It’s tradition. As the happy couple exits the reception, or even sometimes as they exit the church after the ceremony and head to the reception, everyone gets the opportunity to throw something at them. Or shall we say, toss something over them. Something lightweight that won’t HURT them that is!
Where did that tradition start, anyway? Well, in earlier times the throwing of rice over the newlywed couple symbolized fertility and prosperity. In fact in some countries, dates or figs are still tossed at the departing couple. However, I’d really hate to be hit in the head or face with dates or figs! They can hurt, not to mention what they could do to that pretty white dress!
When my husband and I were married, it was still rice. And sometimes when that rice hits you just right, it can sting! And I can tell you, it took weeks to get all the rice out of our car, because one of our guests decided it would be really fun to throw a whole big handful at us as we got in the car. In fact, when we finally sold it, there was probably still some rice in there hiding between the seats!
But rumors started many years ago that rice tends to expand in the tummies of the birds that eat it afterwards, making them sick or even causing them to die, and rice became no longer acceptable. Truth is, birds eat rice in the wild all the time, and we’ve never seen any exploding birds. Birdseed or sunflower seeds have since replaced it at a lot of weddings, and I’m sure the birds are more than happy about that! They still get a great dinner, just like the wedding guests! It’s your basic win-win situation! Normally the birdseed is wrapped in little tulle bags that can easily be opened to toss the contents…please don’t throw the bag itself like I’ve seen some guests do as a joke! It sort of hurts!
But today, many couples are opting for other items to be tossed over their heads, or even having certain things waved at them as they leave! It’s all up to how creative they want to be!
For military weddings, the arch of swords/sabers is normally used as the couple leaves the ceremony, and we love that tradition! We hope all of you military couples who are eligible to participate in it take advantage of the pageantry, because it has such special meaning! (And don’t forget the cake cutting with the sword that is also used!)
There are a lot of other getaway ideas that are being used today, that are really fun, and innovative! The possibilities are endless, and so much more fun when tied into the theme of the wedding. (Except when you get to the clean up, but then again, you’re definitely going to have someone ELSE do that!)
Bear in mind that many venues have rules as to what can be thrown due to safety reasons. Even though bubbles are quite popular with brides and grooms, and are actually inexpensive (and make for a great photo op), bubbles have a tendency to “pop” sometimes in places that will make the floor quite slippery, especially if it’s a wooden deck or a tiled floor. And no one wants the responsibility of someone slipping on bubbly soap residue! Outside on concrete or grass, or on the beach, is a different story! However, watch out for your dress, because some of that bubble mixture can also stain those delicate fabrics!
Flower petals or lavender have become very popular as well. Silk flower petals are pretty, but have you ever tried to toss silk rose petals? Doesn’t work too well. So you need real ones, which will need to be used no later than the day you pick them up, because as they age, they have a tendency to turn brown. Plus they can be slippery on certain surfaces. Lavender also works well, and has a nice aroma to it. And you can put them in such adorable containers! Some couples have even used colorful fall leaves for an autumn wedding. But just be careful what kind you use, because you want them to land on the newlyweds, and not on the people around you!
How about using confetti? Either paper confetti, or some of the bright, colorful mylar pre-packaged confetti you buy at the party or craft stores? Or even sequins! However, talk about being hard to get out of your hair, or your veil, or your clothes! That stuff just likes to stay everywhere! Again, be sure to check with your venue, because you’re going to have to have someone to clean it up really well! I remember one New Year’s Eve party at our house when my brilliant husband decided to toss two huge trash bags of paper punch confetti he’d been collecting for the past year. He almost wore out our vacuum cleaner the next couple of days! (Notice I said HE!) And for several years we were still finding little pieces of it hidden behind furniture!
You can also use any number of different shaped paper punches and scrapbook paper or vellum to make your own confetti in any number of little shapes! (We really like the idea of snowflakes for a winter wedding!) But again, the clean up can be rather interesting!
And you don’t have to just toss the confetti as the couple is leaving. This couple had it all totally dumped on them as soon as they were pronounced husband and wife! Wonder how long it took to get it out of her hair!
Pinwheels and ribbon streamers are a novel touch to wave at the couple as they depart, and they can also be used for favors! Little bells or even your choice of miniature musical instruments can be used as the couple either leaves the ceremony or the reception. Again, great wedding favors, and no clean up!
For a beach wedding, we really do like the idea of tossing little miniature beach balls, either in the wedding theme colors, or even printed with the couple’s name and wedding date on it. But beware, do NOT let the kids get their hands on these and start a beach ball fight at the reception! That could be, well, a bit tricky, shall we say! Use them as the bride and groom leave the reception. And then, even better, the kids will probably do the clean up for you, because they’ll enjoy their new toys!
We’ve even found this idea of hanging piñatas around and breaking them over the couple as they exit! The piñatas make great décor, and you never know what could be in them! Confetti (most likely), candy, who knows!
And sparklers are really popular now, and the pictures some photographers have taken with the sparkler exits have been absolutely amazing! However, there are also some venues that will not allow sparklers to be used because of the potential for fire. Plus, you do need to make sure that everyone who has their hands on a sparkler is well, shall we say, un-intoxicated enough to be trusted with them! You certainly don’t need singed hair or burned clothing!
We would, however, caution against a couple of things. Silly string, while fun at a birthday party or even a bachelor or bachelorette party, should be a big NO at your wedding. Not only can it get all over your wedding gown, it can also potentially stain your guests’ clothes, as well as those rented tuxes! Not a good idea! And we also found this idea of shooting a cork “gun” as the happy couple goes by for a western theme wedding. However, we honestly don’t think this is a great idea either! How about you!?
As a final suggestion though, has anyone thought about tossing money? Not coins, please, because that could really hurt! But a bunch of fives or tens, well…that would be a great thing to try….make them into paper airplanes, even? Hmmm….on second thought, that could really start a bit of a mad dash to grab the cash, so, let’s stick to some of these other ideas and give the happy couple their money in the form of checks or gift cards!
However, it’s YOUR wedding….we’re just there to plan and make sure everything goes the way you want it!
Photo Sources: 1st Row: samanthascottevents.com – 2nd Row: emgpublicatios.wordpress; gianmedinatale.com – 3rd Row: source unknown; source unknown; marthastewartweddings.com- 4th Row: amandapair.com; brides.com; warfighterdiaries.com – 5th Row: milbodas.net- 6th Row: elnovato.com; onewed.com – 7th Row: blog.glendaloughman.or; bp.blogspot; itsabrideslife.com; ebonypeoples.com; rhondapattonweddings.com – 8th Row: minted.com; blovedweddings.com; icingdesignonline.blogspot; bklynbrideonline.com – 9th Row: marthastewartweddings.com; via etsy; marthastewartweddings.com – 10th Row: pocketfulofdreams.co.uk – 11th Row: marthastewartweddings.com; lunaandchloeweddings.com; iloveswmag.com –12th Row: koruwedding.blogspot; weddinggawker.com – 13th Row: confetisystelm via tumblr – 14th Row: stylemepretty.com; winterweddings.com; bp.bogspot; linseykitchens.com; beccadillyphotography.com;studiotran – 15th Row: masterpieceweddings.blogspot; marthastewartweddings.com