wedding tosses: a must-have tradition or silly waste?


As Chad and I get ready for our wedding, we keeping stumbling over little decisions. Neither of us have traditional families, so for the most part we are on own in this new terrain. Here’s one we’re we are debating right now that maybe you can help us with: Do we need to have something for our guests to throw at us after we are pronounced husband and wife? Barring bad weather, we’ll hopefully be getting married under a tree, so there won’t be a classic exit. If we were to have something to toss, it would have to be green and okay for critters. Some sites seem to say that “dangers of rice” for birds is just a myth. Others, like suggest sunflowers, birdseed or bubbles. Over at Martha Stewart’s site, she has how-to on making vanishing confetti pouches and suggests biodegradable paper. What do you think? As a guest, is fun to have something to “do” like toss confetti at couple? Maybe some noisemakers would be better? Or should we just skip it and get to the champagne? — Angela M.

From our partners

We opted to not have anything thrown. I’ve been at too many weddings where a few wise-asses think it’s funny to try to bruise the bride and groom. Our guests just cheered for us as we walked back down the aisle together. Maybe noise makers would be a good option.

Bubbles always look nice, but I’ve seen too many soap stains left on clothes to recommend it. Yes, even the bubbles that say they won’t leave a stain.


At my best friend’s wedding she gave everyone little bells to ring.
It was very nice, and could also act as a favor for your guests.


Skip it. Even if it’s biodegradable, some places require you to clean up the mess. Let your guests cheer and clap (and take pictures of your exit!); that should be enough.


i always love birdseeds.

I haven’t been to a wedding with a traditional exit since the early 1990s. In the movies, they’re throwing rice at the church door, but every wedding I’ve been to, the bride and groom exit the church before anyone else. So I’m not sure how these movie/advertising moments are actually supposed to occur!?!?

We didn’t have a traditional exit at our wedding (there was a parade from the ceremony site to the reception site but that was lead by someone else.) My brother did shoot off a bunch of confetti and fruit loops in his butane powered “potato cannon.”

we had an outdoor wedding with a small amount of guests so after the minister pronounced us husband and wife, he then invited everyone to the front and we got a big group which we think turned out pretty darn good this was in lieu of a big exit from the ceremony when people would throw stuff at us.

and no rice or other things to pick out of my hair later. :)


We had little containers of bubbles at our wedding, and the guests loved it! I’ve seen others use them as well, and it always makes for charming photos.


We did birdseed, and it was hilarious. The pictures of us looking up as it fell were priceless, not to mention the one of me looking down my dress to see how much had made it into it.
I thought it was fun, but totally unnecessary at the same time. Luckily, we were in a park, so I’m sure the birds were quite pleased.


I vote for skipping it, but if you do decide to go for it, birdseed will make the birds happy.


The tradition of throwing rice goes back to Pagan times. Rice is thrown to bless the couple and shower them with good fortune and prosperity. As someone who welcomes blessings, I did not want to pass on this quaint tradition. So, we used these cute biodegradable, animal-friendly little hearts. I believe they were made of rice and tapioca flour. They were very cute and much more elegant than rice. I found them online doing a seplace for biodegradable wedding rice – very cute. We wrapped them in tulle and put them in a basket with a cute card that read “animal friendly and biodegradable – no animals will be harmed during the enjoyment of this fine tradition”. When the event was over and clean-up was wrapping up, little animals came out and nibbled on the hearts – I guess they were good. :) In the end, it is about the two of you. Do what makes YOU happy.

We opted to not have anything thrown… and went for giant sparklers instead.
The ones that are like 3 feet long… so we let everyone have a sparkler, and even though it was the middle of the day, it was still super fun!

(we also had a small white metal pail for everyone to put their sticks in at the end that held a bit of water, so we didn’t ignite anything else!)

It made for fantastic pictures as well!

I’ve seen where people are given sachets of dried lavender and given the option to either throw it at the bride and groom or keep them. Either way, it smells pretty and is biodegradable.

Hmmmm, biodegradable paper and a light wedding dress don’t seem to make a happy combination. The sparklers make for great pictures and are really lovely in the evening.


i think releasing butterflies into the air (from boxes) is really cool, but could potentially be a tad on the expensive side.

been reading through the comments above and i really do like the birdseed and the bells idea. we got married under a tree as well in a country courtyard… MIL thought it would be fun for us to get rained with rose petals… except she forgot to specify to the florist that it had to be PETALS and not ROSEBUDS! so we got pelted! oh well :)

i dunno if i would have anything if i could reverse time. maybe bird whistles or bells for me!

I like the sparklers and bell ideas. I see it this way, if you aren’t a traditional person you should put a spin on it, make it your own. What do you like? What are your hobbies. I had a friend who was marrying a guy who was big into yo-yo s so they had them as the guest gift and a bunch of his friends did this wacky yo yo thing as they were leaving. I wish I had pictures it was great.

Of course all this is coming from a girl who got married in jail on april fools day. My mom still asks if it was all a big prank. I think I’ll wait till my 5th anniversary to pull her leg a little.

sparklers are a great idea! !

… i’m still tempted to have rice at my wedding… (a tradition that for many people maybe doesn’t make sense because americans don’t tend to be big rice eaters; somehow i got a mom who loved her rice cooker and made japanese rice for us 3-4 nights a week, so i ‘ve always loved the custom.)

angela, make sure to tell us what you decide on! :)

At the three weddings I’ve been to in the past year (including my own) there was no throwing of rice or other materials. One of these was a pretty minimal ceremony, but the other two were relatively traditional, for what it’s worth. So count me in with the people who wouldn’t know when you’re supposed to do it!


skip it, or toss birdseed. but basically the more details, the more worry. keep it simple and focus on the things that really matter to you — like the champagne!


Just went to a lovely wedding in the Catskills this past weekend, where cones of dried lavender and white rose petals were hung on the chairs for guests to throw.

Unfortunately, most people didn’t pick up on this until after the bride & groom had gotten all the way down the aisle — I think maybe only one or two cones ended up being thrown!

patty bolgiano

I married in a traditional church (for the parents sake not ours!) We were not permitted to throw anything at all. What I did ask and got was a group shot of everyone on the steps of the church. It hangs in our bedroom and it is the best thing we did.

Best wishes

it’s fun, but i wouldn’t say necessary.

skip it. if you use seeds or something, it will end up down your dress and itch you all day/night. You’ll find it in your hair for a week. We had a hug-fest afterwards (instead of throwing stuff and receiving line) and it was fabulousness.


This is a problem? The solution is so obvious.


I think anything that creates a mess isn’t worth it… The best thing I’ve ever seen is giving sparklers to the guests, to create a mini-fireworks exit…


personally, i’m partial to the bubbles. i know michael’s has this heart shaped rice stuff that’s supposed to be ok for birds. the florist our family uses will give you the rose petals free if you’re getting all your other flowers from them. um… yeah, that’s my rambling input


I just went to a wedding this weekend and the couple had us toss white rose petals which seemed nice… but then the photographer kept directing us to throw more so she could get better pictures. I felt like an extra on a movie set. For this reason, I think sparklers are a great idea – they can only spark so much, and they’ll make lovely pictures without being fake. :) But, I’m also a fan of simplicity, and I didn’t have anything at my wedding. I wanted sparklers, but I had my reception at a sculpture garden, and the sparklers posed a threat to the art and the nature… so be careful if you do go that way that it’s okay with the site.

We used bubbles and there was no mess, nothing ended on our gowns, and the children had a lot of fun afterwards.

I decided to have nothing throw at us for my wedding and I never regretted it. But I gladly participated when couples opted for bubbles or flower petals. My advice is to follow your heart not what others want.


we used lavander, it was fun, enviromentally friendly, and it didn’t cause weeds to grow in the nice lawn we got married on. plus, it made our car smell great!! and we threw it when we got into the car to drive off after the reception, not after to wedding.


DON’T use sparklers. IF any of your timing is off, you walk through smoke!!! The pictures are just that…..dimly lite figures in smoke. The photographer was not positioned to catch the bride and groom emerging from the smoke….the pictures are just a cloudy mess!


I thought about bells for my wedding_ and then my photographer friends reminded me that bells dont show up in photos- two of my favorite pictures are as my husband and i exited the church and are being lightly showered…
It is also my favorite pic from Mom & Dads wedding…so it looks good in B&W too…..


Releasing farm-raised butterflies bought from a professional (see is a wonderful thing when done right with fresh butterflies. It is a moment of magic no one ever forgets and people stop and connect with nature. It is important to not bargain shop if you are buying butterflies – get them from someone that really knows what they are doing!


We used pop streamers for the people on the aisles to shoot over our heads as we left…the pictures are AMAZING! Literally one of my two favs of the whole 762 shot that day. Best of all, the streamers stay attached to the canister they pop out of so we cut off the mylar streamer part, removed the metal spring from the plastic canister and recyled all parts! the mylar is padding gift baskets this Christmas. best of all, since it was just the people on the aisle and the first 3 aisles were family and friends, everyone had time to catch on that it was time to pop with the first aisles’ good example


Can you tell me the name of the pop streamers or where you got them? That’s eactly what we want!!