Flower girls traditionally take part in the wedding ceremony and walk down the aisle with a basket of flowers and drop flower pedals as they proceed. They are by no means required at a wedding, but should you want to go with one it is a good idea to get an understanding of what they do.
Flowers girls are usually young members of the family, the wedding couples' own children, nieces or close family friends, and between the ages of 4 – 8. They are often dolled up and sent to walk down the aisle before the bride and her father. Typically flower girls carry a basket of wedding flowers that might match or accent nicely the bride's bouquet or the other colors used in the wedding.
The younger the precious little flower girl is, the less likely she is to be focused on her role. That might mean that unplanned things happen, which can be adorable if they do something cute, or frustrating if they are misbehaving. Judge not only the age of the flower girl, but her maturity level and ability to focus and do as they are instructed.
If you are having your bride's dress specially made, you might be able to get a much smaller version of the same dress made for the flower girl. Sometimes they even come in sets for bride and flower girl. Often times the flower girl is the only other person that can get away with wearing a white dress (or ivory, or whatever color the bride's dress is). This does not have to be the case though. The flower girl instead can wear any pretty dress that they would like.
A cute little thank you gift is a nice gesture to give the flower girl as a lasting memory of her being part of the wedding. Including the flower girl in the wedding photos is also a very cute addition, but it is not recommended to take them along on photo shoots as after all, they are young children and may get bored or require some more attention. Photos of the flower girl with the ring bearer can be absolutely adorable.
Flower girls often will walk to quickly, so be sure to let them know that they will be photographed, (if they like that sort of thing) if they move slower for more people to smile and enjoy their presence. Once she has walked down the aisle, it is best for her to go and sit with her parents. As she is just a young girl, her focus and attention span will likely not last the duration of the of the wedding ceremony so it is best that she is not expected to stand up as part of the wedding party.
Prior to her walking down the aisle she will also need to be looked after and advised on when she should start her walk. If one of her parents is in the wedding party, they can look after her and the ring bearer if you have one, as the bride and her father will other things to worry about, so they might be the best people to ensure the flower girl is behaving and all prepared. If a parent is not in the wedding party the Maid of honor, or whoever are the last people to walk out before the bride, might be the best person to keep an eye on them. If nothing else is working out, a parent can always wait outside with the flower girl until it is her turn to walk down the aisle and slip in on their once the bride has down her walk. If this is the case, just make sure you don't accidentally end up in any of the photos of the bride walking down the aisle. This may also mean that they (the parent) might miss some of the ceremony as a result of waiting outside for a good opportunity to walk in to the ceremony.
Flower girls can often lighten the mood during the ceremony. As they are quite young they can often do some typically lighthearted childish type things that bring about a good laugh for all wedding guests and others in the wedding party.
It is always a good idea to check the venue of your wedding ceremony to see if tossing flowers on the floor is okay. Some place might not like that or will have to ensure that there is someone there to clean it up afterwards.
If you have a young girl that you would like to include in the wedding, but she is above the age of 8 or so, you can instead consider her as a junior bridesmaid. She is mature enough to stand up at the front as part of the wedding party and join in as a younger bridesmaid.