I’ve seen the best man hand over the rings to the groom.
I’ve witnessed an English Bulldog amble down the aisle outfitted with a tiny pillow carrying the rings.
Of course, I’ve enjoyed the antics of a too-cute ring bearer.
But truth be told, beyond carrying the rings, I didn’t know much about ring bearers! We didn’t have one, and my son wasn’t yet born when my closest friends and family members got married. It was high time I learned about this quintessential wedding party role!
So I did plenty of digging and gathered the details to give you a quick guide to ring bearers. Welcome to Ring Bearer 101.
(Don’t worry – there won’t be a test.)
- All About Ring Bearers
- How Do I Choose a Ring Bearer?
- Ring Bearer Attire
- Ring Pillows And Alternatives
All About Ring Bearers
What Is the Role of a Ring Bearer?
The origins of the ring bearer aren’t clear. Ancient Egyptians were thought to use a pillow to carry wedding jewelry. Old-world Europeans had a male member of the wedding party hand the rings off with the tip of a sword. We can see elements of modern ring bearer roles in these traditions. Still, it seems like somewhere along the way, someone wanted to up the cuteness factor.
Low and behold, today’s ring bearer was born, and tasked with the responsibility of looking adorable while carrying the bride and groom’s rings down the aisle. The ring bearer will walk down the aisle after the wedding party. The ring bearer goes after the maid or matron of honor and before the flower girl. When they reach the altar, they usually pass the rings on to your officiant or the best man.
However, your aww-inducing ring bearer doesn’t need to be able to walk at all! Most ring bearers are between the ages of three and eight. This is so they can perform the job on their own. But that doesn’t mean younger or older children can’t be honored with the job.
Younger ring bearers can be escorted by the flower girl(s), carried by familial members of the wedding party, or even pulled down in a decorated wagon. Cute.
But my first thought was, if they can’t walk, how can they be trusted with the rings?! Even the grown adult best man can feel the pressure of such a great responsibility.
You might be surprised to find out that only the bravest souls allow their ring bearers to carry the actual wedding bands. Many couples use decoy bands and choose to keep the real rings in the officiants or best man’s pocket.
It’s a big job for a little boy. Or, girl, or pet. Your ring bearer doesn’t have to be a boy – or even a human. The tradition isn’t married (pun intended) to gender, so feel comfortable choosing whoever you think is suitable for the role! Or, go without a ring bearer entirely. It’s your wedding day.
How Do I Choose a Ring Bearer?
Choosing a ring bearer is just like picking another member of your wedding party. There are two components. The first is that the selected person is often someone who you are close to, like a family member or friend, or in this case, the child of a friend.
The second part of the equation is their character and personality. Pick someone who you are confident in completing the task. We all love adorable little kids in our weddings, but we don’t want them to steal the show for the wrong reason. If the little one you have in mind is shy or very stubborn (read: susceptible to a tantrum), you might want to reconsider. Or think of ways to avoid disaster.
How Old Should a Ring Bearer Be?
Wedding ring bearers are commonly between the ages of three to eight years old, though this isn’t a firm rule. Remember, most couples want them to walk down the aisle. Commonly, children younger than three won’t walk on their own down an aisle full of strangers without lots of bribery or a miracle.
If the person you have in mind exceeds this age, consider forgoing the ring bearer and making them a junior groomsman. What’s a junior groomsman? A wedding party member who’s too old to be a ring bearer but not old enough to be a groomsman. Though there’s been a recent trend of college-aged male flower “men,” so anything is possible!
Side note: our editor’s cousin just got married and had a 28-year-old flower man, complete with a fanny pack full of petals. It was hilarious. He also happened to double as the “ring bearer” and delivered the rings to the best man once he made it down the aisle.
If you are going for a more laid-back wedding vibe, we highly recommend considering this goofy trend. You’re sure to get some genuine smiles in your photos, at least!
What Should a Ring Bearer Wear?
Your ring bearer’s attire should be consistent with the rest of your wedding party. The easiest way to make everyone look cohesive is to pay attention to color schemes. Don’t forget about matching formality, too.
Who Should Pay for the Ring Bearer’s Outfit?
If you’re already stressed about the budget, you’ll be relieved to know that the child’s parents usually pay for the ring bearer outfit. On occasion, depending on the relationship to the bride or groom, one member of the happy couple might buy the attire.
Ring Bearer Attire
1. Little Ralph Lauren Suit Separates
A suit is classic ring bearer attire. We particularly love the versatility of these separates.
Your youngest bridal party member can either wear a dressy shirt with suit pants or opt for a suit jacket with khakis. Available in a variety of colors, you’re sure to find the perfect outfit to match your wedding theme. Crisp and sophisticated, it’s hard to go wrong with this coordinating set.
2. Baby/Toddler Suspender Tuxedo Outfit
You can’t deny the over-the-top adorableness of a baby in a tuxedo!
This formal suit even comes with sweet little suspenders and a bow tie. The cotton blend is cool and comfortable – helpful in avoiding temper tantrums. Stylish and practical, we love how many color combos there are. Plus, it’s definitely something he can wear over and over (his parents will thank you!).
3. Baby/Toddler Suit Vest Set
by A&J DESIGN
If you’re in love with the baby suspender suit but want something a touch more formal, consider this vest option.
It pairs the charming pants, long sleeve button-up, and bow tie from above with a handsome vest. The cotton blend is surprisingly breathable and won’t cause irritation to delicate skin. Three color options seamlessly work with almost any wedding party attire. It’s the easiest way to take your ring bearer from good looking kid to a handsome gentleman.
4. Ring Bearer Outfit Accessory Set
by Etsy: armoniia
Sometimes you’re lucky enough to find that your ring bearer already has a top and bottom to wear.
If that’s the case, a few accessories might be just what he needs. This suspender, newsboy hat, bow tie combo is a simple way to elevate his style and coordinate with your wedding colors. It’s a lot more affordable than buying an entire suit and lets you customize his wardrobe to suit your needs.
5. Linen Ring Bearer’s Outfit
by Etsy: StitchloreClothing
We absolutely adore this linen ring bearer outfit that would be just perfect for a boho casual theme.
Perfect for an outdoor wedding, it’s relaxed, comfortable, and chic. A classic vest and delightful bow tie pair with an oh-so-cute pair of suspender shorts. Yes, shorts! Is there a more dapper look for a spring or summer wedding? We think not!
Ring Pillows And Alternatives
1. Floral Ring Bearer Pillow
by Etsy: SERENITY
This pillow is truly stunning. Thanks to its gentle blush coloring, the floral arrangement works effortlessly well with nearly any wedding décor. A simple ribbon on a plush white pillow completes the elegant look.
2. Linen Monogram Ring Bearer Pillow
by Etsy: SarahNanDesigns
Rustic brides rejoice! This is the perfect pillow for your laidback wedding. Made from textured linen personalized with a monogram. The linen color, thread color and ribbon pillow can be customized.
3. Embroidered Ring Pillow
This pillow is a classic, and we love how easily it can become a treasured keepsake. Delicate fabric is embroidered with dainty white lace and just a few touches of beading. It’s such a pretty way to show off your rings and will undoubtedly look fabulous in photos.
4. Ivory Ring Cushion with Greenery
by Etsy: raggawedding
We love how this pillow rides the line between casual and formal. It has just the right balance of rustic and chic with ivory linen fabric, a satin ribbon, and a floral arrangement featuring eucalyptus and lambs ear. A stunning fabric rose is a centerpiece, complementing the gorgeous earthen tones and natural-look fibers.
5. Custom Wooden Wedding Ring Box
by Etsy: JenArtsyWood
If you want something out-of-the-box, take a look at this breathtaking ring box! Crafted from natural wood, it suits all types of themes, from rustic to gothic. Silver embellishments complement the dark wood. Inside is a beautiful bed of natural Norwegian moss to lay your rings on.
6. Personalized Glass Ring Box
by Etsy: Sooooound
This personalized glass ring box will instantly become a cherished heirloom. Its hexagonal frame, complete with gold, rose gold or black edging gives off serious vintage vibes. On the lid of the box, you can choose to commemorate your wedding with a gorgeous personalized script in a lovely white font.
7. Customized Double Ring Box
by Etsy: MUUJEE
How cool is this double ring box? It certainly is a different take on the classic, but we adore it! It’s small, slim, and crafted from natural wood. The stained exterior can be engraved with a name, date, or image. Inside, the velvet-lined compartments safely and neatly hold your wedding rings. It will indeed become a staple on your dresser or bedroom table after it makes its way down the ceremony aisle.
Ring Bearer Blessings for the Happy Couple
Children have long been included in weddings with the idea that they bring innocence and blessings of prosperity. We’re all for this symbolism, if it means we get to feature our adorable nephew or son in a too-cute suit!
Hopefully, you found some great inspiration for the role of your own ring bearer in your wedding. But remember: ultimately, it’s your big day. Let a “little man” bear the rings, leave it to the best man, or maybe shake things up and go sans ring bearer altogether. Whatever brings a smile to your face as you walk down that aisle!
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Megan’s wedding experience began over a decade ago when planning her dream ceremony. Since then, three kids have been added to the mix. Megan wholeheartedly embraces all things baby, childhood, and family. When she isn’t writing or chasing little ones you can find her running, hiking, or reading.