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.
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.
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.
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.