Weddings aren’t just about the couple who’s tying the knot. They’re also about two separate lives coming together, which is why it's tradition to include family members or very close friends in the wedding party. 

But how do you incorporate a sister, daughter, niece or family friend who is in between the typical ages of a flower girl and a bridesmaid (8-14 years old)? One solution: give her the role of “junior bridesmaid.”

What are a junior bridesmaid’s duties?

Unlike many other wedding roles, the junior bridesmaid is a relatively new concept, so the duties are less defined. Typically, she walks down the aisle in the wedding procession with a small bouquet and stands at the far left of the altar during the ceremony.

It’s also common to include a junior bridesmaid in the “getting ready” portion of the day before the ceremony and in the photos with the wedding party. However, during the reception, she’s normally seated with her family, rather than at the head table. 

If you’re short-handed, you might also give her a few extra duties, like handing out programs, seating guests, managing the gift table or guestbook or handing out props (i.e., sparklers, bubbles, confetti, etc.) for the couple’s send-off at the end of the night.  

What pre-wedding events does she attend?

There is no set etiquette for what events the junior bridesmaid is supposed to participate in, so use your best judgment. However, it’s nice to invite her to any age-appropriate festivities along with the rest of the bride squad, so she feels like she’s part of the team. 

Maybe that means going dress shopping or attending a fitting to offer her opinion. Or, perhaps she can attend the afternoon bridal shower and help with preparing favors, decorating and cleaning up afterward. The bachelorette party at a club or bar, on the other hand, is probably best left to the adults. 

What should a junior bridesmaid wear? 

While your junior bridesmaid’s attire should complement the rest of the wedding party, no rule says she needs to match the other bridesmaids. 

Many designers offer bridesmaids dresses in junior sizes so that you could go with a mini version of your bridesmaids’ gowns. Or, you could let her stand out a bit with a dress in the same color scheme, but in a pattern or different fabric. Just be sure to consult with her parents first to find something that works for her age group.

Do we need a junior bridesmaid?

The short answer: no. It’s your wedding, so you shouldn’t feel obligated to find a role for absolutely everyone you know. Like everyone else in a wedding except the couple and the officiant, junior bridesmaids are honorary positions. 

If you want to include a pre-teen in your wedding, you should also feel free to think outside the “junior bridesmaid” box. Perhaps, instead of having them participate in the procession, you ask them to read a special passage or perform a song during the ceremony.

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