The role of a page boy at a wedding is an honorary position typically given to a young boy who plays a special part in the wedding ceremony. Because the role of a page boy is relatively small, they’re not necessarily imperative, but if you have a boy of appropriate age in your family, asking them to be a page boy is a thoughtful and loving gesture. Plus, it allows you to get a few ‘ahhs’ from your guests before the tears start to flow as you exchange your vows.
In this post, we’ll take a look at what a page boy is, what they wear, and their responsibilities as part of your big day, as well as some helpful tips for ensuring everything goes down without a hitch.
A page boy is a young boy, often a family member or close relative of the couple, who is selected to take on a special role in the wedding ceremony. The page boy’s role may vary depending on cultural traditions and individual preferences, but it generally involves assisting the wedding party or symbolically participating in the event.
But don’t worry, a page boy is more of a symbolic role, so you don’t need to worry too much about something going wrong if your page boy misbehaves or you don’t have a boy of the right age in your family.
‘Page’ is a medieval word that refers to a male attendant or servant to noble figures or knights. A page would work in a castle or home from between the ages of 7 to 14 in exchange for food, lodgings, clothes and a basic education.
Today, the term has evolved to mean a young boy who has a small role at a wedding, and will help in a small, token way, such as by helping to hold the train of the bride’s wedding dress, throw flowers or petals, or simply look adorable in a little suit as they walk down the aisle.
Typically, page boys are aged between 3 and 10. This is because boys younger than 3 can be much harder to give instructions to, and boys older than 10 may be given responsibilities much closer to that of an usher (if in fact, they want to play a role in your wedding at all).
Yes, there are differences between a page boy and a ring bearer. At modern weddings, because there isn’t as much need for someone to help the bride with a long train on her dress, the role of a page boy is far more honorary than it used to be. Meanwhile, a ring bearer has an important role to play, as they carry the ring pillow down the aisle so the happy couple can exchange rings during the ceremony.
Page boys are traditionally seen at weddings, especially if you’ve invited a lot of guests and would like to include younger family members in the ceremony. However, if your wedding is small, there are no boys under the age of 10 in your family, or you simply don’t want one, there’s nothing to say you need a page boy. As we highlighted above, it’s more of an honorary position these days and is seen more as a loving gesture than giving someone in your family a job that could make or break the big day.
In our guide to alternative wedding ideas, we even cover how it’s common for couples these days to have a page girl instead of a page boy. It’s your wedding, so do whatever you want!
Unlike the ring bearer, of which there is usually only one, you’re welcome to have as many page boys at your wedding as you like. If you have a particularly large family, you might want to have a maximum of three. After all, a group of young lads getting together can sometimes lead to trouble. But, nothing’s stopping you from having a dozen or more if you want to make sure everyone has a role in your wedding (just be prepared for a little mischief).
On the morning of the wedding, the page boy can do whatever they feel comfortable doing as everyone prepares for the day ahead. If close to the groom, the page boy might enjoy getting ready with the groom and his family, as well as the best man and ushers. This might depend on whether or not the page boy’s parents will be close by and how well they know others who will be there.
Speak to the page boy’s parents and talk to them about what they think their son would prefer to do. If they’re very young, you don’t want to scare them or make them feel anxious, and they may want to be close to their parents. If this is the case, then fine. Remember, when it comes to modern weddings the page boy isn’t likely to have a major role in the ceremony itself.
Traditionally page boys are in charge of carrying the bride’s train down the aisle, but nowadays, with fewer brides choosing to have long, flowing trains, their responsibilities have evolved. That being said, if you do have a dress with a long train, asking the page boy to uphold this traditional part of the job should be something they can do without any issues.
Today, the page boy might have a dual role where they also carry the rings down the aisle. However, this depends on the age of your page boy and if you trust them to safely hold on to the rings. What a responsibility for the little man! If you’re worried about your precious rings disappearing, you may like to replace them with replicas and have your page boy carry those down the aisle instead. You can squirrel your actual rings away with one of your bridesmaids or ushers so it’s one less thing for you to worry about.
Other things you might ask your page boy to do could be:
Scattering petals or flowers isn’t exclusive to flower girls. Both page boys and flower girls can be invited to scatter petals while walking down the aisle, which acts as a symbolic gesture of happiness for the bride to follow. Whoever you choose to scatter petals (if this is something you choose at all), it’ll definitely make for some wonderful photo opportunities.
Page boys are a fantastic combination of smart and cute, so you’re welcome to dress them in any style that’s in keeping with your wedding. This could be a tuxedo or a suit with a waistcoat and tie. If you have some Celtic blood in your family, take it to the next level of cuteness by dressing your page boy in a kilt with a tiny sporran.
It’s common for the page boy to wear an outfit similar to that of the groom, but that’s not something set in stone. So, be as adventurous as you like. But, when it comes time for photos, the groom, best man, ushers and page boys will all look equally as fabulous if there’s some cohesion.
Yes, along with the groom, dads, best man and ushers, the page boy will usually wear a buttonhole. Just make sure the page boy understands it might be delicate and become damaged if fiddled with.
Like you might do for other members of the wedding party such as the bridesmaids and mums, you might also want to show your page boys and flower girls how much of a great job they did by giving them a small gift. It doesn’t have to be something big and expensive (and definitely not a bottle of wine) but a small toy, game or teddy bear would likely be hugely appreciated.
Excited to have a close friend or family member take on the role of page boy at your wedding? Just bear in mind these five tips so it all goes exactly as planned:
Remember, younger boys are more likely to throw a tantrum during the wedding ceremony or, even worse, may completely refuse to take part. To avoid either situation, you may wish to have a slightly older page boy or not have one at all…remember that page boys are by no means an absolute must for a wedding.
If the little man does throw a wobbly on the day, then bribing him with sweets, toys or other special treats is certainly an option to consider (but we didn’t tell you that!).
Finally, to make your page boy feel even more special or to give him a bit of encouragement, consider buying him a small ‘Thank You’ present. Not On The High Street has a whole page dedicated to presents for page boys.
Planning your wedding is a wonderful and exciting time, so hopefully this guide has helped answer your questions about page boys. Sign up to Bridebook today to access our range of tools and resources to make planning your wedding simple and stress-free.