A page boy is a young male attendant at a wedding or cotillion. This type of wedding attendant is less common than it used to be, but is still a way of including young relatives or the children of relatives and friends in a wedding. A page is often seen at British royal weddings. There may be many pages for effect at cotillions.
Traditionally, page boys carry the bride's train, especially if she is wearing a dress with a long train. Because of the difficulty of managing the train, page boys are generally no younger than age seven, with older boys being preferred for more complicated duties.
In a formal wedding, the ring bearer is a special page who carries the wedding rings for the bridal party. This is almost always symbolic, with the ring bearer carrying a large white satin pillow on which imitation rings are sewn, while the real wedding bands are kept in the safekeeping of the best man. If the real rings are used, they are tacked on with thread to prevent their accidental loss.
The ring bearer as a separate role is a relatively modern innovation. In today's common wedding ceremony, the best man carries the rings.
Ring bearers are often nephews or young brothers (although they can also be nieces or sisters) and are generally in the same age range as flower girls, which is to say that they are no younger than about five nor older than 10. If the couple have had children prior to marriage, their own child(ren) may serve as ring bearer.
The coin bearer is similar to that of the ring bearer. The coin bearer is a young boy who marches on the wedding aisle to bring the wedding coins. The wedding coins are more commonly known as wedding arrhae.[unreliable source?] The coins are presented to the celebrant for a blessing. The coins usually consist of thirteen gold and silver coins, to represent Jesus and his apostles. Historically, Spanish colonists started this custom.
- Stewart, Arlene Hamilton (1995). A bride's book of wedding traditions. New York: Hearst Books. p. 106. ISBN 0-688-12768-1.