Everyone has been to a wedding (or seen one on TV) where a gaggle of flower girls in puffy dresses and ring boys in little suits come down the aisle and we all say, “Awwww!” After all, what could be cuter? But do these roles make sense for your wedding? And if not, what are some alternatives to flower girls and ring boys?

Find out below!

First: Do we still need to call them flower girls & rings boys? 

The terms “flower girls” and “rings boys” are obviously and unnecessarily gendered. In an industry that is already so gendered, let’s remove as many gender norms from weddings as we can please!

Of course, children of all genders can hold rings, hold flowers or be in your wedding party. There’s no reason to split the kids down traditional gender lines. While it might not feel like a big deal, we guarantee someone in your community will appreciate you making this simple change.

Second: Do you need kids in your wedding party? 

Before you start thinking of alternatives, do you even need kids in your wedding party? Maybe not. Maybe you’re not inviting kids to the wedding at all!

It is absolutely not mandatory to have flower kids or ring bearers in your wedding party. If you don’t have children in your life that you’re close to, it’s not worth the hassle just for the cute photo opp. While tiny tuxedos coming down the aisle sounds cute, don’t forget about all of the work that goes into wrangling kids.

On the other hand, you may have special kids in your life but choose not to include them in your wedding party or ceremony processional for a variety of reasons. That’s totally fine! You can still include them in photos, speeches or other parts of your wedding day.

If you do plan to include kids in your wedding party, check out our post: 10 Rules for Having Kids in Your Wedding Party.

flower girl getting a kiss from the bride and groom at young hip and married wedding
by J Chan Photography

15 alternatives to flower girls & ring boys for your wedding

1 – Change the titles

As we mentioned above, let’s remove the unnecessary gender tags on these roles! You can still have children in your wedding, but let’s change their titles to something more modern, more inclusive and, frankly, more fun!

Here are some great alternatives to flower girls & ring boys:

  • Flower carriers
  • Ring bearers
  • Flower kids
  • Wedding kids
  • Junior wedding attendants
  • Best kiddos
  • The fellowship of the ring

2 – Enlist a flower dude or flower crew

Instead of having a group of small kids carry flowers down the aisle, why not enlist a few of your favourite adults? This is a great way to eliminate the hassle of dealing with kids coming down the aisle and include more of your adult besties in your wedding.

Plus, this option lets you have a lot more fun! We’ve all the seen the videos of “flower men” coming down the aisle and throwing petals from their belt bags with so much pizazz that your guests can’t help but laugh and cheer. What a way to start a ceremony!

3 – Ask your grandparents to be your flower carriers

If you rather be sentimental than silly, why not ask Grandma to take on the role of flower carrier? This is another trend we’ve seen lately and there’s truly nothing more adorable than watching a sweet granny come down the aisle with a basket of petals.

This is a great way to include your grandparents in your wedding party and honour them during your ceremony. And while this trend is often seen with grandmothers, there’s no reason why grandfathers or any grandparents couldn’t take part!

4 – Send your dog down the aisle!

Many couples are skipping the flower kiddos and choosing to send Fido down the aisle instead! This is a great way to include your fur baby in your wedding ceremony and give them the spotlight they deserve.

Of course, a lot of consideration and planning needs to go into including a pet in your wedding ceremony. Ensure it’s something you, your venue and, most importantly, your dog are all comfortable with before making any plans.

wedding dog, dog ring bearer, dog at wedding ceremony
by Erica Miller Photography

5 – Opt for a flower baby

What’s cuter than a little, tiny baby coming down the aisle? Nothing! Imagine a little baby in a tuxedo onesie or perhaps an Anne Geddes-style floral outfit. Too cute!

Of course, a tiny baby isn’t going to be able to walk themselves down the aisle. You’ll need to have someone carry them and, most likely, a back-up plan should the adorable baby decide to do what babies do, cry the whole time!

6 – Give the rings to an adult in your wedding party

There’s no reason why ring bearers have to be small children. In fact, traditionally, the ring bearer was one of the groom’s attendants in the wedding party.

So skip the pint-sized ring bearer role entirely and just ask someone else in your wedding party to hold the rings. This is the perfect job for a person of honour (FKA maid of honour) or best person (FKA best man).

7 – Give the rings to your parents

An incredibly sweet way to include your parents in your wedding ceremony is to ask them to hold onto your wedding rings. After the processional, most parents take a seat in the front row and aren’t involved in the ceremony again. In some cases, parents who don’t walk in during the processional aren’t involved in the ceremony at all!

Fix that by asking your parents to hold onto the rings. Be sure to make a moment out of turning to them to retrieve the rings before your ring exchange. We’re sure they’ll love it!

8 – Carry each other’s rings

Since you have to put your partner’s ring on their finger and they have to put your ring on your finger, why not just carry each other’s rings in the first place? We’re here for it! Not only is this a practical solution, but it’s also very sweet to think that you’ll be keeping your partner’s ring warm the whole time.

If you opt for this alternative, make it someone else’s job to remind you to grab the ring before you leave your getting ready area. You also want to make sure you have a good place to keep the ring that you can easily access during the ceremony. Unfortunately, not all wedding outfits allow for this!

wedding rings, ring exchange at wedding ceremony, young hip and married
by The Macleans

9 – Do something outside of the box!

There’s no reason why you have to do the same old thing with your flowers and rings! Officiant Shawn once led a ceremony where the couple had a trained bird of prey swoop in and deliver the rings directly to Shawn. He wore a special glove and everything!

Of course, you don’t have to involve birds of prey in your ceremony. But it never hurts to think outside of the box! Could you have the rings come in on zip-line or have them parachuted down to you from above? Get creative!

10 – Have a ring warming

A ring warming allows all of your guests to “warm” your rings with their love before the ceremony starts, either by passing them around or having a place where guests can see and touch them before they sit down.

The logistics of a ring warming can be hard to arrange, but it’s worth it if you love the idea of having your guests more involved in your ring exchange!

For more creative ideas, check out our post: 30 Fun Ideas for Your Wedding Ceremony

11 – Ask the kids to carry something else

There’s no reason why the kids in your wedding party have to carry flowers or rings. In fact, the idea that a kid might lose the wedding rings is a real fear for most couples (and the reason why most mini ring bearers either don’t carry the rings, or only receive them moments before walking down the aisle).

Here are a few things the kids can carry instead:

  • Cute signs
  • Lanterns (without a flame!)
  • Balloons
  • Confetti
  • Nothing! They can simply hold hands or come down the aisle together.

When choosing an item for the kids to carry, there are four things you should not choose:

  • Nothing the venue won’t allow: Many venues have rules against throwing items like confetti or rice.
  • Nothing dangerous: You don’t want kids carrying candles with open flames, for example.
  • Nothing complicated: Kids shouldn’t be asked to carry pets or smaller children in their arms.
  • Nothing you wouldn’t want to lose: The vow books, for example, would be a bad idea to ask the kids to carry.
flower carriers and wedding kids coming down the aisle with kids in wagon
by Barbarich Photo

12 – Use floral decor

Instead of having an official flower carrier, you can just incorporate more florals into your wedding decor. And if it’s specifically the look of petals on the aisle that you want, that’s something you can arrange with your wedding vendors ahead of time.

In fact, it’s probably best to have a professional wedding vendor place the petals on your aisle rather than a six year old. We’ve all seen them drop a basketful of petals at one end and completely forget the rest of the aisle!

13 – Have junior attendants instead

As we shared above, having young kids in your wedding party is not always the best idea. They can get stage fright, they can lose things, and they can be hard to wrangle without constant supervision, naps and a juice box!

So why not include older kids in your wedding instead? If you have any older kids or young teens in your life, including them as junior attendants in your wedding party might be the perfect thing. They’re too mature for the role of “ring bearer” but too young to party with the adults during the bachelor or bachelorette events – so a junior attendant role is perfect!

14 – Give the kids another role in your wedding

There are lots of ways to involve kids in your wedding – they don’t just have to be flower carriers or ring bearers. Some children may not be comfortable walking down an aisle, feel the flower/ring bearer role is too junior for them, or may not be part of the ceremony at all if you’re having an adults-only ceremony.

Here are some other ways to involve your kids in your wedding:

  • Take photos with them while you’re getting ready
  • Do a first look with them
  • Share a special dance with them at the reception
  • Ask them to give a speech
  • Include them in the wedding party photos
  • Have them wear matching outfits
flower girls kissing the bride before wedding ceremony
by John Bello Photography

15 – Skip flower girls and ring boys entirely!

Last but not least, one of the best alternatives to flower girls and ring boys is to skip the tradition entirely! As we shared above, these roles are not necessary and you can absolutely skip them if you don’t have children you’re close to, it seems like too much of a hassle, or you simply don’t want to.

If none of the alternatives above resonate with you – or still sound like more trouble than they’re worth – go ahead and skip them too! We’re all about throwing out wedding traditions that don’t work for you and only keeping elements that truly represent you two.

  • Don’t force yourself to create a Flower Dude role if the idea of a grown man coming down the aisle with petals makes you cringe.
  • Don’t spend weeks looking for flower replacements because your venue doesn’t allow petals or confetti.
  • And don’t waste another minute trying to plan a pet-friendly processional if you know your pooch would rather stay home!

As we always say: it’s your wedding, your way. Get rid of anything that doesn’t work for you (including other people’s expectations!) so you can create a day you’ll love.

Will you be having flower carriers and ring bearers at your wedding? Or are you trying one of these alternatives? Let us know!

And don’t forget to book your wedding officiant for your ceremony – one role that you can’t skip if you want to be legally wed!