As a child I often wanted to be part of a wedding until one day, BINGO, I was chosen. I recall the emotions as a child of a very nervous little boy that all he wanted was not to drop the most precious possession they had trusted him with. The rings! I was a ring bearer. Sure as a child, you just do what you are told, look cute, and try not to steal the show with the cute attire they dressed you in, but what exactly are the official duties and etiquette of a ring bearer?
A ring bearer plays an important and emblematic role in a wedding. Before the wedding day, he will need to be present at the rehearsal dinner. This is where he will get some idea of what will be required from him. He will be instructed as to when he will enter the ceremony, where to stand during the ceremony (if he is mature enough), how to hold and treat the pillow and when and how to exit. They will also go over the reception and placement of all parties during reception. This will benefit him immensely, so that he does not get shy and scared on the day of.
A ring bearer will be first to enter the ceremony usually in front of the flower girl, and then the bride with her father or representative. Some couples prefer that the ring bearer and flower girl enter together. He will carry a large satin pillow that has the two wedding rings sewn onto it. Generally these rings are not the real deal, but often fake so the little tyke does not lose them. Upon reaching the altar, the ring bearer hands the rings to the best man and maid of honor. At this point if the child is mature enough they may ask him to stand with the ushers during the ceremony, if the boy is quite young is best if he sits with his family in the first pew for moral support and encouragement. As the ceremony comes to an end they will also require that the he escort the flower girl out. Some couples use the time between the ceremony and reception for picture taking, if this is the case they require that he take part since he is part of the wedding party.
Although a ring bearer customarily does not sit with the bridal party at the reception it may be required that he dance with the flower girl during the night. If he is mature enough to handle the receiving line he will be asked to stand during this procedure. This is often where guests will congratulate the little prince for his performance throughout the event, his formal attire and how adorable he looks.
Typically a ring bearer is between the ages of 4 and 8, and is regularly a closely related family member of the bride or groom someone like a nephew, brother, godson or close family friend. This is in my opinion one of the most difficult tasks for a couple, while some kids may jump at the chance at being front and center, others may not want to get dressed up, pose for pictures or stand in front of everyone. A couple must be aware of child's personality before choosing the appropriate candidate.
More often than not a ring bearer will be a small version of the groom and wear a matching traditional tuxedo as his formal attire but that is not mandatory. Brides should be mindful that tuxedos are the costlier option, and since etiquette states that the parents of the ring bearer pay for the attire, this should be carefully evaluated. The bride and groom do pay for the pillow.
Normally modern brides will try to change it up a bit from what has always been customary. The attire should complement the bridal party and the overall tone of the reception and ceremony. Choosing the appropriate colors and styles that will match the bride's idea of her perfect day is more important. However it has recently been seen that brides are selecting seer suckers, sailor suits, linen suits for summer or beach theme weddings and during winter months the modern day bride may opt for a velvet Eton suit, or if less formal a traditional suit or blazer. As part of the attire some couples choose accessories like a cap, satin gloves, and boutonnieres to complement the overall look. Take into consideration comfort when choosing the right attire. Have them try it on before your special day so that you don't witness neck tugging while walking down the aisle. Remember that they are children, and as such, if uncomfortable they will let you know or they will adjust accordingly.