Flower Girl

Why does a flower girl throw petals?

Flower girls are adorable additions to any wedding. Even if kids aren’t your thing, it’s hard to deny the cuteness that comes with a little tot all dolled up in tulle throwing petals down the aisle. Usually, the youngest person in the wedding party, the flower girl typically precedes the bride down the aisle. The tradition began in ancient Rome, where the flower girl carried wheat and herbs for the bride and groom.

Flower girls aren’t a necessity for your big day, and we’ll go into alternatives later, but if you decide to incorporate the tradition into your wedding, there might be some questions that arise. Like, who should the flower girl be? What should they wear? And how old should they be? Keep reading to get the answers to these questions and more ahead.

The wedding tradition of a flower girl is symbolic. The young girl, usually in a white dress, represents purity. She walks down the aisle in front of the bride, dropping flower petals, which symbolize fertility. The petals are usually red roses. Red is a vibrant colour which represents deep passion and love. Symbolically, the flower girl represents the loss of purity to passion, love and fertility.

This tradition originally began in Ancient Rome. During that time, most marriages were arranged, and the main purpose of the marriage was to have children to carry on the family name. Therefore, fertility was a concern for the newlyweds. Back then, only youth would attend to the bride so that a young girl would walk down the aisle before the bride carrying wheat and herbs. The wheat and herbs were scattered on the aisle to bless the couple with fertility and prosperity and also to ward off evil spirits. Over time, the wheat and herbs were replaced with flower petals. Here is why brides originally carried bouquets during their wedding.

There’s a good chance that your flower girl is just as excited as you are about her role in the wedding. In addition to deciding what she’ll wear-will she don white or dress in the same colour as your bridesmaids?-you’ll want to give some serious thought to her walk down the aisle. Traditionally, the flower girl enters the ceremony just before the bride and tosses flower petals from a basket, but today’s modern couples are opting for more unique alternatives. If you’d rather save the stunning blooms for your centrepieces or your own bouquet, here are some fun, out-of-the-box items for your flower girl to throw (or carry) down the aisle.

The main focus of having a little girl walk down the aisle first, though, has always been to represent the transformation of the bride from a child to an adult. That is why they wear white dresses too so that they can look like a mini version of the bride. As the flower girl walks down the aisle, she symbolizes the innocence of the bride fading away and her role as a wife and future mother beginning.

So, even though the flower girl plays a minimal role in the wedding, she means a lot to the bride. And, come on, how could you not love an adorable little girl in a frilly dress and little white shoes bouncing down the aisle? 

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Time Frame

In the ceremony, the flower girl always walks in front of the bride. She represents the young and pure girl, who adds sweetness and joy to the ceremony. She throws out the petals, which symbolize the transition of the bride into a loving and passionate wife. Originally, the petals may have also been used to ward off evil spirits, so the flower girl walking in front of the bride would protect her on her wedding day.

History

The history of the flower girls goes back to Greek and Roman times. During those times, girls did not scatter flowers, but grain and herbs to represent fertility. Even in the middle ages, young girls would walk in front of the bride, carrying bundles of grain. The tradition of flower baskets came about during the Victorian Era. Little girls dressed in white, carrying baskets of flower petals and flower-covered hoops, which represented eternal love.

Upper-class Greeks and Romans often included little girls in the wedding procession who walked ahead of the bride, “showering her path with grains and herbs,” which of course represented the collective hope that this woman could also make little humans just like the ones tossing oatmeal, lest she is doomed to a life of barren dread.

The interpretation of this tradition got a little looser and a little weirder around the Elizabethan era when the inclusion of children in the wedding party itself was more a reflection of how the idealized culture childhood, seeing kids as “symbols of hope and innocence.” Since the flower girl walks down the aisle before the bride, she’s meant to represent a younger, more innocent version of the bride and the transformation from child to adult.

Flower Girl

Different Cultures

No matter the culture, the role of the flower girl, is about the same. However, there are some variations. In Central America, the flower girl may dress like the other attendants, carry flowers and dance down the aisle with them. In Germany, no other attendants exist except the flower girl and her flowers.

The Petals

Brides sometimes select colours other than red for the petals. Pink is the next popular colour, and it symbolizes sweetness. Orange might also be another appropriate colour, and it means warmth and vitality. Violet means serious feelings and is often reserved for meeting the mother of the bride. Blue means hope and confidence, and the green represents youth and happiness Colors that are not really appropriate for a wedding are white (for purity), yellow (which often represents jealousy) and black (for death).

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Changing Times

As the world changes, so do wedding customs and traditions. Some brides choose to put their flower girls in coloured frocks. Some may even be dressed identically to the bride; this is popular with mothers whose daughters are their flower girls, making the occasion special for the little girl as well as her mother. Instead of dropping flower petals, many flower girls blow bubbles going down the aisle. Others throw confetti or carry teddy bears.

Who should be the flower girl?

As event planner Roxanne Bellamy explains, “Flower girls can be nieces, cousins, or even your college best friend’s daughter.” 

How old should they be?

Usually, they range from three to eight years old. You can, of course, go with someone younger. As long as you’re confident in their ability to get down the aisle, it’s really up to you.

Can I have more than one?

If you have a big family or a bunch of nieces, it might be a good idea to include everyone to avoid anyone feeling left out.

What should they wear?

Traditionally, the flower girl’s dress is similar to the bride’s gown. But you can also have the dressing mirror that of the bridesmaids, whether that’s incorporating a similar print or the same colour. As far as where to get a dress, Bellamy suggests Pantora Bridal or Saks.

Who should pay for the dress?

Typically, their parents are expected to pay for the outfit. If what you’re envisioning is a bit pricey though, you might volunteer to cover the cost.

What are they responsible for exactly?

“Their main duty is to charm the pants off guests, leaving them smiling from ear to ear,” Bellamy says. “Some are very shy and walk timidly down the aisle while others take their responsibilities seriously; meticulously placing each petal in the ‘perfect’ spot for the bride.” Mostly, they’re there to set a cute tone for the bride to walk down the aisle.

Check out our post on Wedding Flower Girls.

Do they have to throw flowers?

Nope, they can carry everything from colourful balloons to pinwheels or a bottle of bubbles to blow as they walk down the aisle. The possibilities are endless.

How will they process?

If the flower girl is old enough to walk on her own, she should head down the aisle after the wedding party and before the bride. If they’re too young to walk or tend to be a little fussy or shy, involving their mom or dad to help carry or hold their hand is also an option. Bellamy adds, “The biggest concern my clients have is wanting assurance that the flower girls will fulfil their duty without getting stage fright. I assure you that’s not a concern because, inevitably, guests will coo at them or coax them down the aisle somehow.” 

Do I also have to have them at the reception?

Not if you don’t want to. If you’re having a no-kids-allowed wedding, tell the flower girl’s parents in advance and help to arrange a babysitter to look after them as the party happens.

Should I get them a thank-you gift?

It’s a nice idea, especially if you’re getting the rest of your wedding party something. It doesn’t have to be that expensive, a doll or a personalized gift box is just some ideas.

Flower Girl Alternatives

You can choose to skip out on having flower girls altogether, or you can get creative by giving the role to a friend or family member that isn’t already a part of the wedding party. You can even give this role to a pet who is trained and able to follow the cue of when to walk down the aisle.

Some people are inviting their grandparents to walk down the aisle instead. The idea is that you’re able to incorporate them into your big day and honour them in some way. The act became somewhat of a trend last year and has made the concept of “flower grandmas” a thing.

If you still want the little ones to be a part of your wedding, but you’re not into the origins of the flower girl tradition, you can also have them be greeters at the wedding, waving to guests as they arrive to set a fun, cute mood. Or, if they’re older and capable enough, recruit them to be the ushers who are typically responsible for handing out programs and escorting guests to their respective sides.

While your big entrance will be the most memorable, count on your flower girl’s walk down the aisle to be the most adorable. These pint-sized little cuties know how to steal the show and ensure the grandmothers’ cameras are out in time for your debut. 

But being a flower girl is no easy task. First, you have to be in front of a whole lot of people, some that you know and others that are total strangers. Completely intimidating. And then you have to walk down that long aisle while scattering rose petals or flinging confetti. Fun, but a lot of responsibility. And during this whole time, you’re pretty sure that you are supposed to be smiling. Downright impossible.

So how can you help make the flower girl’s job just a little easier? Make sure your little lady is dressed in something relatively comfortable that she can move in and won’t irritate her skin (unlike your bridesmaids, your flower girl is sure to let everyone know if her dress is bothering her). The most important thing you can do is to have her carry something age-appropriate.

Preschool-aged flower girls might not be able to manage a basket or small bouquet easily, so just give her a stem or two. Also very popular for younger flower girls are flower balls (above, right) with a ribbon that they can either hang on to, or that will dangle from their wrist.

Flower girls that are kindergarten-aged and older have the necessary coordination to hold a small bouquet. They’ll love having something to carry just like the ‘big’ girls!

Remember to make sure that the stems are clear of thorns or sharp leaves that might hurt their hands. Halfway down the aisle is a really inconvenient time to need a band-aid.

Older flower girls also might like the traditional option of carrying a basket of flower petals. Especially for the divas-in-training who are never more comfortable than when they are performing, these little ladies will love skipping along and tossing petals in their wake.

Let your flower girl practice with her basket at home, and don’t hinder the process with gloves or other accessories that might get in the way.

Floral crowns are very sweet on flower girls of all ages (plus you don’t have to worry about a laborious braid or updo getting ruined before showtime). If you have a group of flower girls, put crowns on all of them. Let the older girls walk with an additional bouquet or basket, and toddlers walk alongside them.

As an added bonus, floral crowns pretty much turn any girl into a fairy princess, so make sure that your photographer has time to capture these sweet moments. You can give the photos to their mothers as a thank you present.

Don’t want flowers? You can have your flower girls carry anything (or nothing) down the aisle. Balloons are festive, fun, and light. And what kid doesn’t love a balloon?

Many brides decide they want to have a flower girl in their wedding, usually to include a younger family member, or to have a pretty sprinkling of petals down the aisle. But the flower girl is significant. Her purpose is to lead the bride forward and symbolize the innocence fading away, and her role as a mother and wife coming forward.

The tradition began in Ancient Rome, where the flower girl serviced the bride and groom by carrying wheat and herbs. This was to bless them with prosperity and fertility. Throughout Western Europe, the only people who attended to the bride were those of youth. So all of the attendants in the wedding party were children. Finally, and the most notable of “flower girl visions” is the Victorian flower girl: a young, little girl in a white dress carrying a basket full of rose petals.

Today brides still use flower girls in their wedding, and a lot of the time they prefer to choose a flower girl that will mirror their image. Sometimes the flower girl wears a small version of the bride’s gown, though most of the time she wears a dress similar to that of the other bridesmaids, whether it be in colour, style or both. She is to symbolize innocence, beauty and even good luck.

Your flower girl will certainly need a basket to hold all of those petals, and you’re bound to find something to coordinate with your wedding in our large selection of flower girl baskets. From white to ivory, satin to chiffon, embroidered detailing or even Swarovski crystals, there are no limits. We also offer a flower girl cone, which is a more modern take on the traditional flower girl basket. The cone’s handles are made of a smooth satin ribbon, along with another satin ribbon streaming from the bottom of the cone, and little organza bows at the bases of the handles. You can even personalize it with a single script initial at an additional cost.

Though there aren’t many alternatives to a flower girl, if you’re not having one, you could simply give your guests petal cones and have them sprinkle the aisle as you walk down it. Petal cones make a great alternative to rice or bubbles, but in this case, they would be used during the ceremony rather than after.

Whether you choose to use a flower girl basket or use petal cones, you’re certainly going to need silk rose petals to sprinkle and toss! We offer a huge variety of silk rose petals in every colour imaginable, and even have personalized ones available, as well as floating petals, and others in the shapes of hearts, leaves, or snowflakes. We also offer freeze dried rose petals too.

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