There’s a classic moment in many weddings where the bride winds up and pitches her bouquet into a crowd of friends, who then scramble and elbow each other in an effort to catch it. Plenty of people like to toss the bouquet, and it’s all in good fun. But for others, the tradition just doesn’t feel right.
“The purpose of the toss is to gather all the maidens together so the bride can lob the luck of marriage to the group,” Katherine Frost, wedding planner and owner of A Frosted Affair, tells Bustle. It all started as a way to “help out” the single folks in attendance, and give them a bit of hope that, one day, they too will be so lucky to wed.
When you think about the origins, the idea does seem a bit dated. But that’s not the only reason you may want to replace it. “Some brides might not want to do this tradition because all of her friends are married or in a relationship, so there is no one there to catch it,” Lauren Davis, event planner and owner Live the Dream Events, tells Bustle. “Or they’d like to keep the bouquet as a keepsake.”
Whatever the case may be, there are plenty of alternatives to tossing the bouquet, if you aren’t into it. So read on below, and take your pick.
1. Honor The Longest Relationships At Your Wedding
If you and your partner are going to have a couples dance, consider honoring the oldest relationships in the room — like your grandparents who have been married for 60 years, or your favorite neighbors who have been together for 25.
To do it, have the DJ or band call out all the couples. As Davis says, “The dance starts and the DJ announces, ‘OK, if you have been married for less than 24 hours, please exit the dance floor!'” Then you and your partner leave, everyone laughs, and the count continues.
Move on to “newlyweds, five years, seven years, 10 years, 20 years… highlighting the number of years that you know your guests have been married,” Davis says. It should result in the couple who has been together the longest dancing alone, and you can even present them with your bouquet.
2. Peel Away The Bouquet
If you don’t care much about hanging onto your bouquet, consider peeling it away, Catherine Bachelier, wedding planner and stylist, tells Bustle, and handing out a single flower to multiple guests.
“I once had a bride who had 30 guests at her wedding,” Bachelier says. “During dinner, her speech was a one word description for everyone in the room. Her bouquet was loosely tied together with a ribbon and when removed, she handed out all the flowers (and her word for them) individually. Each person received [their] part of her bouquet.”
You can also give a longer speech, or present stems to your bridal party. Whatever you choose, this can be a great way to show gratitude towards your guests, and make a bigger group of people feel special.
3. Take A Group Photo
“If you’re going to pause the reception for an activity, why not make it something memorable for everyone? Take a moment to get all of your guests to pose together for a group photo,” Marie Kubin, wedding planner and CEO of Rent My Wedding, tells Bustle.
This can be a fun alternative to gathering around to catch a bouquet, where only one person gets all the glory. And, it can result in some great candid photos of folks beyond the bridal party, who might not have otherwise ended up in pictures.
4. Toss Candy To The Crowd
If you’re in the mood to chuck something across the room, why not make it candy? This can be exciting for the kids in attendance, Kubin says, who will definitely have a good time scrambling around and grabbing it off the floor, parade-style. But chances are, everyone will want to join in.
This can be an unexpected way to spice up your wedding, add to a theme, and get people out of their seats, so consider doing it right before the dancing segment of the evening.
5. Shower Everyone With Flower Confetti
Instead of having one heavy bouquet rain down from above, go ahead and make it millions of petals. Flower confetti can be a beautiful way to replace this tradition, Sarah Carroll, wedding planner and owner of Small Shindigs, tells Bustle.
First of all, it’s eco-friendly. Petals are obviously au natural, and won’t harm the environment the way waves of foil or plastic confetti might, should they happen to blow away. It’s also super colorful. And, perhaps best of all, Carroll says it makes for an excellent photo opp.
6. Toss A Stuffed Animal
To benefit others, throw a stuffed animal into the crowd that represents a meaningful cause, “then announce to everyone that you will be donating a percentage of your wedding gifts to support a charity,” Kubin says. Or even if you’re own money, if that’s something you can do.
“For example, toss a toy cat to support an animal shelter, or a stuffed dolphin to support an environmental foundation,” she says. Whoever catches it gets to keep the stuffed animal, but everyone will go home knowing that they were a part of something much bigger.
7. Throw A Paper Bouquet
If you want to throw a bouquet, but simply can’t part with the one you’ve been carrying around all day, consider making a paper bouquet just for the moment.
Toss it over your shoulder as per usual, or construct it in a way that all the flowers will come apart mid-air, so each one of your friends can get something. To go one further, consider writing a note on each, Kubin says, thanking your guests for being there.
There are plenty of ways to replace the bouquet toss, if you’re looking for something new and fresh to do instead. Simply focus on what feels right for you and your partner, what sounds fun, and go with that. In fact, go ahead and make this your wedding motto, and you’ll be guaranteed to have a good time.