young boys dressed in pageboy outfits often took part in the wedding
procession with the delicate duty of carrying and arranging
the train. This required several arduous rehearsals in order
that any awkwardness would be avoided. If the bride's train
was immensely long, the ringbearer carried it, either by lifting
it slightly or by carrying a great loop of ribbon through
which the end of the train was passed. Other times, the
ringbearer merely walked behind the bride as she passed up the
aisle, and stood near to adjust her train as she turned to
leave the altar, a duty that was otherwise delegated upon
the first bridesmaid.
Many other little duties were assigned to the ringbearer. If
ribbon was used across the aisles, the costumed little boys
were stationed there to lift it as the ushers passed. One of
the pageboys would also hold the bride's bouquet while the
ceremony was being performed; another pageboy would carry a plush
case for the prayer-book, if the bride wished to use one.
Finally, ringbearers would gather up the ribbon, if it was drawn
the whole length of the aisle. In today’s weddings, many
brides select a charming little boy to be her ringbearer,
dressing him in a miniature tuxedo.