You’ve seen it all over wedding movies and popular media. The newlyweds emerge from the chapel and guests throw rice.
This tradition is said to have originated from the idea that rain signifies a healthy marriage, fertility and good fortune. And so, to mimic the rain falling from the sky, guests started throwing rice in the air as the newlyweds walked through the carb-laden shower.
This practice has been widely rumored to cause problems for the wild birds that eat the rice after the wedding guests have left the ceremony (specifically by ballooning their stomachs by expanding them with moisture or slowing down their digestion and subsequently starving them.) Whether or not the rumors are true, the tradition of the “exit toss” has been reimagined in many ways for modern weddings. For couples that don’t feel like getting pelted with uncooked rice or picking the grains out of their pockets and crevices all night, there are, thankfully, lots of other options.
There are pros and cons for each alternative. Since we’re here to make you as confident and happy with your wedding as possible, we’re going to give you all of the facts.
Pros: They’re colorful, shiny, and—well—bubbly. Having you and your spouse surrounded by happy, bubble-blowing guests will make for a heartwarming photo of your chapel exit. They’re easy to blow, inexpensive, and don’t require much preparation besides opening the container.
Cons: Depending on how many guests are participating, you may accumulate a fair amount of bubble solution on your clothes. Wedding gowns and tuxedos are generally dry-clean only, so this is somewhat of a risk to take, especially if you’re renting. Since bubble solution is soap-based, accumulating too much of it on the ground can pose the risk of slipping.
How to use it: Have your guests allow a wide path through which you can make your grand exit. By distancing yourself from the bubbles as they’re blown, fewer will land on your clothing, and you also have less of a risk of someone slipping and spilling the solution on you.
Pros: If you’re a fan of everything that sparkles and shines, you may have considered using confetti for your exit toss. It’ll look good in photos, and will be fun for the guests to throw in the air. You can choose the confetti to match your wedding colors, and even use a uniquely-shaped confetti.
Cons: You can’t spell “confetti” without the word “con.” While plastic confetti won’t make any pigeons explode, it could be very harmful to the environment. Plastic is non-biodegradable, and will stick to the ground long after your wedding day. Not to mention, some types of confetti will stick, possibly leaving you covered for several days. You may also consider paper confetti, which poses less environmental hazard. But again, you may have a difficult time plucking it from the lace layers on your dress or out of your hair.
How to use it: If you have your heart set on sparkly, plastic confetti, set down a rug or surface to catch the confetti, so that it can be removed and either disposed of safely or recycled. However, there are other types of biodegradable confetti that won’t be as harmful to the environment. Some types of confetti even break down in water and release wildflower seeds into the environment!
Pros: Lavender refers to the aromatic bud that comes off of the lavender plant. It would serve as a softer, more environmentally friendly option than either rice or confetti, and would smell amazing, provided you enjoy the smell of lavender.
Cons: Not everyone enjoys the smell of lavender. For anyone with a lavender allergy, it might prove to be an annoying or even hazardous choice. Also, like the rice, you’d spend a while fishing the small buds out of your pockets and lace layers of your dress.
How to use it: Anyone unwilling to smell lavender, or realistically SMELL LIKE lavender can choose not to take part in the exit toss. Just make sure that no one attending your wedding will have an allergic reaction to the flower buds.
Pros: These will be very exciting for guests to use—especially children. They’ll photograph well, especially if your ceremony ends later in the day. Your exit photos will look magical and exotic.
Cons: As it is anytime fire is involved, there’s the risk of your guests getting burnt by the sparks, or getting burnt yourself. There is also a logistical issue with getting them all lit at the same time. It must be well-executed to ensure they’re all sparking as you and your honey walk through!
How to use it: Like the bubbles, make sure your guests leave you plenty of aisle space through which to walk and have your wedding party inform the whole group of a safe and unified way to hold the sparklers. Remember – move down the line before they all fizzle out!
RIBBONS, STREAMERS & FLAGS
Pros: And here we find it: the con-free exit toss! You can get streamers on sticks, flags, or just give guests a cut piece of ribbon to wave. All of these are somewhat inexpensive, and can be chosen to colorfully display your wedding colors. Aside from possibly getting poked by a stick, there is little risk of possible injury.
No matter what you choose as your exit toss, you deserve to feel stylish as you exit your ceremony. This list was curated to keep you and your guests as safe and happy as possible, all while giving you the best memories—and photographs!