Since weddings have existed for centuries, these celebrations are steeped in tradition. That said, while some couples appreciate the notion of partaking in a longstanding history, others find that some of the time-honored rituals are outdated and unrepresentative of their relationships. One such example is the gendered role of the flower girl.
For years, only little girls have been considered for taking on the task of tossing petals down the aisle, but now, more modern couples are asking boys—and even flower men—to play the part. “As wedding culture evolves and becomes more inclusive, we are naturally seeing folks of all ages and gender representations involved in every aspect of the ceremony and reception,” planner Emily Gaikowski of Heartthrob Events explains.
Meet the Expert
- Emily Gaikowski is a wedding planner with a decade of experience and the owner of Heartthrob Events in Los Angeles.
- Akeshi Akinseye is the founder of Kesh Events, a global luxury wedding and event planning and design company based in Chicago.
- Jove Meyer is the owner and creative director of his eponymous event planning and design firm in New York City.
If you’re thinking about including a flower boy at your wedding, we called upon our Rolodex of experts to give you the rundown on this special role. Below, here’s everything to know about flower boys, from selecting the right candidate to determining the best attire.
The Roles and Responsibilities of a Flower Boy
Just like flower girls, a flower boy is a child in the wedding party whose main duty is to toss flower petals down the aisle before the bride. According to planner Akeshi Akinseye of Kesh Events, these VIP children pave the way for the soon-to-be-wed (either the bride and/or groom), signifying “beauty, love, and the journey ahead.” Planner Jove Meyer notes that flower boys set the tone for the ceremony and infuse the service with a lighthearted, joyful moment that’s guaranteed to have a positive impact on the audience.
How to Know If a Flower Boy Is Right for Your Wedding
If you have a nephew or godson, or you’re close with a friend’s son, you might consider integrating the flower boy role into your ceremony. While you could always ask this beloved child to step up to the plate as a ring bearer, having a flower boy is best for those who are looking to eschew well-established customs and do something different and unexpected. “This is a great idea for any couple looking for some inclusivity, personal touches, or a modern twist to their ceremony,” Akinseye shares.
The planner does, however, stress the importance of intentionality: Only incorporate a flower boy into your wedding if it resonates with you and will add value to your big day, not because you’re trying to keep up with a trend. “It’s essential to remember that the addition of any role, whether traditional or modern, should reflect the couple’s values, style, and relationships, ensuring that the day feels authentic to them,” she notes.
Tips for Including a Flower Boy in Your Wedding
Once you’ve decided that a flower boy will enhance your ceremony, it’s time to select the right contender (or contenders) and integrate them into your big day. Below, the experts reveal a few tips to keep in mind when embracing this role at your wedding.
Pay Attention to Their Age
Finding the right person for the role might seem like a straightforward task if there’s a little boy in your life with whom you have a special relationship. However, if there are multiple candidates and you need to narrow down your selection, only consider those who are an appropriate age. According to Gaikowski, the best age for a flower boy is between two and eight years old. “Anyone over eight could be considered a junior wedding party member, and anyone under two will struggle with such a long day and big task,” the planner explains.
Consider Their Personality
Additionally, it’s important to gauge the child’s interest level and temperament. If the boy is enthusiastic about the task and is generally an outgoing kid, he will probably thrive as a flower boy. Alternatively, if he is more timid or shy, asking him to fulfill such an important duty might put him in an uncomfortable situation. “Most kids are excited to be involved in such a big moment and find it really fun, but if a child is really uncomfortable or anxious, it puts a lot of stress on the parents and distracts them from the ceremony,” Gaikowski shares.
Clearly Communicate Expectations for the Role
According to Akinseye, one of the biggest mistakes couples make when it comes to flower boys is assuming that everyone understands the role. So well before your big day, make sure that you relay a detailed summary of the duties to the child’s parents—and if the flower boy is old enough to comprehend the responsibility, share a rundown with him as well. In addition to covering the logistics, remember to set expectations about other important details, like smiling, eye contact, and pace, according to Meyer.
Since practice makes perfect, make sure to schedule a practice run with your flower boy ahead of the wedding day. We also recommend asking the child’s parents to rehearse with him a few times before the big moment.
Choose the Correct Seating Arrangement
Meyer explains that flower boys often sit with their parents in the front row or stand with the wedding party if their parent is a member. However, if the child is young and likely to make noise during the ceremony, the planner suggests seating them closer to the exit. About a week before the wedding, the planner advises sharing the seating chart with the parents of the flower boy, so they can get accustomed to the layout.
How to Ask a Flower Boy to Be in Your Wedding
Wondering what’s the best way to “propose” to your flower boy? Here’s what the experts suggest.
Talk to the Parents First
Before you talk to the child, make sure you get permission from the parents of the desired flower boy. (Meyer suggests calling, emailing, or texting them with the request.) It’s also important to give the parents as much notice as possible, so they can plan accordingly.
Organize a Thoughtful Proposal
Once the parents have given you their blessing, propose to the flower boy about a month or two before the big day. Akinseye recommends popping the question with a handwritten card and a meaningful gift that’s catered to his interests to highlight how much the child means to you. While younger boys might not be able to fully comprehend the role, receiving a present will signify the importance and make them feel special.
The Best Attire Ideas for Your Flower Boy
Based on the dress code, venue, season, and wedding party, the experts share some suggested clothing for your flower boy, as highlighted below.
Based on the Dress Code
If you’re throwing a black-tie event, your flower boy will probably want to wear a more elevated outfit, such as a mini tuxedo or a suit and tie. For more casual affairs, these children can dress in button-down shirts and nice pants, like corduroys or khakis, with suspenders or a tie.
Based on the Venue
When ceremonies take place on rough terrain, like sand, grass, or gravel, flower boys are more likely to trip and fall if they aren’t wearing the right shoes. With these types of surfaces, we recommend a sturdy pair of footwear with a sole. Regardless, make sure to let your flower boy’s parents know about the venue well in advance.
Based on the Season
In warmer seasons or climates, an outfit made with a lightweight fabric, like linen, will keep flower boys cool for the duration of the service. For colder-weather celebrations in the fall or winter, thicker materials, such as velvet, will provide optimal warmth.
Based on the Wedding Party
For a cohesive event, it’s best to match the flower boys with the rest of your wedding party. For example, if the groomsmen are wearing navy suits, consider having your flower boy don a similar outfit.
Alternative Ideas for Flower Boys at Your Wedding
Besides throwing flower petals, there are many other ways to get the flower boy involved in your big day. Read on for our expert-approved ideas.
Distribute Whole Flowers
Instead of sprinkling petals during the processional, flower boys can hand out whole flowers at the start of the ceremony. Akinseye recommends stationing the child at the entrance and having him hand each guest a bloom once they arrive. You can even have the flower boy pass out boutonnières or corsages for friends and family to wear.
Ride in a Wagon
If the flower boy is too young to walk down the aisle by himself, try sitting him in a wagon decorated with flowers, Akinseye suggests. One of his parents can push him down the aisle, which will make him feel more comfortable and will surely elicit joy from your guests.
Accompany the Ring Bearer
Rather than separating the flower boy and ring bearer, why not combine the two of them into one procession? Watching one child throw petals while the other carries the ring will bring a whole new level of adorable to your ceremony.