The Wedding Toss-Up
The tradition of showering newlyweds with rice or other grains stems from an ancient Roman fertility rite of blessing the couple with abundance and prosperity.
These days the custom has evolved to include a number of rituals that simply add to your event’s festive feel and signify group celebration.
Flights of Fancy
Some couples choose to have guests fill the air with colorful confetti or arrange the release of a flock of doves as they walk back down the aisle, while others save the fanfare for their grand entrance or exit. After you decide what moment is the best fit for your party, you can decide what medium suits your style.
“We’ve had guests shower the couple with lavender buds, rose petals, faux snow, bubbles, and once, strangely, toothbrushes,” says Lindsay Gibson, owner of Oklahoma City-based Gibson Events. But her favorite tossing product is biodegradable Ecofetti. Available in a variety of colors, it’s lightweight so it floats beautifully and it disintegrates immediately upon touching water, making cleanup easy.
Cara Morrison, owner of Phoenix-based A Day to Cherish Weddings & Celebrations, has seen everything from bubbles to streamers and sparklers. However, her favorite options are rose petal canons (staffers hide behind bushes with cannons that scatter the petals much higher in the air) and paper Chinese lanterns (also called sky lanterns) which are lit inside like a hot air balloon and allowed to float away.
Other ideas: have guests toss bird seed or glitter, ring bells, blow kazoos, or wave personalized flags, or plan a professional fireworks show.
Bits & Peace
Sure, a downpour of petals may look fabulous in pictures, but make sure you get your venue’s approval. Many don’t allow confetti due to the mess, flower petals because they can stain carpets and chairs, or seeds of any kind, as they may take root. If it is allowed, make sure you have a cleanup plan in place, says Gibson.
“This is not something you want to spring on either a venue or a family member (or take care of yourself!) at the end of the night.”
Your venue – or the local government –also may take issue with sparklers, fireworks, or sky lanterns. “The lanterns are a big fad and really pretty,” says Morrison, “but a lot of cities are banning them here in Arizona due to the fire hazard.”
Even if you get approval, you should also think about your attire and that of your guests. Some confetti dyes and flower petals could stain your dress, and many people may not appreciate picking birdseed out of their hair.
Finally, don’t forget about logistics. For example, if you opt for sparklers, you should have someone there to assist with simultaneous lighting as well as the disposal of matches and used sparklers, says Morrison. Or if you prefer a tossing item, prepare individual portions in vessels (Gibson likes paper cones) that are placed on each chair or distributed. “In fact,” Gibson says, “this is a great job for a family member who is too old to be a flower girl or ring bearer.”