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Ceremony Tosses

Martha Stewart Weddings, Volume 11 2000

The tossing of rice at newlyweds is an ancient tradition symbolizing abundance and fertility. You may have heard that raw rice grains are harmful to birds that ingest them, but ornithologists say this isn't true. Even so, rice may not be the best choice for tossing because it can be slippery underfoot and difficult to clean up. Here are some alternatives.

Package birdseed for wedding guests to toss after the ceremony in glassine bags sealed with stickers and slips of paper bearing the names of the bride and groom.

Rose Petals
Cut paper doilies into quarters, roll into cones, and seal with a sticker or tape. On the day of the wedding, fill the cones with petals from fresh, opened roses. Stand the cones in a tissue paper-lined box, and hand them out to guests just after the ceremony.

Fill sheer fabric pouches with tiny hydrangea blooms or petals from other seasonal flowers.

Spring Ceremony Toss
Try tossing fragrant seasonal blooms instead of rice. Remove stems from assorted blossoms (we used cosmos, wax flowers, and chamomile), and have bridesmaids carry baskets of them. Guests can reach in and grab handfuls to toss.

Summer Ceremony Toss
Small cellophane bags filled with sunflower seeds make a great wedding toss. Cut a piece of paper the same width as the bag but 1 inch shorter; decorate using rubber stamps. Slide paper into bag; fill halfway with seeds. Fold top of bag back into a flap. Use a 1/16-inch hole punch to punch two holes through the bag, paper, and flap. Thread a short piece of waxed twine through holes, and tie ends.

Fall Ceremony Toss
Fall leaves make a lovely seasonal ceremony toss, especially when hung on the back of guests' chairs. Fold a rectangular piece of grass paper (available at art-supply stores) in half crosswise, and insert leaves. To close the bags, thread a length of red wax twine through gaps in the weave in each unfolded corner, and knot. Tie ends into bow; hang one on each chair.

Winter Ceremony Toss
Send a winter-wed couple off in a flurry of paper snowflakes. Use white and light-blue paper and a snowflake punch (available at art-supply stores). Place handfuls of snowflakes in small glassine bags. Wrap a narrow ribbon around each; affix with double-stick tape at the top of the front and back (we taped a snowflake in front). Secure the ribbon and bag flap with a monogrammed silver sticker.

You may choose different effects entirely to highlight your grand exit as a newly married couple.

A festive way to close a wedding ceremony is to light sparklers as the bride and groom leave the site. These can also be used as favors for the guests at an evening wedding, where they can be given out along with printed matchboxes or matchbooks. Tape a sparkler to the back of each matchbox to keep them from sliding about, and tie with a ribbon.

These small bubble bottles are made specifically for weddings. The bubbles look beautiful floating around the bride and groom, both in person and in photographs.

Comments (12)

  • Shuvo 27 Mar, 2011

    Sparklers can turn a typical wedding exit into a grand send off. Consider lining the walkway with 36” sparklers. Simply insert the 36” long sparkler into flowerpots along the sides of the walkway, space them out one every 4’. This not only adds to the effect but also provides a great way of getting everyone’s sparklers lit. Have an usher or two walk the line lighting the 36” sparklers, and your guests can light their sparklers directly from them. You can buy sparklers online at skyligh

  • moongem 26 Dec, 2010

    I used the bracts (colourful leaves) from bougainvilleas in asstd colours as rose petals were too expensive. They looked absolutely stunning in the garden wedding and fell just like confetti. The bride was estatic!

  • desirih1 12 May, 2010

    What about four leaf clovers for a March wedding?!

  • LayWay 29 Apr, 2010

    POPCORN! That sounds fantastic! Even the hungry guests will be delighted!

  • elin_beckmann 28 Apr, 2010

    We will be using popcorn at our wedding in 5 weeks!

  • kabarry 11 Apr, 2010

    Any suggestions of where to buy those little bags shown in the pictures?

  • LaurenOin2010 24 Mar, 2010

    Careful with the sparklers at the end of a reception... I went to an event where there were some injuries. Intoxicated guests hot fiery sparklers = disaster.

  • PaigenGA 22 Mar, 2010

    I am going SPARKLERS! We cannot throw anything as well.

  • cuki 15 Mar, 2010

    question - I would love to buy the coloured rice for my wedding
    do you know where I can buy it via internet ?

  • momma5 24 Feb, 2010

    we weren't allowed to throw anything either so we blew bubbles

  • denvervore 23 Feb, 2010

    At my wedding reception we were not allowed to toss anything, so we handed out small bells with ribbon and a short poem attached. Guests rang the bells as we departed.

  • denvervore 23 Feb, 2010

    At my wedding reception we were not allowed to toss anything, so we handed out small bells with ribbon and a short poem attached. Guests rang the bells as we departed.