When I was growing up, my father gave me a book on Emily Post Etiquette. I didn’t read it then, some 30 years ago and I still won’t even look at it. I was, or at least I thought I was, a non-conformist. When I married, I had my niece as my flower girl and my cousin, who was five at the time, as the ring bearer. Stephanie, the cousin in question, still chides me today about the job choice, but she had the most beautiful ringlets down her back I ever saw. Maybe it was Shirley Temple envy but I wanted to use her for this special position in my wedding, that and the fact that she was the daughter of my all-time favorite Aunt. So, being a designer of Pegeen and able to create whatever formal clothing, flower girl dresses and ring bearer suits, I wanted for the children in my wedding, I created (as if I were just a bride shopping) what I loved most. I loved antique laces and the color blue and created my first Bridal Wear before Pegeen was as well known for their children’s bridal wear as they are now. My niece wore a beautiful silk plaid dress with insets of lace, but my cousin Stephanie wore velvet knickers and jacket with a fancy lace jabot. Very Victorian.
Today’s reality means that many flower girls are the step-child or children of the bride or groom. What they wear or their function in the wedding ceremony is really immaterial. These are children of the people you love and Emily Post’s rules are long forgotten. We have designed flower girl dresses for 13 year olds and Jr. Bridesmaids dresses for 9 year old. What I always suggest as a designer is that you do for your wedding what you are most happy with as choices for YOU and your INTENDED and no one else.
That said here are some common sense rules of etiquette, or rather rules of guidance for bride and/or the moms of the children in the wedding:
RULE #1 You are the bride, you make the rules. If the children asked in your wedding are not your own, the parents must follow Rule #1. This means that if you say wear RED they have to quit complaining about how bad the color looks with their kid’s hair and do as you wish. They are obliged to do what the bride wants regarding color and style. See silk fabric choices.
RULE #2 This is not the child’s coronation, it’s the brides wedding. Give her the same respect to be the boss as you had or wish you had, at your own wedding. If you are the mom, and the bride has no opinion, find out what color is going to be in the wedding theme. Perhaps flowers can give some color guidance, but whatever is done, do not have the child compete with the bride.
RULE #3 Forget about the correct age of a flower girl….or the sex of the ring bearer, whatever feels right for you (and yes, sometimes the children have a strong opinion) this is really a time when the children you love are participants. It’s not like you are asking them to drive the limo for you, you are asking the children to accompany you down the aisle. So, if a 6th grader has her heart set on being a flower girl, then so be it. It’s just a name.
RULE #4 You can negotiate the budget with the bride, but if it’s more than you can afford INCLUDING out of town costs, etc., step out gracefully. You have to discuss this from the start. Remember, there are some moms like myself who are worried about the lessons at the gym, the cost of private school and the multiple tasks of a home budget so this should be something you need to discuss with your bride.
RULE #5 Be flexible. It’s a good idea as the bride to involve older step children what they would like to wear too. Make it a fun date in the bridal salon or with us, you can have her design her own with our virtual tool – the Pegeen Dress Dreamer.
RULE #6 Spend whatever you want as the bride but be realistic. (Assuming these are your children/step children then) we encourage you to get exactly what you want but please refer to rule 4.
RULE #7 Coordinate the look for a cohesive look. Style choice does depend on what you & your maids are wearing – for instance if your gown is ivory and the bridesmaids are wearing dresses in shades of pink with a V-BACK then I suggest you try to pick up some of these same qualities in the dresses for the children. A pink dress for the children with an ivory sash and a v-back would be my first choice.
At Pegeen, we encourage the bride to give us the style number and manufacturer for her dress or the bridesmaid’s dresses, so we can complement the children’s attire. This really gives the entire wedding party uniformity that I believe, helps to keep that photograph that is going up on the wall later from being too distracting. Yes, the wedding is not about the picture on the wall but if you close your eyes and envision how that photo will look, I truly think you will come up with the best decisions for YOUR WEDDING.
Have a look at some of the flower girl dresses others have ordered: CLICK
What is interesting for me as a designer now is that brides are very creative in their decisions. Each bride that we do a wedding for is encouraged to send us photos after their weddings for two reasons: inspirations for others and because we are excited to see how we looked walking down the aisle with the children.
For matching children’s fashions, direct from the Manufacturer & Designer, from Infants to Plus Size, & seeing what other Brides have done, visit our website. Walking Down the Aisle with Brides Since 1982.