Seven Alternatives to Throwing Rice at Weddings

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Rice at a WeddingThrowing rice at weddings is a tradition that has largely gone out of vogue, due to the myth that eating uncooked rice will cause a bird’s stomach to explode. It doesn’t, because if it did, every wedding venue would be surrounded by piles of feathers; but you don’t want to have to explain that to every one of your wedding guests. Here are a few fun suggestions that keep the festivity of the rice-tossing ceremony without upsetting bird lovers. As always, check with your wedding venue to make sure your choice of projectile is allowed.


If you’re going to worry about birds’ digestive systems on your special day, why not throw actual bird food? Take spoonfuls of birdseed, wrap them in cheesecloth, tie with a ribbon, and distribute them to guests. It’s festive, environmentally responsible, and self-cleaning.


Bubbles are a fun way to do the bride and groom’s recessional without risking putting someone’s eye out with flying grains. They’re inexpensive, don’t make a mess, and grown-ups tend to turn into delighted children once the air is full of bubbles. If your photographer’s in position, bubbles make for truly amazing pictures, too.


Noisemakers (think New Year’s Eve kazoos or shakers) let your guests communicate their joy without having to throw anything at the bride and groom’s faces. Noisemakers can be customized with the wedding date and the couple’s names, since the guests will keep them rather than toss them at you.

Flower Petals

If your wedding venue has a second-story window, have some of the children of the wedding guests toss flower petals down as the couple leaves the building. Another option is to make little cones out of paper, fill those with flower petals, and distribute them for the guests to toss.

Crepe Streamers

These little streamers come with a loop for the guest to hold onto and a weighted roll of streamer that will unroll when they toss it. You get a stylish pop of color without a mess–at the end, the guests are still holding one end of the streamer and can deposit it in the nearest recycling bin.


No, not paprika, cinnamon, or anything else that will make the couple’s eyes water. Sweet-smelling dried herbs like rosemary, lavender, or sage will make for a sweet-smelling exit for the happy couple. You can even set out bowls of multiple dried herbs with paper cones (like water cooler drinking cups) so guests can mix their own scents to toss.

Sky Lanterns

These are (non-flammable) paper lanterns with a wire rigging underneath to hold a candle. When they’re released, the hot air from the candle sends the balloon aloft while the flame makes the lantern glow with a warm, soft light. The lanterns themselves are biodegradable, too.


Nothing can light up a wedding recessional like a multitude of sparklers. Your guests will have to make sure to use them safely, but the showers of light make for beautiful photographs. Wedding day sparklers are available in different colors and even shapes, for a fun and festive addition to the ceremony.

The traditional rice toss is a way for guests to express their joy at the couple’s union and their hope for a long and happy marriage. The modern twists on the tradition add an element of spectacle while eliminating the environmental concerns and clean-up. When it comes to choosing what (if anything) will be thrown at you as you begin your new life with your spouse, make sure to pick something that fits your personal style. Just skip the confetti all together. No one wants to clean up confetti.

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