Why You Should Have a Ring Bearer, and 9 Tips for Choosing One

Ring bearers – a charming tradition or an essential part of the ceremony? Why not both? Whether it’s your adorable little nephew with a mischievous grin or your loyal furry friend wagging its tail, ring bearers add that special touch that turns your wedding from beautiful to unforgettable. But hold on, before you hand over those precious rings, there’s more to this decision than cuteness overload. 

Choosing a ring bearer is an art and, dare we say, a science. It’s not just about selecting the most pinchable cheeks in the family. You’ll want to understand roles and set expectations.

It’s also important to know this: You DO NOT have to have a ring bearer, or even a flower girl for that matter. They are not required, even if you know a ton of adorable kids who would love to have the traditional role. OK, now that THAT’S out of the way. If you want to have a ring bearer, here’s what you need to know.

Who Should You Pick to Be Ring Bearer?

Typically the ring bearer is a young family member (such as the nephew of the bride, godchild of the groom, second cousins, younger siblings, etc.). They can also be the child of the maid of honor, best man, or other close friend. If you or your partner have a son that is perhaps too young to be in your wedding party, this is a great role for them as well (same goes for your daughter if she’s young enough to be the flower girl).

Not having kids in your wedding? A recent trend that we personally love is having an adult friend or family member be the ring bearer. Even your grandpa! You can also decide to include your pets. (There are so many cute dog ring bearers!)

Before you answer this important question and make your final decision, you’ll want to make a list of potential ring bearers. If you do end up going with a younger ring bearer, you’ll want to ask their parents permission to participate in the festivities, and if they’re ok being in the spotlight. It’s an important job and you’ll want to make sure you know of any potential issues or quirks ahead of time.

How Old Should the Ring Bearer Be?

As we mentioned above, we have actually seen grandparents or older family friends be flower girls and ring bearers and even bridesmaids (this grandmother made an adorable flower girl), so you could technically choose someone younger or older for the role! But the appropriate age for a ring bearer is anywhere from 2 to 8-years-old.

Just keep in mind that even though they can be all different ages, younger children (like 2-years-old) might be a bit more unpredictable at a wedding ceremony. (And infants are obviously harder to include since they don’t do much! LOL.) Just be sure check with their parents to see how they might take to the responsibility of making it to the end of the aisle (and through the entire service). They might be cute little kids, but the last thing you want to worry about are meltdowns!

What Should the Ring Bearer’s Outfit Be?

The ring bearer’s outfit absolutely depends on your wedding attire, but they should be dressed similarly to the groomsmen. (IE: if they are wearing suits he should wear a little suit. Or, the ring bearer’s outfit could be a tuxedo). You should also consider the venue and time of year. Is it going to be warm or cold? They’ll want to be dressed accordingly. Overall, the outfit requirements are up to you, so think about what you think would work best for your wedding day and what kind of outfit will let the ring bearer’s personality shine.

ring bearer outfit

Ring Bearer Bow Tie & Suspenders

Your ring bearer will look adorable wearing this set, available in multiple color combos to match your wedding theme. Buy on Etsy.

Does the Ring Bearer Have to Be a Boy?

Not at all! The ring bearer can be a boy, girl, or non-binary. The gender roles are completely up to you. You can also consider having your pet be a ring bearer!

How to Include Pets as Ring Bearers

If you have a furry friend you want to include in your wedding, having them be a ring bearer (or flower girl) is the perfect way to do it. Just keep these tips in mind before deciding:

Evaluate Your Pet’s Temperament

This is no small task, and not every pet is suited for it. Consider whether your pet is comfortable around crowds and well-behaved enough to participate without causing disruptions.

Choose the Right Accessories

Your pet will need something to carry the rings (or at least provide the illusion if you have the best man actually keep them in their possession, which we recommend). There are specially made pillows and pouches that can be attached to collars or harnesses. It’s essential to find something that is both secure and comfortable.

Rehearse the Role

A rehearsal or two with your pet will help them (and you) understand what’s expected. If possible, consider enlisting a professional pet trainer or a friend who knows your pet well to assist.

ring bearer dog pouch

Personalized Wedding Ring Bearer Pouch for Cats & Dogs

The perfect ring pouch for your four-legged friend. Buy on Etsy.

Assign a Pet Handler

On your wedding day, someone should be responsible for your pet. This person should know your pet well, understand what’s required, and be able to handle any unexpected situations that may arise.

Embrace Flexibility

As any pet owner knows, pets can be unpredictable. If something doesn’t go exactly as planned, go with the flow. It’s those unscripted moments that often become the most cherished memories.

Consider Your Pet’s Comfort

Make sure there’s a quiet place for your pet to retreat to after their big moment. Keep their needs in mind throughout the celebration.

By taking these factors into account, you can include your pet in your wedding in a way that’s both meaningful and manageable. It’s a detail that will surely add a personal and memorable touch to your special day, creating a bond that symbolizes more than just the union of two people, but of entire families, including the furry members.

Who Pays For The Ring Bearer’s Outfit?

If you’re having a friend or relative’s child be the ring bearer, their parents would typically pay for the ring bearer’s outfit. However, if you wish to give them something to wear as a gift that is always an option. (How adorable would a pair of suspenders or a bow tie be?) You would also pay for a ring pillow or other accessory. Better yet? Consider giving the ring bearer new toys or their favorite candy as a gift for their participation. Or, consider buying them a wagon that they can also be wheeled down the aisle in at your actual wedding ceremony.

No matter who buys the ring bearer’s outfit, keep in mind the children’s clothing sizes can change a lot over the course of a year, so don’t buy it too soon!

Are They Invited to the Reception?

While they should be invited to the rehearsal dinner (along with the parents of young ring bearers), the reception is definitely up to you. However, it’s something you should decide before you ask a little one to be in your wedding. If you are inviting other children to the reception, then they would be invited and would sit with their parents or in a designated kids area (if you are providing supervision). If you do not want children at the reception, then I think it would be generous to let the child’s parents know and pick up the cost of a sitter yourself (since you asked them to be one of the main roles in the wedding). Read more about how to hire a wedding babysitter here!

Does the Ring Bearer Actually Carry the Rings?

If you’re wondering what the ring bearer actually does, we think it depends on their age. If your best friend’s son is going to fill the role, you can give the them a ring cushion with two fakes on it. Then, you would give the best man the real rings instead. If having older ring bearers, you can choose to have them hold the actual rings. It’s completely up to you. Read more about who holds the wedding rings during the ceremony while you’re at the altar (especially if your ring bearers are toddlers vs. older children).

They also don’t have to be confined to only carrying a ring pillow! (More on those, below). A ring bearer can blow bubbles while coming down the aisle, dance, hold your extra-long train…anything! They can also carry the rings in something OTHER than a pillow. Ring pillow alternatives include wooden boxes, baskets, and even cute lunch boxes.

ring security boxes ring bearer

Ring Security Boxes

Looking for a ring pillow alternative? These ‘Ring Security’ boxes will have your ring bearers prepared for duty! Buy on Etsy.

How Do Ring Bearer Pillows Works?

So, you’ve got the love of your life, a stunning venue, and either an adorable nephew, pooch, or grandpa ready to trot down the aisle. But what about those all-important rings? They need to make an entrance too, and that’s where the ring pillow comes into play. Let’s dive into how these plush beauties actually work!

Design and Aesthetics

These aren’t just any pillows; they’re typically made from soft, elegant fabrics like satin or silk. Think of them as the couture of wedding accessories, decked out with lace, ribbons, or other fancy touches that make them fit for your big day.

In terms of sizing, the pillow (or box) needs to be the Goldilocks of accessories – not too big, not too small, but just right. Especially if it’s being carried by a toddler or furry friend.

Attachment Mechanism

The rings are gently secured to the pillow with thin ribbons or delicate strings. It’s a bit like tying a bow on a precious gift – elegant yet functional. If they’re being carried in a box, just make sure the rings are in a ring box inside the larger one.

After the Ceremony

What happens to the pillow (or other carrier) afterward? Some keep it as a memento, or give it to the ring bearer as a gift. You can also take the fabric and repurpose it for another project (such as a baby blanket).

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