A junior bridesmaid is a girl, usually between ages 9 and 14, who is too old to be a flower girl but not quite old enough to be a full bridesmaid. She generally helps out with wedding tasks, such as making wedding favors or handing out programs, and is part of the wedding ceremony. There are no rules when it comes to whether or not she walks with someone during the processional and recessional — it’s entirely your choice.
If you have a junior bridesmaid, she generally walks into the ceremony first, in front of the bridesmaids. Whether a junior bridesmaid walks with someone to leave the ceremony depends on your personal preference and the size of the wedding party. At the end of the ceremony, she can leave with the flower girl and ring bearer, another bridesmaid or with a groomsman escort, if there is an adequate number of groomsmen to make even pairs. She can also walk out alone, between the flower girl and bridesmaid-groomsmen pairs.
Some brides are concerned about having a junior bridesmaid leave the wedding ceremony with a significantly older groomsman. However, because most bridesmaid-groomsmen pairs are people who have no romantic interest in each other — and may not have even met before the wedding rehearsal — there is no need to worry about the potential implications of a young girl walking with a much older man. If anyone feels uncomfortable, a groomsman can escort both the junior bridesmaid and another bridesmaid, or the junior bridesmaid can walk alone or with the flower girl and ring bearer.
As weddings become less traditional and more focused on the individual bride and groom, the makeup of the wedding party and how each member enters the ceremony has become a matter of personal taste. For example, if the junior bridesmaid is the daughter of either the bride or groom, she may enter the ceremony on the arm of her parent, and walk out in front of them with her new step-siblings, representing the new family. In some cases, other family members, such as grandparents, may enter or leave the ceremony with the junior bridesmaid.
If you decide to have your junior bridesmaid walk with a male escort during the wedding ceremony, make an effort to pair her with someone she’ll be comfortable with, such as one of her family members or a younger groomsmen. Even though the recessional only takes a few minutes, a tween or young teenager may still feel uncomfortable walking arm-in-arm with an older man she doesn’t know. Ask her about her preferences and try to keep her comfort level in mind when planning your wedding ceremony.