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Replacing the Rice with Something Just as Nice

You’ve seen the classic movie shots: The happy newlywed couple exits the church under a shower of rice. You’ve probably even attended weddings where rice was thrown, though we’re guessing it wasn’t a recent wedding. These days, tossing the grain has become passé. What else can you toss?

Rice was thrown because it is a symbol of fertility and good luck. Even so, many ceremony and reception locations won’t allow you to throw rice. It’s difficult to clean up (especially out of a lawn) and can roll when stepped on, leaving your guests at risk of falling (and the site open to lawsuits).

Here’s what doesn’t happen: birds don’t explode after they eat uncooked rice. Think about it: Are there more dead birds than usual around your church or reception site? In fact, some birds rely on rice right from the fields for food.

Luckily, there are many, many options for modern brides who want to update the long tradition of tossing rice at the newlywed couple. As always, check the rules at your ceremony and reception location. They may not want you tossing anything at all, or they may make you responsible for cleanup – either paying for it or doing it yourself.

The Alternatives

Bubbles: Bubbles are easily the most popular alternative to the rice toss. They’re whimsical, airy, and don’t stick around. Plus, kids and grownups love them! You can get bubbles in small bottles that are easy to personalize with ribbons and tags.

Bells: Bells are a traditional way to drive away bad spirits and bad luck. Hand out bells at your ceremony or use these bells that double as place card holders, and ask guests to ring them as you make your exit. Bells are also a great alternative to clinking glasses when guests want to see a kiss.

Confetti: Traditional confetti might be on your location’s no-no list, so ask about this festive biodegradable confetti instead. It’s water soluble, so a simple spray of the hose or a rainstorm will wash it away. Best of all, it flutters like snow when it falls, which will create romantic, dreamy photographs.

Sparklers: If your reception is ending after dark, leave the celebration in a tunnel of sparklers. Hand them out to guests right before you leave, and let sparks fly! You’ll get great photos.

TELL US: Are you replacing the rice at your wedding?