The flower girl is the bride's ambassador! While petite in size, she has a significant role in the wedding, walking down the aisle, dropping petals, preparing the way for the entrance of the bride.
Tradition holds that a girl carrying flowers should bring extra good luck to the marriage. After the bride, the flower girl is the member of the bridal party most capable of stealing the hearts of all the guests. In choosing the flower girl dress, consider the style, colour, fabric and formality of the occasion. The flower girl should not outshine the bride, but complement her gown while blending with the bridesmaids' outfits.
The Flower Girl Gown
Although bridal styles change from season to season, flower girl fashion has changed very little. The gown is always classically "little princess" in style but in keeping with the style of ceremony - church wedding, beach wedding or garden wedding.
A flower girl's gown should complement the bride. It can be bridal white or ivory, the same colour as the bridesmaid's gowns, or a contrasting colour that complements the outfits of the entire party. If white is chosen for the flowergirl's gown, a colour sash may be used to tie it in with the colour of the bridesmaid's gowns.
The age of the flower girl is a factor when choosing the length of her gown. A small child could trip over a long skirt, so ankle length is better for the "little ones". A younger girl (say 5-6 years old) can wear an ankle length "princess" style dress, while an older girl (10-12 years) might prefer a more sophisticated silhouette with more length. While traditional formal weddings do tend towards floor-length gowns, practicality should be considered as well.
If you are having several flower girls of varying ages, you can co-ordinate their dress styles using colour, fabric and accessories such as flowers or jewellery.
Whatever the style you choose, avoid those that will make your flower girl look too sophisticated for their age. This is an occasion when you want to play up her little girl charms. When else can she have the joy of wearing rustling silk or satin gowns, full petticoats, tulle skirts and big bows?
Perhaps this is why flower girl fashion has remained constant over the years - little girls love dressing up!
Fabrics such as polyester and cheap lace can be very itchy. No matter how precious the flower girl looks, if her gown and shoes are uncomfortable, it will be reflected in her face and behaviour. Scratchy gowns and tight shoes can cause everything from fidgeting to temper tantrums, so take this issue seriously in order to not interrupt the ceremony itself.
If possible, invest in a better fabric, keeping in mind that the dress doesn't have to be a "one-time" dress. It can be re-worn often, from a portrait sitting to a birthday. It can also be preserved and handed down as an heirloom once the child grows out of it.
Choose fabrics that aren't wrinkle prone, such as silk, satin or velvet for the best results. Dupion silk does have a reputation for creasing, but it is actually a pronounced fold that the fabric develops in line with the vertical or horizontal threads, and as such does not appear crushed.
Fabrics and colours for flower girl gowns vary greatly depending on the time of year and the location. If the wedding is in autumn or winter, rich fabrics such as velvet, satin and silk are popular choices not just for their beauty, but because they will keep the chills away. For a spring or summer wedding, lighter fabrics such as dupion silk, delustered satin and tulle.
For the cooler months, a gown with sleeves may be considered, but as the ceremony is usually indoors at this time of year, perhaps a wrap or shawl would be a better choice, allowing clothing to be removed in layers as suits.
Colour will primarily be dependent on the bride's choice for the wedding party.
Also, wait until the very last possible minute to dress your flower girl. Her dress will be free from wrinkles, and you won't have to worry about any food or drink spills just before the ceremony. A nice comfortable robe for the child to wear prior to the final dressing is a good idea.
Flower girl shoes can be a satin or silk "streetwear" style ballet shoe or similar flat shoe that is comfortable and complements the fabric and colour of her gown. If having a beach wedding, a flower girl may go barefoot with a petite silver or gold fine chain anklet or ankle bracelet.
A young child in uncomfortable shoes will fidget, so regardless of anything else ensure that the shoes for the flower girl fit well and are comfortable. If the shoes are stiff, tight, unworn or new it's a good idea to slip them onto the child at the last minute.
A "fresh" look is perfect for a flowergirl. If the girl has natural curls let her hair flow naturally with a flower or a hairpin to finish it off. Floral or ribbon head wreaths, and lightly jewelled tiaras are also popular. if you prefer a bun, adorn it with flowers or hair jewellery matching the bride's attire, always remembering a flower girl represents youth in the bridal party. An elegant silk tiara adorned with satin ribbons flowing gentle behind her hair would also be appropriate.
Flower Girl Jewellery
Flower girl jewellery should be be kept simple. A delicate necklace and bracelet is usually enough to compliment the gown, but tiaras, headpieces, chokers, earrings, and hairpins can also be worn. Simple silver or gold with pearls or coloured Swarovski crystal provides an inexpensive yet elegant finishing touch to the flowergirl ensemble.
Young children may be unused to wearing any jewellery at all and it may become a distraction to them. If this is the case then some pretty hair jewellery (small crystal clips and hair slides) and a simple bracelet would be the best choice.
A wide range of flower girl jewellery and junior bridesmaid jewellery is available online, however many of the pieces marketed in this way are just downsized bridal pieces which may be too flashy for a flower girl to wear, and run the risk of detracting from the bride. Look for formal jewellery specifically made in children's sizes, of a style intended for a flower girl rather than a bride
On the practical side look for a sturdy lobster style clasp to reduce the possibility of loss, and be aware of "spiky bits" on the jewellery that a young child may inadvertently catch on the gown causing damage, or worse, cause injury to themselves with.
The flower girl theme is "natural" and a minimum of makeup is a must. A little light lip gloss, some light foundation, and a touch of mascara to highlight her eyes. Don't forget the sunscreen as majority of photos are taken outside - give some thought to using a foundation that has a 30+SPF factor.
Nail decoration is best kept to a minimum - simply filed to shape and a light clear coat applied. Many brides prefer their flower girls to either wear a light pastel or natural colour, or just a shiny clear lacquer. No bright reds or sparkly kiddy purples!!!
A basket of flowers carried by the flowergirl is a tradition, regardless of the whether the flowergirl carries out her traditional role of sprinkling petals in the bride's path as she walks down the aisle.
As a bridal fashion accessory, a small posy of flowers is also popular, and usually matching the floral adornments (bouquets, buttonholes, etc) of the rest of the bridal party.
Flowers worn in the hair are also a traditional touch, either as flowers woven into the hair style, floral headbands, or flowers attached to hair clips. Artificial silk or satin flowers can be used, as well as fresh flowers.
In all floral adornments and bouquets try to use miniature flowers. A flower girl is half (or less) the size of anyone else in the bridal party, and the size of the flowers should be scaled down accordingly.
Some simple storage and handling advice for your flower girl gown:
- Always dry-clean the gown
- Wash your hands before handling the gown.
- When packing the gown in a box or chest, pack with acid free tissue paper.
- Keep the box stored out of direct sunlight and away from moisture, and away from household fumes and pollutants.
- Store the box where vermin and insects can not get to it.
- Ensure there is adequate air circulation around the box to prevent mustiness.
- To hang the gown, use a material coated hanger and place the gown in a sealed garment bag.