They lived happily ever after and had many children… We tend to overlook the last part of that hallowed phrase which marks the end of many fairy tales. We can get married and prefer not to have children at all, or have dogs or cats instead, or simply dream of a life without soul load; a life where we can work, travel, live adventures and quietly grow old together, but invariably, tradition will continue to associate the notion of marriage with the notion of children.

A gathering of angels

In many cultures, a ceremony is considered incomplete without the presence of adorable flower girls and page boys, the train bearers and the sign bearer who goes down the aisle alone with a sign to announce the arrival of the bride, the bouquet bearers and ring bearer and anything else the bride and groom can dream up. In other words, there’s often a collection of pampered, groomed, starched angels, dressed in their best finery, hovering around the bride and giving her big day the freshness of the first morning.

However, we all know that this beautiful image is not only the most difficult to obtain, but that it will come undone and be remade a dozen times throughout the ceremony. You know them well, the little girl who lost her shoe and the page boy who scattered his bouquet. You’ll also remember the one who ruined her hairstyle and her flower crown, and the one whose shirt desperately rides up under their suspenders. The other child, who rolls on the ground because he wants to go home, and the one who wants to go to the bathroom just as the procession starts, you know them, too.

However, imagine that it has been several weeks since that moment of pride when the new couple chose your children to escort them, that you have been doing rehearsals and fittings. Just get used to the idea that the children will always be the unpredictable element of the ceremony, and that often the most lasting memories are those linked to their improvisations.

Only once

Either way, the family’s children, or those borrowed from friends, will be part of the theme. If the bride orders her dress from a great couturier, they will also offer to match the flower girl outfits. The boys, for their part, will be dressed in the colors of the groom. This trend is working so well that Elie Saab, like most international luxury brands, is expanding its offerings to children’s clothing. It doesn’t matter if these precious outfits will become too tight in the following weeks, or will be ruined by the end of the ceremony. After all, the bride will wear her own dress once. Big brands seem to be increasingly relying on children’s lines to retain their future customers by clothing them from an early age. Only a few of the major fashion houses in the MENA region offer junior collections, but all of them adapt when it comes to creating dresses for flower girls in the spirit of the bride’s dress.

A bespoke service

There are also small labels exclusively specialized in children’s ceremonial outfits. Our preference goes to Atelier Rififi, in Beirut. Rififi is an almost confidential address which offers an exquisite collection of couture flower girl, bridesmaid, and pageboy outfits and accessories designed and made in Lebanon by Claudine Mohbat.

Each garment is made from the finest textiles, embellished with pretty ribbons, feathers, pearls, sequins and crystals, and they pay special attention to beautiful hand-made details and finishing. Along with their elegant ready-to-wear collection, they also offer a bespoke service and can create fine custom-made dresses that will be in harmony with the special occasion.

However, your options are generally more flexible. Parents receive their instructions: color code, floral or plain, shirt or polo, pants or Bermuda shorts, petticoat or fuzzy dress, straw hats or flower crowns. This will not prevent a frantic race from shop to shop, to find the perfect shade of blue, the size 6 blazer, the miniature tie or bow tie, the dress neither too much nor not enough and which could still be used for another event… There’s still plenty of work involved.

Whatever we do, and even taking into account the fact that these precious outfits will only last a little while, we can’t help but give in to this little twinge of pride in the idea that our children will experience their fifteen minutes of fame on the wedding day. They just have to be the most beautiful kids in the world!