You may have heard a rumor that throwing rice during your wedding exit was harmful to local birds. In fact, that rumor was so convincing, a Connecticut bill was proposed in 1985 to ban the act altogether. The bill never passed—and no similar laws exist in present day—largely because the rice rumor isn’t true. Unfortunately, rice still has a bad reputation at weddings. If you’re worried about your feathered friends or want a more unique wedding exit—you still have plenty of options.
There are so many ways to make your wedding exit memorable, and many of those ways are safe for the environment, too. If your grand exit is indoors, you might not be too concerned about the environment—after all, you can simply vacuum up whatever is tossed. But throwing confetti or glitter outside can be harmful to both wildlife and nature. These nine wedding exit ideas are unique and eco-friendly—some even double as wedding favors, so you don’t leave any trace behind.
Of course, before you decide what to toss, always check with your venue. They may have rules about what can or can’t be used—both indoors and out. And keep in mind that, while these items won’t hurt the environment, someone might still need to clean them up.
Perfect For: Summer Weddings
Bubbles may be a favorite childhood past time—but that doesn’t mean adults don’t still enjoy them! Create a magical wedding exit as guests blow bubbles around you. You can hand out the bubbles right before you leave—or you can use the bottles as place card holders for your seating plan, so there’s no commotion as everyone crowds around to grab a bottle.
Perfect For: Spring Weddings
Flowers are both romantic and beautiful—which is why you probably plan to have plenty at your wedding. Tossing petals during your wedding exit is a chance to tie your entire theme together. Use petals that match your bouquet, so the same flowers escort you into and out of your special day. You may be able to get extra petals from your florist to match your bouquet, but fresh petals don’t have a long shelf life, so you’ll need to pick them up close to the wedding. If you’re worried about adding more weekend-of stress, consider buying freeze-dried petals ahead of time.
Perfect For: Mountaintop Weddings
Declare your love from the mountaintops with wedding bells! You can go extreme with cow bells or provide smaller jingle bells for a quieter declaration. For larger bells, consider engraving the location or date on the bell, and using that for your wedding favor. Or attach smaller bells to the actual favor with instructions for ringing. Of course, bells are eco-friendly because your guests take the bells with them, instead of spreading them around the ground!
Perfect for: Evening Weddings
While sparklers themselves aren’t safe for the environment either, guests can easily discard them so they don’t collect on the ground. Before you and your spouse leave the reception, ask everyone to take a sparkler and line up along the path. Make sure they’re all a safe distance away before you take your exit walk—and place a photographer on either end of the aisle. This will capture coming and going photos, so it won’t matter if all the sparklers light at the same time or not.
Bonus Tip: Purchase extra sparklers to capture unique wedding party photos after the ceremony.
Perfect for: Minimalist Weddings
Herbs have been used for centuries outside of wedding tradition, each one full of symbolism. Tossing some of these fragrant plants creates a powerful sentiment for your new life together. For example, rosemary symbolizes fidelity and luck. Combine that with sage—which stands for domestic virtue and a long life—and you’ve created a unique message on your special day. Offer a DIY herb station with four or five herbs, labeled with their symbolism. Then let guests create their own message and well wishes to bestow on you, literally!
Perfect for: Destination Weddings
If you’re traveling for your wedding, you probably want to keep your packing list short, even for decorations. And if you’re going international, there may be items you can’t bring with you—like the foods or liquids on this list. Flags are a perfect alternative; they are light, easy to pack, and you don’t have to worry about them expiring. Print cheers like “Congrats” or “Yay” on the flags, and offer them in different colors that match your palette. Guests can wave them as you exit, and take them home as a keepsake.
Perfect for: Large Weddings
If you had your heart set on a confetti-filled wedding exit, don’t worry! Many companies sell eco-friendly confetti options that look like the real thing, but won’t harm Mother Nature. Toss it as you head away from the celebration, but also use it as decoration at the reception. Fill jars with it, or sprinkle the tables for some colorful fun.
Bonus Tip: Research the company thoroughly before purchasing any confetti.
Perfect for: Outdoor Weddings
Even though there’s no evidence that rice is bad for birds, don’t let that stop you from tossing something that’s good for our flying friends! Visit your local pet shop or bird supply store for a pre-made mix. On your special day, you can have guests scoop a little into their hand for tossing.
Perfect for: Barn Weddings
This option is inexpensive and safe for the environment—a double win! All you need is a family member or friend who can pop some kernels a day or two before the big day. Each guests will need 1-2 cups of popped corn, so make sure you buy enough kernels. And don’t worry about adding in any butter or seasoning; that will just get all over your guests’ hands.
Taking care of the planet is important—and so is celebrating your special day. These eco-friendly wedding exit ideas are the perfect send offs, without harming Mother Nature. Plus, they make for unique wedding favors, too! That’s the kind of positivity every wedding needs.
Which idea do you think you’ll try? Or did you come up with one on your own? Share your thoughts with us below!