Confetti is one of those enduring wedding traditions that has stood the test of time. Historically, wedding guests would bring some rice or grain to shower the happy couple with as they left the church - thus ensuring a fertile and prosperous future for them! Over time, this tradition has given way to commercial confetti and more recently to dried flower petals.
Nowadays however, not all guests bring confetti and when to use it is less clear - especially with single venue weddings where the couple don't leave the venue after the ceremony. So here are some tips to ensure you get the confetti moment and photos you want at your wedding.
1. Check with your venue
Some venues won't allow any confetti, while others will restrict it to particular locations around the venue or to certain types of confetti - usually biodegradable types or dried flower petals. So, it's well worth checking with your venue before you go ahead and buy confetti for your guests to throw. Your venue team will also be able to guide you on where best to have your confetti moment.
2. Plan your moment
Working alongside the venue, your photographer will help you get the most out of your confetti moment. Based on your chosen venue and wedding day plans, your photographer will be able to advise on when and where to have it. I always think it best if you can make it a natural part of the flow of your day, rather than stage it specially for the photos. If you aren't having a church ceremony, then two options that work well are:
Indoor wedding - arrange with your venue to divert you to somewhere quiet as you leave the ceremony. This will allow you to enjoy a few precious moments together while your guests are ushered to a suitable place for your confetti exit - for example, just outside an entrance to the venue. Then your photographer and venue team will organise your guests with confetti at the ready before letting you know to make your exit and greet your guests.
Outdoor wedding - arrange with the venue to place a small bag of confetti on each of your guests' seats. Then ask the registrar or celebrant to invite guests to shower you with confetti as you make your way back down the aisle at the end of the ceremony.
If neither of these options are possible for any reason - for example if it's raining at the end of your ceremony - then a third option is to choose a suitable time during your day and ask your photographer to gather all your guests into a semi-circle - with you in the middle - so they can shower you with confetti when the rain has stopped!
3. Choose your confetti
Nowadays, you can't rely on your guests to all bring their own confetti and even if they do, it might not be suitable unless you've let them know what's allowed at the venue. It really is best to take things in hand and let your guests know that you'll provide confetti and will plan it into your day.
So, even if your venue allows any type of confetti, it's always best to go for one of the many biodegradable types - yes, you can even get biodegradable glitter! - or better still for natural, dried flower petals. Hydrangea, delphinium and wildflower petals work well and it's recommended you budget on around 1 litre per 10 -15 guests. At larger weddings, it's unlikely that everyone will be close enough to throw confetti, so you may only need enough for around half your guests.
If you want to use larger petals, such as rose petals for their colour, it may be best to mix them with smaller petals as they won't float through the air and may clump together. Finally, while rice is the ultimate in traditional confetti, it can't be recommended for outdoor use as it can be harmful to birds that eat it - also, it can sting when thrown with gusto!
4. Get things organised
So you just line everyone and they throw the confetti right? Well, sometimes that can work and it's certainly more spontaneous than organising things, but it can be very hit and miss in terms of the pictures you get. If you want to enjoy a great confetti moment and have great pictures too, then it can help to give your guests a little guidance.
I always encourage everyone to get as close to together as possible and for those at the start of the line to move in towards the middle as soon as the bride and groom have gone past them. Then I will remind everyone to throw the confetti up, above the heads of the happy couple, so that it floats down gracefully without getting in the couple's eyes! Finally, I try to get everyone to throw the confetti at more or less the same time by giving them a countdown, so that you'll get as many people and as much confetti as possible in your pictures!
5. Enjoy the moment!
As with everything else on your wedding day, the moment will go so quickly - so take it easy and make the most of it! Just walk slowly, look around you, take in all the happy faces, stop for a kiss and enjoy the moment to the max!
BONUS TIP - Alternatives to confetti
If confetti isn't allowed at your venue, you could see if an alternative might be acceptable. There are many other options to consider from bubbles, to pom-poms, to paper aeroplanes and even water soluble, artificial snow - great for winter weddings! In the pictures above the pom-poms were given added poignancy by being made from Grandmas wool collection so she could be remembered on the day.