Wedding Etiquette Debate: Is Calling Her a “Junior” Bridesmaid Insulting?

Many couples will stumble upon the dreaded junior bridesmaid debate when planning their wedding. If you’re unfamiliar with the wedding etiquette controversy, here’s a brief summary:

A ‘junior bridesmaid’ is typically a female member of the wedding party between the ages of 9-15. Generally, this position is intended to cover the gap between ‘too old to be a flower girl, too young to be a bridesmaid’. While many couples have no issue with the ‘junior bridesmaid’ title, some argue that it is an unnecessary distinction, or even insulting. The question is: should you call younger ladies ‘junior’ bridesmaids or not?

wedding etiquette: junior bridesmaids

photograph by LC Photography

Wedding etiquette says, "Yes."

According to wedding etiquette, this member of your party is officially called a 'junior' bridesmaid. There are some good reasons for a different title. By taking extra steps to distinguish her from your older bridesmaids, it’s clear that she isn’t expected to contribute monetarily to her dress or the bridal shower, and everyone understands that she isn’t invited to the bachelorette party (unless it’s PG). From her perspective, being a junior bridesmaid might be considered a step up from being a flower girl. If this is the case, she’s likely to feel special, rather than left out.

But, you don’t have to follow wedding etiquette if you disagree.

Depending on the age (and personality) of the party member, she might feel insulted or left out by the title. Using the qualifier ‘junior’ automatically points out the age difference. To someone who probably feels just as grown up as the other bridesmaids, this can make her feel under-appreciated. Many brides and grooms also argue that functionally she is fulfilling the same role as a bridesmaid, and therefore the different title is simply unnecessary. Depending on your wedding, this may or may not be true, but it is important to consider what is being achieved by differentiating the two roles.
 junior bridesmaid dresses Da Vinci dresses

Da Vinci dresses are perfect for junior bridesmaid dresses, no matter what you call her.

When it comes to dressing your bridal party, a common question is whether junior bridesmaid dresses should match the bridesmaids or the flower girl. Typically, the answer is they should match the bridesmaids. However, sometimes junior bridesmaid dresses vary slightly from older bridesmaids, whether it’s to stand out or because matching wouldn’t be age appropriate. The easiest course of action is to choose a dress that is appropriate for an attendant of any age. This is especially true if you aren’t planning on referring to her as a ‘junior’ bridesmaid. Check out Da Vinci dresses for a selection that works well for bridesmaids of all ages. When push comes to shove, every wedding is different and should be treated differently. We think the best course of action to avoid offending younger members of your bridal party is to just ask them what title they’d prefer.

What’s your opinion about the title ‘junior bridesmaid’? Share your thoughts in a comment below!

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