The tradition of throwing rice at weddings is a time-honored practice that has symbolized fertility, prosperity, and good luck for the newlywed couple. However, as environmental awareness grows, (and most churches and venues now prohibit rice or bird seed), couples are seeking sustainable alternatives. In this blog post, we will delve into the history of throwing rice at weddings and explore eco-friendly alternatives that embrace both tradition and sustainability. Let’s take a journey through time and discover how this beloved tradition has evolved.

The Origins of Throwing Rice

The tradition of throwing rice at weddings dates back centuries and is believed to have originated in ancient civilizations such as the Romans and Greeks. The practice gained popularity in the Middle Ages when rice was considered a symbol of abundance and fertility. Guests would shower the newlyweds with rice to wish them a prosperous and fruitful marriage.

Some years ago, environmentalists raised concerns about the impact of rice-throwing on the environment and bird populations as it is thought to harm birds by expanding in their stomachs. Instead, they recommended bird seed, which we now know can be equally as detrimental to flocks. Thus, a shift towards more sustainable alternatives was necessary. Let’s look at some fun alternatives that are good luck and environmentally friendly, too.

Biodegradable Confetti

Paper Confetti

Opting for biodegradable confetti made from natural materials such as corn or rice paper is an excellent idea and is available in a wide varity of colors. This colorful and eco-friendly option adds a festive touch to the wedding celebration without harming the environment.

Flower Petals

Embrace the beauty of nature by using flower petals instead of rice. You will find a myriad of options from fresh to dried, to pressed to freeze-dried… the options are endless. Be sure to choose flowers that are locally sourced and pesticide-free. No matter which blossoms you choose, they will be sure to create a romantic and whimsical atmosphere as they flutter through the air.

Leaf Punchouts

No, we are not suggesting you pick a fight with a tree! “Leaf punchouts” are made using leaves (fresh or dried) and scrapbooking punch tools. The punches come in an endless variety of shapes and are easy to find online. It can be a great way to pass time the night or two before the wedding with friends and family (and a glass or two of wine) helping to make “confetti”.

Seed Confetti

Encourage the growth of new life by using seed confetti. Made from biodegradable materials embedded with flower or herb seeds, this alternative allows guests to plant the confetti after the ceremony, resulting in beautiful blooms as a lasting reminder of your special day. (Word of warning: Make sure you have permission to use the seed confetti – you don’t want to accidentally plant an invasive species in someone else’s yard. Yikes!)

Lavender or Herb Toss

For a fragrant and sustainable option, consider using dried lavender or herbs, including rosemary or thyme. These natural alternatives release a delightful aroma and any leftovers can be repurposed after the wedding. Win – win!

Tuscan Olive Leaves

The perennial favorite here in Tuscany for confetti are olive leaves. Nearly everywhere you look, you’ll find an olive tree so availability is never a problem. Simply strip off a handful of leaves and get ready.  

Other Eco-Friendly Options


One of our absolute favorite eco-friendly options are bubbles! They make for a fun and playful alternative and sizes range from small individual tubes to huge, battery-powered “bubble guns”. Make sure you choose eco-friendly bubble solutions that are free from harmful chemicals. Bubbles create a magical and ethereal effect and make for stunning photographs.

Ribbon Wands

Delight guests with ribbon wands that they can wave as the couple exits the ceremony. Choose ribbons made from organic or recycled materials to ensure sustainability. The vibrant ribbons create a festive and visually captivating moment and also keep little ones occupied for hours afterwards.

Bell Ringing

Revive the tradition of bell ringing to celebrate the newlyweds. Provide small bells for guests to ring as the couple walks down the aisle or exits the ceremony. This alternative brings a joyful and harmonious element to the celebration.

In conclusion, the tradition of throwing rice at weddings has a long history, symbolizing abundance and good fortune. However, as environmental concerns grow, couples are opting for sustainable alternatives that align with their values. From biodegradable confetti to flower petals, there are numerous eco-friendly options available that ensure a memorable and environmentally conscious wedding day. By embracing these alternatives, couples can preserve tradition while making a positive impact on the planet.

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