Wedding Tradition Breakdown: Throwing Rice

There’s something special about involving guests in your wedding. Being a wedding guest can be fun, but it can also be a little dull just sitting and watching all night. That’s why it’s great when the happy couple involves the guests from bouquet tosses to wedding games.


Tossing rice is one wedding tradition that gets everyone involved, which might be why it’s lasted since ancient Roman times. But how exactly did this wedding tradition start and what does it represent?



The history of tossing rice dates back to ancient times, pre-existing Christianity. In fact, back in the olden days, it wasn’t even always rice that was thrown. The Celts tossed rice, millet, and other grains, while ancient Romans used wheat. Other parts of the world used other items like nuts or figs, but they were mostly grains or crops.



No matter what was actually thrown, the meaning was the same. The rice (or grain of choice) was meant to symbolize prosperity, fertility, and good fortune. It makes sense since grains and crops are things that grow. This ritual was typically performed as the couple walked out right after marriage so that they were showered with blessings as they entered their new life together.



These days, the rice tossing tradition has changed some. Some studies found that uncooked rice tossed was having an ecological impact on birds, and although this was disproven the myth has stuck around and veered people away from rice tossing. That doesn’t mean the traditions have completely died though. Rather than rice, newlyweds are often showered in other things instead.


Venues also often have limits around what can be tossed due to clean-up. Some places allow it as long as it’s cleaned up before the wedding is over (so we suggest you skip messy items like glitter or confetti). Instead of rice, these days many people use alternatives that are more eco-friendly and easier to clean up. Some rice tossing alternatives include:

  • Flower petals
  • Sparklers
  • Bubbles
  • Bio-degradable confetti
  • Paper airplanes
  • Colorful smoke


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