First things first: 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.
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.
Who Pays For The Ring Bearer’s Outfit?
Their parents would typically pay for the ring bearer’s outfit, though 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!
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 little tyke 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! A ring bearer can blow bubbles while coming down the aisle, dance, hold your extra-long train…anything!
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!
Since you’ll want your ring bearer, ushers, junior groomsmen,