Sometimes I write about big sweeping concepts, sometimes this column is about cultural or religious traditions and rituals, and other times there is just something very specific to look at. Today I want to address what role should a pre-teen can play in your wedding? I’m not referring to the couple’s children, who should have an important role in the event, but rather that special niece or nephew, a close friend’s child, or anyone you wish to include who is too old to be a ring-bearer or flower girl.
A ring-bearer or flower girl is typically between about 3 to 7 years old, although often people send younger kids down the aisle, with less than satisfactory results. Teens or young adults are often considered Junior Bridesmaids and Groomsmen and have little distinction from any other Bridesmaid or Groomsman, but what about the pre-teen, those around 8 through 12?
There are several great ways to incorporate this age group. Here are a few ideas:
They may be a ‘greeter’, one or several of these pre-teens can give out programs, bubbles, water bottles, paper fans, or anything that needs handing out. They can help direct people, especially if there is a water station, coat closet, rest rooms and just about anything that arriving guests might need to know before the ceremony. If there is a guest book or something to sign or put your fingerprint on – having someone direct people is helpful.
For the girls be sure to encourage a matching dress to make them feel part of the bridal party.
You might have these young people design and put together a children’s table or area for the little ones. They should receive full credit for this chore, which takes quite a bit of responsibility. They may also look after and help entertain any little ones at the party, helping them with coloring or other activities that are at the kids table.
Helping the flower girl or ringer bearer make their way down the aisle is an appropriate job for them. Those very young flower girls and/or ring bearers often have a hard time. Have them escorted by your pre-teen, maybe even pull them in on a wagon.
If you want to have your dog in your wedding, putting a pre-teen in charge of your pet would also be great, especially if they know and love the dog. They could even walk the dog down the aisle, a more grown-up job than flower girl or ring bearer!
For the more precocious pre-teen, have them read a poem or other type of short reading.
Once they pass the magic age of 13 (give or take) they can be designated as a junior bridesmaid or groomsmen. They’re old enough to stand with you. They should enter in the processional just like anyone else. It’s quite an honor.