The ring bearer plays a key role in modern-day wedding ceremonies. Just as their name suggests, they essentially “bear” both the groom’s and bride’s rings. But there’s much more to the ring bearer than this. When you’re busy planning your wedding, it’s important to include them in the ceremony. To learn more about the responsibilities and expectations of ring bearers, keep reading.

While there are always exceptions, the ring bearer is typically a young boy between the ages of three to ten. Designating a boy younger than three to this role may confuse them. Stick with ring bearers over the age of three to ensure your ceremony runs smoothly and without any problems. While watching the ring bearer take off in the opposite direction will probably get some memorable chuckles, it will also slow down the ceremony.

One of the most common questions soon-to-be newlyweds have regarding the ring bearer is when exactly do they walk down the aisle? The truth is, it varies depending on the couple’s preference. With that said, the ring bearer and flower girl typically walk down the aisle immediately after the bride. The priest and groom stand at the alter while awaiting the bride’s arrival. Once the bride (whom is usually accompanied by her father) reaches the alter, the ring bearer begins to walk down the aisle with the flower girl right behind. Of course, the flower girl’s responsibility is to throw out flower petals as she travels down the aisle.

There are a few things you should know about choosing a ring bearer for your wedding.

For starters, it’s recommended that you choose someone with an “outgoing” personality.

The sight of a large, quiet crowd is undoubtedly unnerving for some small children. Other children, however, are completely unmoved by the sight of a crowd. 

Ideally, you should designate a family member with the role of ring bearer.

If this isn’t an option, though, you can always ask a close friend if their child would like to handle the job.

The rings are typically attached to a small pillow with a string.

There are special “ring bearer” pillowsWhen the ring bearer arrives at the alter, the priest asks each of the soon-to-be newlyweds to repeat the vows before exchanging rings. The rings are easily removed from the pillow thanks to the simple string ribbon design.

Another decision you’ll have to make: whether to allow the ring bearer to carry your real wedding rings.

It’s a common assumption that ring bearers always carry the bride and groom’s real rings, but this isn’t the case. If you aren’t comfortable placing your rings in the safety of a child, you may want to give them fake rings. The ring bearer will still walk down the aisle, but once they reach you, you can take the real rings from the priest or your pocket.