Having a flower girl or ring bearer at your wedding can make for some of the cutest pictures you’ll get from the whole day. A ring bearer allows you to have a young child from your family or friends participate in the ceremony—and they usually take it very seriously! Here’s some steps to making sure you choose the best possible ring bearer and that both of you have a good experience on the wedding day.
Consider Who Is in the Running
While people choose children of all ages to be the ring bearer, you can narrow your search to children between four and six years old, if you want. This allows the child to be old enough to take directions well, though some children younger than four can easily do the tasks of a ring bearer. Think about your friends’ children, any children you regularly babysit, and nieces, nephews, and cousins. Who might have the right temperament to enjoy this job and feel excited to do it? Narrow it down to a top choice before proceeding.
Ask the Parents and Explain the Role
Obviously, you need to know whether the family is planning on attending your wedding in the first place, so sitting down with or calling the parents of the potential ring bearer is a good next step. If possible, ask them in a context where the child cannot hear, since the child may pressure the parents more to participate if they hear about the proposal. Listen to any concerns, and make sure that you work with them. For instance, some ring bearers are accompanied by a parent, perhaps a mom or dad who is also in the wedding party, so that they don’t become overwhelmed in front of all those people. Make sure they know the particulars. Do you want the child to come to the wedding rehearsal? How long will the ceremony be? Once they are confident and can say yes, that’s great! If they cannot make it, go back to your list and ask the next little one’s parents in the same way.
Use the Rehearsal to Keep the Child Engaged
On the day of the rehearsal, make sure someone is tasked with calmly and clearly explaining the ring bearer’s role to them. Let them practice with the little pillow or whatever method of carrying the rings that you’ve planned on. Let them know how you want them to stand at the front of the room, and where. Give them easy cues like “right by mommy” or “next to the pastor.” Be extremely patient with the child as the rehearsal happens; anything that can be corrected or adjusted during the rehearsal increases the chances of the ring bearer putting on a great performance in the actual ceremony.
Motivate Appropriate Wedding Ceremony Behavior
It’s the morning of: the ring bearer is probably getting excited! Make sure that someone can answer their many questions, and remind them that by walking in, standing still, and walking out well, they will get to go and have cake or whatever positive reinforcement is available at the wedding reception. Pay special attention on the morning-of for signs of the child being tired, cranky, or sick—most ceremonies can easily adjust if a child is not feeling well and can just cut the ring bearer part out of the ceremony. Even if having them there is very important to you, a sniffly, tired tantrum isn’t what you want during your wedding ceremony, trust me. If possible, even the healthiest ring bearers will probably benefit from sleeping in or taking a nap on the big day.
Give a Gift for Their Participation in Your Wedding
Run your plan by the child’s parents and if they are on board, reward a wonderful job as a ring bearer with a gift. A fun toy can help the child feel a sense of accomplishment and help them understand their role was important. Once you’ve passed this sentiment along to them, they and you can both enjoy the reception knowing that you created a lasting memory.