In American weddings, we have a tradition of distributing a "send off" item to guests at the end of the night that they then use to celebrate the bride and groom as they exit the reception.
Previous generations used rice exclusively for their wedding send-offs. This tradition stemmed from Roman times when wheat (as a symbol of fertility) was thrown at the bride and groom. Under Queen Elizabeth I, wheat was replaced with wheat cakes, which were broken into pieces and thrown. These wheat cakes were later replaced by the more affordable substitute of rice.
These days, rice is rarely the send-off item of choice, largely because of an urban legend that rice makes birds explode when ingested. Aside from this misconception, there are many other reasons rice is rarely chosen - rice is difficult to clean-up, it's a slipping hazard, and it HURTS when you're pelted with a handful of rice.
Italian tradition is to throw confetti, symbolizing money and good fortune. Scottish tradition is to throw flower petals as a symbol of fertility. Both of these options can be troublesome to clean-up crews and are thus forbidden by many reception venues. What are other options?
Our clients frequently choose sparklers, which make a beautiful exit. But sparklers have their own troubles - they are dangerous for obvious reasons (especially when handled by inebriated guests) and are frequently not allowed, especially when there's an active "burn ban" in the area.
Bubbles are another popular option, but create a silent send-off, as it's impossible to cheer and blow bubbles at the same time.
Noise makers, streamers, kazoos, glowsticks - we've seen so many great, creative choices for send-off items!
Recently, I've noticed an increased number of couples choosing to forgo the send-off items all together, leaving the guests to simply cheer and applaud. I must say, I love this trend! It eliminates unnecessary waste, is safe, and is just as fun as the other options. Win!
What did/will you use for your send-off item? Why?