A traditional bridal party will have a few bridesmaids and groomsmen, as well as a flower girl and ring bearer. But sometimes a bride will have a much younger sister, an older niece, or even a cousin or family friend they are close to in spirit, if not in age. Girls who are too old to be a flower girl but too young to be a bridesmaid can wind up feeling excluded from the big day. That’s where the option of being a junior bridesmaid comes in, typically regarded as a position for girls from ages nine to 14. The “in between” job is perfect for those in the “in between” ages. Of course, the issue is figuring out how involved your junior bridesmaid actually is in the proceedings, which is why we’ve laid out a guide below.
Here are some suggestions to consider if you'll be having a junior bridesmaid at your nuptials:
- Get permission. As with a flower girl or ring bearer, you should ask her parents before offering the junior bridesmaid position.
- Be inclusive. She should attend the bridal shower, and perhaps even help with favors or games. You also might want to bring her along to shop for your bridal gown, or at least to a fitting. She’ll probably get a kick out of it!
- Make her feel special. While your junior bridesmaid should not attend the bachelorette party, perhaps you can have a separate outing to make it up to her. We recommend lunch, a shopping trip, or getting manicures and pedicures together!
- Be considerate of the dress. Depending on the bridesmaid dresses, she may wear a more modest version of the bridesmaid gowns.
- Remember growing pains. Keep in mind that a junior bridesmaid may go through a growth spurt, so hold off on getting the dress as long as you can.
- Have a morning itinerary. If the whole family is involved with getting ready, she should come along; however, if it's just going to be you and your bridesmaids sipping mimosas, maybe she can pop in later. It also depends on how well she knows the other bridesmaids.
- Plan the processional. A junior bridesmaid should walk down the aisle before the others. If there are equal amounts of groomsmen and you want everyone in pairs, she can be escorted. Otherwise she may walk alone or can always walk your dog down the aisle.
- Make a shot list. You should have some photos with her alone and with the other bridesmaids, but if you also want pictures with just the group of older 'maids, that's okay.
For more bridal party inspiration, view images of bridesmaids and flower girls in our photo galleries! Find out how to make guests comfortable, learn what to avoid to keep them happy, and gather tips for bridesmaid dress shopping.