Seven rice tossing and send-off alternatives for a very dramatic exit

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Even more confetti!
Instead of throwing rice, what other ways can we punctuate the conclusion of our wedding reception? We're not into releasing anything that may have a negative impact on the environment.

What are y'all doing to signal the end of the ceremony or party?


This was an awesome question we pulled from the Tribe. Back in 1996, an Ann Landers column warned readers of the dangers of rice tossing to hungry birds (p.s. it's a myth!). But why should you limit yourself anyway? Here are some funky alternatives for your send-off.

Seeds, herbs, and other stuff from nature

Like Sarah and Liz above, you can use natural confetti to add major fun (without bodily harm to you) and still be eco-friendly. Biodegradable confetti is light, falls slowly (for awesome photos), and dissolves in water. Or you could try plantable seed confetti which will grow into wildflowers.

Our entrance, covered in leaves, petals and seeds

Siobhรกn and Fran had a shower of leaves, petals, and seeds.

Confetti leaves, petals and seeds caught in Fran's hair

Here's a close-up of the flora as it finds its way into Fran's waves.


Sarah and Derek opted to provide seeds for the guests to toss. At least you know there will be hungry critters waiting to clean up after it's all over!

Dorkfest 2010

Hayley and Patrick mixed dried lavender and rosemary for a lovely scented send-off.

puffs 091211 alternative wedding ideas from Offbeat Wed (formerly Offbeat Bride)

Reusable pom-poms can also be fun to throw. Then gather them up and give your cat the time of his life.

Flower Petals

Like bubbles, flower petals are a more traditional choice. But depending on what you choose, they can look pretty awesome.

Homemade petal toss cones

Brianna and Charles crafted these petal toss cones from the envelope liners in their invitations. It also had a note that read, “Please toss these petals at the end of the ceremony to ensure the couple a rosey future.” You could substitute traditional rose petals with wildflowers or silk cherry blossoms.

Wildflower bouquet, flowers in her hair, flowers raining down. Tribe member SilverSandalled looks flower-child fantastic.

Wee! Time to process to the mandap to join Suraj & my family!

We recently featured this gorgeous couple. Liz was given a flowery welcome as she made her way to her groom, Suraj.


Wish lanterns were traditionally used in Asian celebrations, but we're seeing more and more of these beautiful send-offs worldwide. You light the small fuel cell and the hot air lifts up the lantern just like a hot air balloon. Wish Lantern makes a biodegradable version out of bamboo and rice paper, so you can light the sky with less guilt.

paper float 091211 alternative wedding ideas from Offbeat Wed (formerly Offbeat Bride)

Ella and Ben received these lanterns from Ben's mom to light at the end of the evening. How awesome would it look with lots of these in the sky? Giant sky lanterns ready for lift-off in many colors.

Party Poppers and noise makers

Party like it's 1999 with New Year's Eve-inspired props. Party poppers, streamers, biodegradable balloons, noise makers, and vuvuzelas (just kidding!).

the party poppers were a favorite.

Kate and Christopher gave their guests party poppers for a little celebratory feel.

party popper favors

Oh, and they had their FACES on them! Side note: they also had their faces on guitar picks.

Send Off Band

Emily and Rush had a music theme, so they made their entire wedding a “send-off band” with mini clappers!


Sparklers get a lot of play these days as well, but you can't deny their photo-magic abilities. Step one: dark night. Step two: run through sparklers. Step three: ??? Step four: profit.

making our exit

Caitlin and her groom left their reception in style with sparklers aglow. She says, “Sparklers are hard to coordinate, but it is possible to get them all lit at once!”

sparkles 091211 alternative wedding ideas from Offbeat Wed (formerly Offbeat Bride)

This shot is amazing. The sparkles are super huge too. Michele and Stuart couldn't look more cute in this light.

Mini flags

The great thing about mini flags is that they double as favors and guests can use them whenever they feel inspired to cheer. Plus, there's no clean-up and no noise, just fun.

Paper flags for send off

Tribe member Kashiitan crafted these name and date flags for her guests. We've got some tutorials if you're in a DIY mood too: iron-on mini flags and “yay” flags!

miniflags5 alternative wedding ideas from Offbeat Wed (formerly Offbeat Bride)
Tutorial for these iron-on minis!

IMG 5880 alternative wedding ideas from Offbeat Wed (formerly Offbeat Bride)
Tutorial for these “yay” flags!

The Internet approves

Dina and Desiree geeked out with emoticon mini flags.


Think you've seen bubbles done a million ways? Think again. Bubbles can be creepy for Halloween weddings, fairy-like for a Renaissance wedding, and a little shot of irony for an edgy rock wedding.

Smoke Bubble Machine

FOG BUBBLES! Erin and Sam's Dia De Los Muertos, Halloween, masquerade wedding had a few themes going for it, but fog bubbles fit into every one.

Smoke Bubbles

Can't… not… touch!

Bubble celebration!

Emmalyn and Gavin get mystical in their period garb and bubble cloud. I love the little peek of the bubble blower in the background. She's working hard.


Tats, rock chic, sunglasses… and bubbles? Definitely not expected and definitely cool. Elli and Jason rock their send-off like celebs.


[related-post align=”right”]But just be careful not to get carried away with the bubbles like Bich and Justin. Oh puns, I heart you.

What are you guys planning to have thrown your way? Paper airplanes folded from your programs (Thanks, Mich!)? Fake bricks? Leave 'em in the comments!

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Comments on Seven rice tossing and send-off alternatives for a very dramatic exit

  1. There are some amazing ideas in here. I am especially impressed with FOG bubbles! I have never heard of such a thing before and they look so spooky and cool.

    Lanterns look great but I have had such trouble with them in the past. We had some for a friend’s circus-y birthday party. Unfortunately after lighting them in the garden, a bit of wind and the house nearly set on fire. There had to be a brave rescue attempt and lots of stamping…

  2. We’re giant nerds, and we wanted to work that into our ceremony while still keeping it classy. Our recessional was a string quartet arrangement of “The Throne Room” from Star Wars and our cake topper was made from legos. But my favorite part had to be our exit from the church when we gave everybody a nerf gun to fire.

    • Where did you find this idea? Also, do certain nerf guns work better than others? Our home is near a lake and there are many birds in the area. During the summer, I enjoy feeding them, but because of the foliage I can’t throw as close to the bank as I would like to. I had the idea of filling a nerf gun with seed and spraying it off our deck, but I couldn’t find anyone else on the internet that had/has also used this method. Yours was the first I have seen and would love any insight that you can provide. Thanks!

  3. If anyone decides to use seeds or the wildflower mix, please be careful to pick ones that are for sure native or non invasive to your area. “Wildflower” mixes often have species which are horribly invasive depending on where you are.

  4. Oh man, I love the fog bubbles. They’re so freaking neat in person! I wanna carry one around for every entrance I make. Ever. For all of time.

  5. yeah, this. my partner and i want to get married in his parents’ back yard, and i think they’d be PISSED if we sprayed wildflower seeds all over the place.

    • Yeah, it’s definitely a matter of knowing your venue and asking about it beforehand. Better to be on the safe side.

      • If you’re getting married on a lawn, you could probably toss grass seed with the venue’s blessing ๐Ÿ™‚

  6. I made bell favors for our wedding. The guests rang us out with them, and got to keep them as favors.

    • I’m planning to do this, I think, too. Well, in addition to the Millenium Falcon brooch favors XD Where did you get your bells?

      • I used the ball style bells. I had some on hand from a very, very old project, and I bought the rest from Michael’s, Joann’s, and Hobby Lobby. Our wedding was around Christmas time, so I was able to (eventually) run down the sizes and colors I wanted. But I seem to recall Hobby Lobby and Micahel’s both had the “bell” shaped bells in the wedding section in packs of 20 or so.

    • Me too! We used jingle bells tied with tartan bows for our Scottish Christmas wedding.

    • I attended a wedding where the couple were both musicians, and they distributed small triangles for the guests to “throw sound” at them as they left the church

  7. I want sparklers SO BAD. I can’t even tell you. But alas, they’re illegal in California. So if you’re planning on using the magic little firework on a stick, check with the state laws first!

    • Oh mans. I had a giant ’80s workout/interpretive dance video version of these when I was a kid. Ribbon wands are SO MUCH FUN.

      I think ribbon wands will be featured at my wedding. And bells. And maybe also bubbles. Maybe.

  8. We used lavender at our wedding. We also sort of turned around the order a bit. After leaving the church where we got married, my new husband and I ran off for an ice cream cone and a few private moments together โ€” one of my favorite parts of the day, truly. Our guests went back to our house, where we were having our reception. We were the last to arrive, and they lined our driveway and tossed lavender buds. I liked this timing because: 1) We didn’t have to worry about the rules at our ceremony venue; 2) Everyone could participate, and it was a delightful and laughter-filled start to our reception; 3) We could stay as late as we liked at our party, without worrying that older guests were trickling out to head to bed before a traditional “send off.”

  9. We got a bunch of kazoos for our recessional. I want everyone to just go to town having fun with them!

    • As a side note – for my brother and sister in laws wedding last year she handed out kazoos for the processional. When everyone was gathered together as soon as they saw us walk out the crowd BURST into the most horrendus version of the wedding march I have ever heard. It was amazing!! She was so nervous, and as soon as she heard the kazoos start, she laughed the entire way down the aisle. It was perfect!

      • Oh wow, that’s really amusing. We haven’t figured out the music for our ceremony yet, but if enough of my friends are able to make it … maybe I’ll ask them to kazoo the wedding march for me. Thanks for sharing that story!

  10. I totally want to use bubbles but one of our best men is allergic to one of the chemicals in most bubble mixes, Not sure I have the energy to mass produce my own.

    Be careful with the floating lanterns, some venues in the UK won’t allow them due to all the publicity about barns getting burnt down. Would be lovely for a beach or lakeside wedding through.

  11. The “Finally GEEZ” flag made me laugh so freakin’ hard. My husband and I were together for almost five years before we got married, and my sister actually (jokingly!) said this when we told her we were getting married. If I had known about this before my wedding, we would have had these flags or something a lot like them.

  12. We had our guests sign the tail of a kite at the end of the ceremony and when they were done my husband and I ran off into a field to fly it with our guests running behind us.

    • What a beautiful idea! Might be my hormones, but I got a little teary eyed picturing that!

      • It was great. My mother was a mess! And the morning after the wedding my hubby and I ate breakfast together and read all the well wishes and messages of love written on the kite tail. <3

    • I love this idea. I have really been struggling to find a “guest book” concept that made sense for us. Since we are doing a beach wedding, I love the idea of flying the kite on the beach after our farewell brunch. I feel like the tail would need to be quite large to serve as a guest book and I am wondering if you would need some kind of special pen. Can you share a little more about what you used?


  13. I love all these ideas, and I’m so glad to have a space to ask about this tradition because I have never see it done: do couples usually have a recessional send off (post ceremony) AND a send off in the evening when they leave? Or do you pick one? What does the emcee or celebrant or whomever say? How do you get people set up to send you off after the reception without standing around awkwardly waiting for people to gather their signs or sparklers? I’d love some thoughts on the logistics of this.

  14. So I think I’ve been thinking of “poppers” all wrong in my head!

    Does anyone know what you call the tiny little fireworks kids throw on the ground to make a loud pop? I’d love to somehow incorporate those into my wedding (especially if I can find a very green version!), but I can’t for the life of me find what they’re called (I thought *these* were poppers).

    • Oh man, so upset that link didn’t work. I have recently become obsessed with angry birds and your post intrigued me. Lol

  15. Please, no lanterns. Even the bamboo variety can kill livestock, either because they eat it directly or if it lands in a pasture and gets bundled up into the hay/silage bales.

    There are also reports of them causing fires and of being mistaken by the emergency services for distress flares.

    • I love the look of them, but have always wondered what happens when they land?

      Because wouldn’t the remains make an awful mess?

      I was surprised they were even legal to be honest, as letting off even one of these in summer, when most weddings are, could be a massive fire hazard… ๐Ÿ™

      • Personally, I always though the whole lantern eventually catches fire and (supposedly) burns up entirely before landing. Maybe I should think about these things more….

  16. OMG FOG BUBBLES!!! My wedding is in a week. I must find a way to have these before then!

    • Halloween stores are begining to pop up around, and THEY SELL THEM!!! I think they are, like $30-50. Get thee to a Halloween store!!

  17. Assuming everyone’s dressed for it, I think squirt guns would be pretty awesome. Bonus if its in August or July.

  18. Loving all the ideas and we just might go with Kazoos and Fruity Pebbles!! I’ve seen it done at weddings and it looks like confetti. So different and cost officiant especially since you can get them in bulk for cheap. =)

    • We’re planning on Fruity Pebbles. After all, they’re affordable, edible, colorful and we don’t have to pick them up after our outdoor ceremony and reception.

  19. We are having the ceremony and reception at a hotel AND staying at the hotel.. so how would we incorporate a sendoff???? Thanks in advance bc I’m dumbfounded!

    • You could have your send-off happen when you walk back down the aisle. Or, you could have no send-off at all – it’s not required ๐Ÿ™‚

    • Maybe you and your new spouse could leave the property to go have a celebratory drink or maybe plan something with just you and your wedding party? I really wanted for our bridal party to go out and bowl while still in wedding gear, but ended up scrapping the idea. Either way, if you have some reason to leave, you can still have the big send-off/chasing the new couple to their car event. ๐Ÿ™‚

  20. I love all of these ideas! We’re getting married in a private wood, so no fireworks or lanterns, but yes to a mess. I plan on using my shredder and an old dictionary to create biodegradable confetti (paper is mostly eco-friendly, right…?)–but after seeing that gorgeous mix of seeds and leaves and flower petals, I’m tempted to supplement the confetti with rosemary and wildflower seeds. Mmm…all the confetti possibilities!!

  21. I am strongly considering getting biodegradable fake snow for our confetti toss, it is more expensive than paper but it makes for easy (read: no) cleanup and I think it feels magical!

    • At our wedding we’re going to be using swan and crow feathers that we’ve gathered together, we used swan feathers and rose, lavender and orange flower petals at my best buddies wedding earlier this year and everyone loved it.

  22. Okay, so my ceremony and reception are taking place in the same building. Our church has a gymnasium that our reception is taking place in. It ends around 5:30pm when would be a good time to do the send off?

    I was thinking maybe making some yarn pompoms but I don’t know if I have the time or really like the idea. I love bubbles, but they are so messy. I’m trying to find something for about 100 people that is enviromentally safe and cost friendly.

    I’m not sure about the seeds because birds hate me and I would be picking them out for days!

    What would look great in pictures, fall slowly for pictures but not be so difficult to get rid of? Please help, my wedding is June 1!

  23. My friend and I spent several evenings creating ribbon wands with little jingle bells attached. Whatever we did at the venue we would have to clean up and I’m just not wanting to make anyone deal with stuff stuck in the grass of an outdoor wedding. Plus I like the idea that people will want to take the wands with them for souvenirs and the bells will be just enough jingle to make it fun but not overpower anything. The hardest part, at first, was finding enough ribbon in the right colors. Yay inter webs! After getting all the materials gathered and painting the dowels, the actual process of putting 90 wands together took about a day. Overall it took a couple of days (watching paint dry….) I think with everyone standing and waving all that ribbon around it will look really festive and fun. I’m really looking forward to that.

  24. Anyone ever try the sprinkle thing I saw on Pintrest? I know it can stain your gown because of sweat melting the sprinkles, but I don’t really care about that….. I want sprinkles! Good idea????? What do you think?

    • We did sprinkles! They WILL go down your dress/into your bra, and get EVERYWHERE (hair, eyes, mouth) but we LOVED it! And the pics turned out great!

  25. My husband and I walked down the aisle to a garage of paper airplanes! It was amazing and our guests had so much fun writing messages/drawing pictures on them before the tossed them towards us

  26. I was going to punch paper hearts out of old books to use as confetti. I am hoping this will work. Lol

  27. Being renaissance festival geeks, the FH made marshmallow shooters with 1/2″ PVC pipe cut into 6″ lengths and spray painted. They are then “loaded” with a mini marshmallow, and “shot” by blowing through one end while aiming at your target. We bought colored mini marshmallows so it will be like confetti and after a good rain (or watering of the lawn) the marshmallows melt!

  28. We had our guests toss plain popcorn since our ceremony was held at a beautiful movie theater. It was so much fun, and the pictures turned out amazing!

  29. We are thinking of using a couple of things. Feathers mixed with paper flying duck confetti(if we can figure out how to make some with my mom’s new Cricut) and bubbles. Planning on using feathers instead of petals for the aisle too.

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