Are you planning on having Flower Girls in your wedding? Or do you have children in the family who you would love to include on your most special day?

Whether you are blending two families together, have darling nieces or have a friend who has a sweet daughter who you want to be a part of the festivities, there are many ways to include children in your wedding.

Three Roles for "Flower Girls"

The most popular position for children is "Flower Girl". However, there are really three distinct roles for little girls in your wedding - which one(s) appeal to you most?

• Flower Girl - a child attendant wearing a child-like dress in either Tea or Formal length who usually carries a basket of petals the she may sprinkle on the aisle or path announcing the arrival of the Bride.

• Miniature (or Junior) Bride - a child dressed like a bride. This role comes from medieval times as a decoy to lure evil spirits away from the Bride to avoid a curse on the marriage. She may wear a miniaturized version of the Bride's gown (perhaps the Bride's gown manufacturer or custom dressmaker can accommodate) or a wedding-style gown complete with train and flowing headpiece. She carries a bouquet.

• Junior Brides Maid - while not really an official title, older girls certainly prefer this designation. These young ladies are usually dressed to coordinate more with the Brides Maids rather than a little girl's dress. This can be tricky, but there are wonderful choices for this age group's dresses in Pre-Teen and young Teen.

You can select one - or all! Many brides today are opting for several children in their wedding party. The benefits are obvious since the children are so easy to please with the styles you select for them to wear. And their attire can be beautifully coordinated. Color is an important key. Selecting the Colors

White or ivory dresses are the most popular (always coordinated with the color of the Bride's gown). But color can be gorgeous! There are many alternatives; consider the following:

• A white or ivory dress and add a sash in a color close to the color of the Bride's Maids dresses. It may be possible to order extra fabric from the company where you order the Bride's Maids' dresses to have sashes made up. Or, you can select a similar color from a child's dress company - matching perfectly is not that important so you can choose something similar or contrasting (see below). Another option is using a wide double-faced satin ribbon from a fabric store in a great color for the sashes.

• A white or ivory flower-petal filled dress. These are classic flower girl dresses! Select flower petals in the color of the flowers everyone will carry or the color of the Bride's Maids' dresses. You can even add several color petals to these dresses (they always come with an opening to add or remove petals). It is not necessary to have exactly matching petals since the fabric of the dress holding the petals is considered a "buffer" that diffuses color and can help many different shades go well together.

• Order Flower Girl dresses from the same company - at the same time from the same dye lot - as the Bride's Maids dresses. This is the only way to match purchased dresses.

• Have all the dresses - Flower Girls and Brides Maids - made custom from the same fabric from the same dye lot to insure a match.

• Select a beautifully coordinating color for the Flower Girls. A dark navy blue theme wedding could look gorgeous with little ones in a lighter shade of blue while burgundy weddings may look stunning with pink -- or - dress the children in the color of the flowers everyone will be carrying.

Any of these approaches can produce beautiful results and gorgeous photographs for your memories.