The Sweet Send-off
You’ve been pronounced married, you’ve had your first kiss and now you’re ready for everyone to shower you with well wishes as they send you off into the world as a new couple. While tradition dictates throwing rice, modern couples are using more creative measures for their wedding send-offs.
When Margaretta Sacco got married in June 2013, wedding guests tossed handfuls of fresh flower petals for the couple’s send-off. “Years before, a friend of mine had done it at her wedding, and it was a lot of fun,” says Sacco.
Sacco opted for flower petals because “they’re not only pretty, but they’re biodegradable.” As Sacco and her husband Steve left the chapel, guests showered them with the white petals. “It was breathtaking,” she says.
Good send-offs are in the details, the most important of which is knowing your venue’s polices on tossed items beforehand. “They do need to clean it up afterwards,” says Jaime Gilliam, operator and manager at Magnolia Manor, a southern manor house in Colfax, N.C., that hosts about 30 weddings a year.
Because Magnolia Manor’s property contains a lot of tress, it doesn’t allow sparklers because they’re a fire risk. “Especially when people start drinking, it can get out of hand,” says Gilliam, adding that sparklers are much better for a beach wedding.
Knowing your venue’s restrictions goes beyond potential fire hazards. While Gilliam’s venue allows birdseed, she notes that some venues only allow non-germinating birdseed because it can ruin the grass.
Minneapolis resident Dani Indovino discovered that the church where she’s having her July 2014 wedding has strict policies on send-offs. “I’m making little ‘Yay’ flags as a send off from the church, since we’re not allowed to do anything that’s thrown or lit on fire,” she says.
For those who have fewer restrictions, Gilliam recommends staying away from things that are difficult to pick up, such as silk flower petals, confetti, silly string or glitter. “You cannot get glitter up,” says Gilliam. She notes that there is eco-friendly confetti that disintegrates when it gets wet, which is a better alternative.
Gilliam has seen options run the gamut — from bubbles AND wands with ribbons or bells to glow sticks, glow-in-the-dark balloons and even candy sprinkles. Other natural options include tossing birdseed or lavender leaves. “[Lavender] makes a nice scent too,” says Gilliam.
Send-offs also be can personal. “One girl is doing paper airplanes because he’s in the military,” says Gilliam of an upcoming September wedding.
When figuring out what your guests should toss, keep in mind that they are throwing something at you. “Ask yourself, do you want to be hit with something? Rice and seeds are hard,” says Gilliam.
If being hit by birdseed’s not your thing, perhaps actual birds are. When Siobhan Barton got married at a horse farm in Kent, Ct., in October 2013, she and her husband Jason had a dove release with more than 100 birds that live on the property. “We have a great photo of the two of us, along with our guests, staring at the doves circling overhead.”