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Page Boys

By: Lisa Thiel - Updated: 9 Jan 2013 | comments*Discuss
Page boys ushers bride bridesmaids

With all the fuss over the bridesmaids – how many there’ll be, the colour of their gowns, and the order in which they’re going to walk up the aisle – the male roles at a traditional wedding ceremony often get overlooked. Aside from the best man, who’s got a pivotal role to play, it’s also common to enlist page boys for the formal part of the wedding. But who should they be, what do they do – and most importantly, what do you get them to wear?

Who to Choose

Nephews, cousins or even sons between the ages of five and ten are the usual suspects when you’re hunting round for page boys. Younger children may have trouble coping with the formality of the ceremony, while preteen boys are likely to be embarrassed by all the attention and will probably prefer to remain anonymous among the guests.

Don’t just assume the children and their families will be delighted to provide their services for the wedding. It will involve a certain amount of time and money on their part, so ask both parties – the boy and their parents – if they’re willing to be involved before you start making official plans. Ask as early as you can, so children have time to get used to the idea and start thinking about what they’ll be doing.

What to Dress Them in

It can be difficult to find a stylish outfit for your pages – something that doesn’t make them look like a mini-clone of the older men, but is still appropriate to the occasion. A plain shirt and trousers in light colours will work well for those on a budget. Two-piece suits – jacket and trousers with a matching or contrasting shirt – are a good bet for all ages. Older kids can dress up their basic shirts and trousers with a tie and waistcoat, items that that can be too fiddly for younger kids.

Grey or black suits look very severe on children, so consider cream, ivory or beige instead, and pick softer fabrics like velvet, corduroy, or cotton for summer. As with the groom and ushers’ attire, accessories should tie in with the general colour scheme of the wedding. Make sure shoes are comfortable so they can cope with standing throughout the ceremony.

As a general rule, the happy couple should foot the bill for clothing their young attendants. If your cash won’t stretch to doing so, consult the parents as to an appropriate budget and style of clothing, then offer to split the costs with them.

What Duties to Give Them

For single pages, a popular job is that of ring-bearer. The wedding rings are placed on a cushion or in a basket, which is then carried by the page down the aisle in front of the bride. This is a duty best left to children with a decent level of concentration – they’ll be standing holding the rings for quite a while before they’re needed, and it’s important they don’t get distracted and drop them. An alternative is to have the page carry the rings to the altar and then give them to the best man before sitting down.

Brides with long trains on their dresses can enlist the help of one or two pages to hold it up as she walks down the aisle. It’s a good idea to let them practise this first with a piece of material that’s a similar length, fastened to the back of the bride’s clothing, so they know how much material they’ll be holding and how high up to carry it.

Gifts Afterwards

All attendants should be rewarded for their commitment with gifts, which should be a lasting memento of your big day. There’s no real reason to buy different gifts for youngsters and adults, as they’ll be able to get value from an enduring, practical gift when they’re older. Bear in mind, however, that kids like to see an immediate reward for their efforts as well, so a few sweets in addition to your gift won’t go amiss!

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