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How to Photograph the Perfect Wedding Exit Toss

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If you have ever been to a wedding as just a guest, not the photographer planning every photogenic move, you may have wondered about one tradition above all others. We are talking about the tossing of rice on the bride and groom when they exit the wedding ceremony. It doesn’t seem to matter if the ceremony was in a church, at the Justice of the Peace or in someone’s back yard. Once the vows are made, the bride and groom have been presented to the public as husband and wife, and the traditional first kiss is done, the tossing of rice begins.

But this is an old custom, one that dates back to Roman times, where it was intended as a blessing for prosperity. The thinking was that if you were showered with rice, then it stands to reason that the gods would see this as a sign to shower the happy couple with good fortune and plenty of food to eat in the future. While today we tend to not think in those terms, we still like to shower our wedding couples with good fortune, and so the tradition has remained.

But while you may cruise the web for 30 wedding send off ideas for the perfect exit when planning this scene as their photographer, don’t limit yourself. Here are some alternatives that the queen of planning herself, Martha Stewart, suggests if rice just seems too humdrum for this wedding scene.

Paper Airplanes

This has been used at the wedding of couples who began as a long-distance relationship and continues to be used in some weddings. You can even have the planes distributed ahead of time so that everyone has a chance to write a happy wish for the bride and groom before they send them off. Collecting them up and giving them to the bride and groom to read the wishes at the dinner can be a great part of this new tradition.

Flower Petals

For a wedding that is planned in pastels this is particularly stunning. In addition, if the couple are very environmentally conscious, they might like the fact that these petals are quite bio-degradable and so will not be littering up the landscape after the wedding ends. It is also very pretty and makes great images for the photographer as they walk through a shower of beautiful flower petals.

Love Them with Lavender

This is a French tradition that is beginning to be seen more and more at American weddings. Since lavender is a symbol of beauty and romance, the French feel it is the best thing for pelting the bride and groom as they emerge from the wedding aisle. Just make sure it is tiny bits and not entire branches of lavender that the guests are using or you may have some bruised toasts at the wedding dinner.


While this has been banned in many cities because of the mess it leaves, if you use oversized confetti that is made especially for the wedding, you may be able to bypass this law in your city. The big pieces make them easier to pick up after but still have that lovely floating image for the pictures you will be taking as you wait for the happy couple to emerge.

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