History Of Wedding Traditions: Ring Bearers

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Dubsdread Catering Event Specialist Peighton Ballant shares the history behind the wedding tradition of having a ring bearer.Peighton Ballant headshot

At a lot of weddings, you will see an adorable little kid stealing the show as he walks down the aisle in his adorable ring bearer outfit. Sometimes, this ring bearer can be more than one person, one of the groomsmen, or even a dog! The possibilities of this tradition are endless, and many of us might not even know where it originates. With this tradition, there is not a known start date, time period, or even location, but there are a lot of ideas.


Some say that ring bearers began in ancient Egypt when it was customary for jewels to be carried on ornamental pillows during celebrations, especially wedding ceremonies. Though during this time, it is believed that adults would carry these jewels rather than the young kids that we see today. 

Another belief is that is began during the medieval times when us was customary for a young boy, known as a page boy, to carry the bride’s train down the aisle while holding a book of prayers. However, the main difference during this time, is that the rings were actually carried on the tips of swords! Pillows were a rarity at this time, and swords were more common to come by. 

No matter the earlier origins, the ring bearer role in ceremonies most similar to today grew in popularity during the Victorian Era. During this era, the tradition started with velvet jackets, short trousers, and round linen collars as standard dress for ring bearers. It was also becoming more common for the rings to be carried around on pillows during this time.


  1. Who is chosen as the ring bearer?
    Normally, ring bearers are the sons of those close to the couple. This can either be their own children, or even their nephews. They can also be the sons of your best man, maid of honor, or someone else you’re extremely close with.
    Or, if you are doing a no-kid wedding, consider having one of your furry friends or one of your best friends do it for a good laugh.
  2. How old should they be?
    Although this is totally up to you, your average ring bearer is going to be somewhere between the ages of three and eight years old. You just want to make sure that they will be able to walk down the aisle comfortably, no matter the age!
  3. What does the ring bearer wear?
    Try your best to coordinate the ring bearer’s outfit with the grooms or groomsmen. Keep in mind the formality of your event as well. Will jeans work, or do you need to do some suspenders with a bowtie?
  4. Does the ring bearer actually carry the rings?
    This can be done either way. If you don’t trust him to actually make it down the aisle, give the rings to your officiant or best man. He can still walk down the aisle though to give the appearance of a ring bearer. If you decide to not let him carry the actual rings, you can give him a sign, banner, basket, or a set of backup rings. 
  5. When do they walk in?
    The ring bearer will generally enter before the flower girls, or with the flower girls, and definitely before the bride. 
  6. What if they don’t want to walk down?
    I always recommend having one of their parents, or someone they will run to, sitting in one of the aisle chairs so that they have a familiar face to walk to. They can also help coax them down the aisle and save a seat for them. 
  7. Should I get them a thank you gift?
    Though it’s not expected, it is a nice idea. This is especially true if you are getting the rest of your wedding party some gifts. It also doesn’t have to be anything expensive; a little toy will do the trick. 

Unlike a lot of wedding traditions, ring bearers haven’t changed too much throughout the years, it can still be a big and important role that the bride and groom want to fill. However, if ring bearers aren’t your thing but you still want to include the little ones at your wedding, consider having them be your greeters at the door, man the guest book, or have them pass out programs if they’re old enough. 

There are plenty of opportunities to incorporate friends and family into your day, with or without a trip down the aisle, and our experienced team at Dubsdread Catering have ideas about what goes right, what goes wrong, and how to personalize it to your special day. Just ask!

Peighton Ballant is an Event Specialist with the Dubsdread Catering Team and is currently working on her Event Management degree at UCF. Peighton enjoys working with prospective couples to discover what they are most interested in bringing to their special day, and how to make those ideas come to life. Contact her today at events@historicdubsdread.comWedding History ring bearer 7Wedding History ring bearer 4

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