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Why Do we Throw Rice?

Tossing rice or other grains at the newlyweds is a tradition as old as the hills.

Rice symbolizes fertility and prosperity for the new couple. Tossing the rice means you’re blessing them with wishes of fruitfulness and wealth.

Through the Years

The ancient Celts, Brides says, threw rice, millet and other grains to appease their gods and ask for blessings on the newlyweds. Ancient Romans tossed wheat while in Morocco, they toss dried dates or figs. In India, it’s a rain of flower petals.

In more recent years, tossing rice has met with objections that the leftover grains can harm wildlife. The state of Connecticut even introduced a bill in 1985 to ban throwing rice to save birds. However, Brides says that Audubon officials in the state never heard of rice killing birds and subsequent testing has shown it to be safe. What rice can do is be a slip hazard for your guests. So someone should be tasked with cleaning up after the rice throw to keep things picked up and safe.

How and When

Before your ceremony, have small packets of rice ready for your guests. They can be distributed by your ushers, tied to your programs or left on chairs.

You should task people with letting people know when you would like rice to be tossed and also list it in the program. The rice toss can be when the couple walks out of the ceremony, during a group photo or when the couple arrives at the reception.


There are several reasons why you want to skip the rice toss. Maybe you and your partner aren’t planning to have children. Perhaps you’d like to avoid the safety hazards with rice or want a greener option. Here are some alternatives to consider.

• Bird seeds.

• Dried flowers.

• Herbs.

• Flower petals.

• Biodegradable confetti.

You can also pass out small bells to have guests ring or ribbons to wave. There are lots of options that can match your wedding theme, venue and personality. Get creative, just make sure you pick up after yourselves and have a safe celebration.

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