The majority of my couples are deciding to throw out tradition all together in favor of creating new memories for their wedding. In today’s blog, I offer a few options for couples looking for bouquet and garter toss alternatives. Who needs to toss flowers when you can toss a cat? (I’ll explain.)
I’ll start by saying this: it is YOUR wedding. Never be afraid to do away with traditions if they don’t suit your style. If you think cutting the cake and throwing a bouquet is stupid, then don’t do it. No one is saying you have to have your mother’s wedding. So with that in mind, here are my top 10 bouquet and garter toss alternatives.
Top 10 Bouquet and Garter Toss Alternatives
Go gender neutral. In today’s #MeToo world, why not bring everyone together on the dance floor? The bride can toss her bouquet and the groom can toss his boutonniere at the same time. what flower a guest chooses to catch is completely up to her/him.
Want more than one person to be a winner? Then have your bouquet split in pieces so that when it gets tossed, it falls into three (or more) smaller bouquets. This type of bouquet is known as a ‘breakaway bouquet.’. It’s the perfect solution if you have little flower girls who are overly enthusiastic about picking up the bouquet, but you really want your maid of honor to get your flowers.
Say it with flowers. Expanding further on the breakaway bouquet idea is to throw a bunch of flowers into the crowd with little notes tied to each stem. Select a flower that’s fairly hardy, like fresh tulips or perhaps roses that have been de-thorned, and toss enough flowers into the crowd so that every person gets their own bud. You can tie a little quote to each flower so that everyone has something special to take home.
The more, the merrier. If you’re going to do a more inclusive bouquet toss, like the one above, don’t be afraid to open up the call to more than just single people.
Toss up the garter toss. I see the garter toss less and less at weddings these days. Since the garter toss has sexual overtones, fewer and fewer couples are leaning toward making their guests feel uncomfortable on the dance floor. Again, you might want to flip the gender around and have whoever catches the bouquet be the one putting the garter belt on whoever catches the garter belt. That is, the garter belt goes on the guy.
Flower alternatives. If you’re looking for something to throw besides flowers, then go for something compact and lightweight that won’t injure anyone if it hits them. Stuffed animals are a good option. You could also try paper airplanes made out of something like coupons or maybe with a lotto ticket inside. Other options might include a decorative item that goes along with your wedding day. Candy is always a good option, so long as it doesn’t turn into Hershey kisses shrapnel. You could also do lightweight snowflakes or or happy little tchotchke you pick up online. Whatever you decide to throw, I recommend you make a test toss well before the wedding. You don’t want to find out at your wedding that your bouquet alternative has been weaponized and can possibly hurt guests or worse, just fall flat.
Dance off, baby. The whole idea behind the bouquet toss tradition is that your wedding sets the stage for the next wedding of one of your guests. There’s a whole competitive spirit in the process where women, and conversely men with the garter toss, compete to see who will get married next. Why not channel that competitive spirit and turn it into a dance off competition? Have a ladies-only dance, followed by a men-only dance, and then put the two winners together on the dance floor in a circle. The female and male winners of the dance off get the bouquet and garter, respectively. It’s an entertainment win-win for your event.
Respect your elders. Speaking of dance off competitions, you could show the young ones what it’s like to be married by having an ‘anniversary dance’ instead of a bouquet toss. The anniversary dance is a nice way to celebrate the institution of marriage by letting those who have been married the longest stay on the dance floor the longest. The DJ will count down the number of years each couple has been married. The couple on the dance floor at the end win the bouquet and garter. I actually like this tradition very much, as it is a wonderful way to celebrate the older generation. One other alternative is to simply give your bouquet to your grandparents if they are still living. Make this into a big presentation and say thank you for showing you what love looks like.
Pay it forward. Deliver a heartfelt thank you to your Maid of Honor or someone special in your bridal party. If you have a small wedding with just a maid of honor and a best man, you may want to say thank you directly By ceremoniously bestowing on them your bouquet and garter after giving a little speech. You let your guests know how thankful you are for your best mate, and she gets a beautiful bouquet to take home.
Bling it out. For a while there was a trend of making bouquets out of flower pins or broaches. If this is the case, and you have enough pins, you may want to simply give one away to each single guest. Who doesn’t love a little jewelry as a gift?
A few bouquet and garter toss considerations:
- For the best photos, do a fake toss first so that your photographer can concentrate on you throwing your bouquet, and then take photos of the your guests reaching for it on the real toss. That is to say, do a fake toss and the photographer will photograph you tossing, then be fully turned around to concentrate on the action when the bouquet actually does get tossed into the crowd. The best reaction shots happen when the camera is standing still and capturing everything in front of it. If I have to move my camera from you to the action, that there is a chance I’m going to miss something as your girls start fighting over each other for the bouquet.
- Make sure you consider the ceiling height of your venue and be aware of any obstructions. Heed my warning: look out for ceiling fans.
And finally, I have to give credit to the website, Jezebel, for this final suggestion. When doing some research for this article, I came across this link where a reader told the story of a wedding in which the bride and groom tossed a cat into the audience. That is, they tossed a cat-shaped stuffed animal into the audience, and whoever caught the cat was the next person to own a cat. I’m not sure that was motivating to get people on the dance floor, but this was the most hilarious suggestion I found by far.
Enjoy the photos of some bouquets I have photographed over the years, and give me a call if you’d like to talk about your wedding photography.
Coming up in the next blog: toddler portrait tips with a family photo shoot in Forest Hills.
If you would like to see more images from my wedding photojournalism portfolio, then please visit my website — www.KellyWilliamsPhotographer.com