matching shoes or pieces of the attire that the groomsmen will be wearing. You can also go with a personalized baseball bat, puzzle, or game that matches their interests.
How to Ask Older Ring Bearers to Be in Your Wedding
Older ring bearers can be a bit more challenging. “Having it be a two-part gift will help in creating that mental connection,” offers Willard. “I have had some couples where the ring bearer really loved a particular sports star. Taking them to one of their games to do the ‘ask’ and then giving them an autographed ball the day of will truly make a memory that lasts a lifetime.”
In addition to giving your young attendants a proposal gift, be sure to give them a present on the wedding day, too.
Flower Girl and Boy and Ring Bearer Cards
Along with a gift, it’s always nice to offer your young wedding party members a proposal card. A ring bearer card or a flower girl or boy card can include fun wedding-themed illustrations, your wedding date, and, of course, the big question asking them to be a part of your big day.