When Your Ring Bearer Is Reluctant

Posted by: Dareth Colburn

We admit it: we love children in weddings. That British tradition of having a whole heard of little ones carrying the bride’s train slays us every time. Most of us don’t necessarily have access to a herd of children but few and far between are the brides (and grooms) who don’t have any nieces or nephews, friends with small children, or even small children of their own. Acquiring a child to fill the role of ring bearer, flower girl, or even train carrier isn’t the issue here.

ring bearer responsibilities

The issue is that wee ones are notoriously fickle. They may be excited to participate in a wedding – until they actually find out what a wedding is. They may agree to accept the responsibilities of ring bearer or flower girl and then at the very last minute, refuse to walk down the aisle. They have this tricky habit of bursting into tears at a moment’s notice. And many would rather eat a bug than walk solo between two crowds of grownups with snapping iPhones.

What can one do about a child who has indicated I every possible way that he is pumped to be a ring bearer and then freaks on the big day?

Well, nothing much in the moment. If your ring bearer digs in his heals and steadfastly refuses to participate then you’re out of luck.

ring bearer duties

What you can do is make every effort before your wedding day to help him understand what he’ll be doing along with every effort to make the experience nice for him. For instance:

  • There are books for little ones that describe what happens during a wedding ceremony and what ring bearers actually do. Be sure to give a copy of one or more of them to the little guy’s parents.
  • Make sure he knows that the rings on his pillow or tree ring or teddy are not the real deal so if he has some kind of last-minute oopsie it is okay and he won’t end up disrupting the whole works by hiding in the bathroom and scaring the bejeezus out of everyone.
  • Don’t make him go it alone. Let him walk down the aisle with his mom or dad and he’ll be less inclined to bolt. Or aim him toward someone familiar (like mom or dad) in the front row.
  • Make sure there are plenty of treats on hand. Bribery is one of the oldest tricks in the book because it works. Let your reluctant ring bearer know that there is candy at the end of the tunnel!

Got any more tips for brides-to-be with less than enthusiastic ring bearers and flower girls? Let’s hear them!

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