The Recessional Toss – Make it Big and Make it Count

Blowing bubbles or throwing things at the couple as they recess is an ancient tradition that dates all the back to Roman and Egyptian times. It was originally intended (not surprisingly) as a fertility ritual, or simply a symbol of abundance and harvest, rice especially relates to the harvest.

Look how gorgeous! photo: Rob Lettieri.

Today, people often pick up their tiny little bottles of bubbles just a tad too late. The couple has already headed down the aisle and the moment is gone.

Let’s not let that happen. Here are a few ideas about how to, and what to toss, and make your recessional the best it can be.

Outside the church.

There are many different items to throw or toss at the newlyweds. But to really make it work, your guests need to be reminded. Of course this is for outdoor ceremonies. If you are indoors – you’ll most likely do this on the church steps, and in some cases you may not have the opportunity at all. But then again, a few indoor spots might let you – perhaps they’ll just sweep it all up later. Asking permission is always a good idea.

I’ve developed some great language around this. I remind everyone just before the pronouncement; I even put it in my script so I don’t forget either! Go ahead and ask your officiant to do this as well. A simple, ‘get ready with your bubbles’ will work.

A beautiful reason to do it right.

But taking it a step further, I’ve even created a short script about blowing bubbles, calling it a ‘bubble blessing’ and describing how, with a deep breath, the guests will blow the bubbles out into the Universe with their best wishes, blessings and good vibes! This idea can take on a variety of styles, from serious to whimsical – I sometimes talk about it being magic. A bubble blessing can be customized to just about anything you choose to throw, and there are certainly many choices. Here are a few:

  • Bubbles
  • Paper confetti (make it bio-degradable)
  • Confetti Cannons (or poppers)
  • Lavender
  • Eucalyptus Leaves
  • Rose Petals
  • Birdseed
  • Paper Airplanes
  • Rice (it’s a myth that uncooked rice is bad for birds – its perfectly ok)
  • Pom-poms
  • Tiny Beach Balls

You can place items in paper cones or bags of some kind.


Tossing petals - make it count. Photo by DeLorenzo Photography

For streamers – the guests have to get fairly close for the best effect, and the same is true for ribbon wands. These are really more about the crowd waving them, rather than showering the couple. Streamers tend to shower the guests as much as the couple.

If the couple comes from different countries it could be really fun to have tiny flags from their countries of origin

For tossing item, use about one cup per guest.  I’ve seen people use glitter and other items that stick to your clothes, and I don’t recommend that. For evening weddings those biodegradable sky lanterns are fabulous, but not practical for a recessional – this can be an activity in-and-of itself, later in the evening.

Photographers love a good recessional toss and for good reason – it creates a wonderful photograph.

There are other ‘end of ceremony’ rituals, Breaking the Glass, Jumping the Broom, and more, but that’s a different story, and I’ll talk about that another day.

The guests enjoy it, too.

Thank you to the wonderful photographers: Lisa Rhinehart Rob Lettieri  and DeLorenzo Photography for these wonderful pix!

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