"Aah ... she's so cute".
Yes, I totally get why you want to have little flower girls attending you on your wedding day. And yes, if everything is handled right then you're going to have some great photographs.
But there's one thing about little kids. They are unpredictable.
Kate Middleton and Prince William had young flower girls trailing behind them on their wedding day and yes they looked extremely sweet. And I'm sure they were very well rehearsed and schooled into what they had to do. But even Royalty couldn't stop a young flower girl yawning on the balcony of Buckingham Palace in full view of the world's media!
Bear a few things in mind when you decide on having young flower girls and your day should run that bit smoother. Here's what you need to be thinking about. Oh and of course, rehearse, rehearse and rehearse again with them!
- Children grow. So don't buy your flower girl's dresses a year in advance or even six months in advance. Don't buy them to grow into either. Either way you run the risk of the frock not fitting properly. Three months before your wedding day should be fine.
- Think of the ages of your girls. A two year old is too young to be given the job of scattering petals along the aisle. A 10 year old will feel far too old. And be careful of shy children - agreeing to something is different to having to be the centre of attention and some children will literally run. So it might be a good idea to have Plan B if you think this is likely to happen.
- Between four and eight is the ideal age for flower girls.
- One and two year olds are too little to take the walk down the aisle
Pink peony pomander for bridesmaids by Sabine Darrell
- Little baskets of flowers are more practical for little girls to carry than posies. Flower pom poms are better still. It's good for them to have something to hold so they have a) a job b) something to do with their hands
- Make sure your older bridesmaids and maid of honour keep an eye on the little ones and help them with their duties. Don't fall into the trap of not having an older bridesmaid and just relying on young ones.
An older bridesmaid should be on hand to help young flower girls
- After the age of about 8, a little girl is too old to be a flower girl and is a bridesmaid. So don't force her into a classic flower girl dress which she might feel is babyish. Have a look at junior bridesmaid frocks - which could be similar to those your older bridesmaids are wearing. Dessy has a good selection.
Designed for pre-teens. Junior bridesmaid dress by Dessy
- If one of your young attendants has particularly sensitive skin, check with the parents about what they can and can't wear. Some fabrics can set off an itchy cycle - for example a little wool cardigan worn in winter.
- No matter how much your little sister/niece/cousin/god daughter begs to wear high heels with her flower girl dress, don't go there. Ballet flats are perfect and look gorgeous.
Dessy flower girl dresses have a variety of contrasting sashes in different colours
- Don't make your little ones have elaborate updos or hairdos. They're likely to be uncomfortable and the hairdo probably won't stay in place anyway - even with hairspray. Simply styled hair is usually best with a pretty hair accessory - either a sparkly headband or flowers. If your young attendant is uncomfortable they a) won't smile b) will fiddle throughout the wedding photographs and ceremony
- Don't feel pressured by parents into asking a little one to be a flower girl. It's your day and your choice, so if you feel they aren't suitable, for whatever reason, you need to diplomatically refuse.
- Avoid having little ears pierced just before the wedding day. Give them time to settle down - a few weeks is best.
- Flower girls will love to be a part of your big day - so reward them with a framed photograph of the bridal party in a group after the wedding.
- As with your older bridesmaids, bear in mind the colours you are choosing. Even little girls don't suit every colour - dark haired girls can look best in bright colours and fairer girls can suit pastels. You could always dress your little flower girls in white or cream dresses and have coloured sashes to co-ordinate with the rest of the bridal party.
Flower girl dress with contrasting sash by Dessy
- If you're having an adults-only wedding and there are going to be no young children there, then it's best not to have young flower girls. They'll feel lonely, won't have anyone to be friends with, will be bored surrounded by adults (and you may irritate friends who had to make complicated childcare arrangements to come without their children).
- If you're having an evening reception, be sure you have plans in place for the little ones. If they've been on duty all day, then by evening you're looking at a major meltdown. So give them the evening off or at least, make sure there is a supervised chill-out room available.
- Don't let your young flower girls eat or drink anything after they have put on their frocks before you head off to the ceremony. For obvious reasons. Let them sit around in their dressing gowns and have a hearty breakfast before putting on their finery.
- And another obvious thing. Make sure your flower girls go to the loo before you leave for the ceremony (and before putting on their frocks too).
- Try and get the photographs with the flower girls done first - they'll start getting bored quickly and will want to run off and play, rather than smile and pose.
- Write your flower girl a thank you letter and give her a pretty gift for helping you. It doesn't have to be much - just a hair ornament if you have a tight budget. But they'll appreciate having their very own present (see the photograph suggestion above too).
Explore Dessy's flower girl dresses!