Traditionally, wedding guests tossed uncooked rice as the bride and groom exited the church. That tradition has become less frequent due to a popular urban legend about birds getting sick from uncooked rice. In fact, birds eat uncooked rice in the wild all the time. Still, in the 21st century, we can put some modern spins on old traditions.
Confetti is fun because it’s colorful. However, it’s important that the confetti be biodegradable. Traditional confetti is often plastic or metal. It can be uncomfortable to get under one’s clothes. Get a piece or two down the bride’s neckline and she’ll be itching the rest of the night. Regular confetti is also difficult to clean up, and it sits around in landfills forever. It’s also an actual hazard to animals which can choke on it or have it block or cut into their digestive tracts.
Biodegradable confetti, on the other hand, is water soluble, so it can simply be washed away, and it won’t harm animals who try to eat it.
Throwing flower petals might be seen as a less aggressive gesture than showering the couple with rice. Petals float gently, while rice comes down like rain. However, consider sticking with white petals, such as from white roses. Flower petals can transfer their color to objects they rub against, including the bride’s stark white wedding dress. While simply brushing against clothing is not a problem, wiping petals away can be. Also, some indoor venues don’t allow them due to the risk of them being ground underfoot into the floor.
Bubbles are a popular novelty item for modern weddings. Little bottles of bubble solution made specifically for weddings can be bought in bulk. Besides showering the newlyweds in bubbles as they exit the church, guests can continue to play with bubbles until they run out of solution. This is particularly attractive if kids will be present, as it can occupy them while the adults are socializing.
Popped popcorn combines the symbolism of rice (representing abundance) with the eco-friendliness of biodegradable confetti. Animals can eat it without danger, it can be easily swept up and it quickly disintegrates. Popcorn pieces are also big enough they won’t get under people’s clothing.
Nothing says the newlyweds have to be physically assaulted when they leave the church. The ringing of bells works just as well. The most common are a couple inches in height which can be affordably purchased in bulk. Tiny bells can also be attached to sticks and decorated with streamers, so that waving them creates both a wave of chimes and a flurry of fluttering colors.
Bells can also serve double duty at the reception, when people can ring them in lieu of clanking glasses to get the couple to kiss.
If the traditional rice throw does not attract you, there are plenty of alternatives. Biodegradable confetti, bubbles, petals, popcorn and bells are just a few of the possibilities to consider in customizing the big event for the bride and groom.