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  • Christina Farmer


Spring 2022 Intern – Christina Farmer March 14, 2022

Photo by Ashleigh Donahue Photography

Introduction: The Send-off

One of the best moments of all weddings is the last moment, the send-off. The moment the happily married couple makes their big exit from the reception. All the excitement of the beautiful wedding day comes to a close at this very special time. The bride and groom are giddy with excitement as they head off to their honeymoon, and the families and friends are delighted to see the couple married. It is said that people tend to remember the first thing they see and the last thing they see. With this being such a memorable and important part of the wedding, it is necessary to include this into the formal planning of your big day. It may feel like a sad goodbye to the special day, but it really is hello to a new life together.

What exactly is the send-off?

Wedding send-offs have been a popular trend for years. Surprisingly, the tradition dates all the way back to the time of Ancient Rome hundreds of years ago. The tradition was not only a fun activity done at the end of a ceremony but was a signifying tradition. To celebrate a new couple’s life together, the Romans would throw rice for the new couple at the send-off symbolizing a life of prosperity, fertility, and good fortune. Other cultures similarly would throw other prosperous crops such as corn, oats, or wheat to signify abundance in a new life together. The Italians also adopted a similar tradition years ago. The Italians would shower the newlyweds with sugared candies to wish sweetness on the couple’s marriage together.

This age-old tradition is both fun and meaningful. It is continued to be practiced at most weddings even now years later. Today, the wedding send-off is a practical way to signify the end of the wedding day when all the guests should leave. It is also a great time for the couple to say goodbye to all their guests before heading off to their honeymoon together. Not to mention the send-off tradition makes for super cute pictures of the couple with their guests.

Photo by Clark Berry Photography

What are the trends in send-offs?

Over the many years of wedding send-offs, the send-offs have become increasingly more creative. It is fun how new ideas have been incorporated over time. The tradition, once started with rice, now may use sparklers, confetti, balloons, lights, and so much more. There are so many new ideas for send-offs.

Some of the most trending and new send-off ideas are as follows:

Rice: Rice is an easy trend that is both traditional and pretty. However, it has been disapproved for usage outside as it can be a harm to wildlife, specifically birds.

Bird Seed: Bird seed is very similar to rice, but a more eco friendly option. This option also avoids a hard clean-up afterwards since the small birds and squirrels can help eat up the seeds.

Confetti: Confetti is another fun thing to throw during the send-off. An alternative to throwing confetti would be to use a couple confetti bombs as the couple comes out of their ceremony which is shown above. Confetti comes in many different colors to easily customize it to the theme of the wedding.

Flower Petals: Flower petals, specifically rose petals, are another traditional send-off trend. This is a good trend for a romantic send-off or send-off in the spring season. Real petals or fake petals both could be used for this trend.

Leaves/Herbs: This trend is a newer trend, similar to throwing flower petals. However instead of flowers some brides have decided to use leaves or herbs (lavender, sage, jasmine) for their send offs. This is a unique option and a good choice for a fall wedding.

Balloons: Balloons are a fun idea and can be used in different ways. If using helium balloons, they can be released into the air during the send-off. Another option is using nonhelium balloons and throwing them up for the newly married couple.

Wildlife: Another unique trend for wedding send-offs is to release doves or release butterflies at the send-off. This send-off is very different than traditional send-offs and can be very memorable.

Sparklers: Sparklers have been the most highly used send-off trend recently. Using long twenty to thirty-six inch sparklers allows them to be held up high as the couple runs through the line of guests. Pictures from this send-off are fun and unique.

LED Light Wands: Lights can be used instead of sparklers as a non-flammable option similar to the look of sparklers. This is a fun idea for a send-off done in the dark. An alternative to this is to use glowsticks as a cheaper option and alternatively more colorful.

Paper Airplanes: Paper airplanes can be lots of fun especially for the guests. During the reception, guests and children are invited to fold paper airplanes and have them ready throw when the couple makes their exit. This is an easy trend to facilitate and clean up but requires participation from the guests especially children.

Bells: Ringing bells for the new couple is a cute trend that does not require throwing anything at the couple. This trend is easy, but definitely a noisy one.

Ribbon/Flags/Streamers: This trend is another trend that does not require anything being thrown. These are also very customizable to the theme of the wedding. Flags can have names and anniversary dates written on them for cute memorabilia from the wedding.

Bubbles: Bubbles are another trend that makes for sweet pictures. This trend can be a messy one but another fun one for guest participation.

Colored Smoke Bombs: This is another newer trend at weddings. It is messy trend but again, makes unique pictures from the wedding.

This may seem like a long list of send-off ideas, but every wedding new ideas are becoming a trend. In several years these trends may not even be used anymore. There are so many possibilities for the send-off. This is a great way to get creative when planning a wedding.

Photo by Marley Photography

How much do send-offs cost?

The price of a send-off will vary greatly by different types and ideas. Send-off prices depend largely on the number of guests participating in the send-off. However, buying in bulk can also help save on costs

per person. To get an idea of how much a send-off may cost, below is a breakdown of average prices for per guest participating in some of the most commonly used send-offs (lowest to highest price).

  • Paper airplanes = $0.01 per sheet of paper

  • Rice = $0.05 per one quarter cup

  • Bird seed = $0.06 per two ounces

  • Balloons = $0.09 per balloon

  • Synthetic rose petals = $0.10 per twenty petals

  • Glow sticks = $0.13 per eight-inch glowstick

  • Bubbles = $0.15 per bubble stick

  • Confetti pieces = $0.15 per one quarter cup of confetti

  • Ribbon wands = $0.39 per wand

  • Real rose petals = $0.75 per twenty petals

  • Bells = $0.75 per bell

  • Helium Balloons = $0.86 per balloon

  • Sparklers = $2.09 per thirty-six-inch sparkler

  • Confetti bombs = $2.20 per confetti bomb

  • LED sparkler wands = $2.50 per wand

Photo by Katherine & Tyler Photography

How do I plan the perfect send-off?

The wedding send-off as one of the most memorable moments of all weddings must not be forgotten. Thankfully, the send-off does not have to be a large portion of the wedding budget but should definitely be included when planning. When planning the send-off there are several things that must be considered.

First, before making any dreams of the perfect wedding send-off, the wedding venue must be consulted. Some venues do not allow things to be thrown, such as bird seed. Others may not allow open flames, such as sparklers, and others may require that any debris of a send-off must be entirely cleaned. Something such as confetti could be too much work to clean up after a wedding is over. Some brides might get lucky and pick a venue that has no regulations pertaining to the send-off. However, whether there are rules or not, the venue will need to know about the wedding send-off before finalizing any plans.

Second, the couple should decide where they want to do their send-off. A wedding planner will help with determining the best spot for the send-off. There must be enough space for the guests to line-up on the sides of the exit. There also must be a good place for the get away car to be parked and ready to go. It is also important to plan a route for the couple to come from the ceremony to their getaway car.

Finally, the couple, will have to decide what exactly they want to have at their send-off. They should consider whether or not they want things to be thrown or not. The couple should consider their budget in the decision. Some send-off ideas will cost more than others. It is important to think about the guests as well. If a couple has children at their wedding, they may not want to use sparklers as this could be dangerous. If guests are wearing masks during a wedding ceremony a couple may decide not to use bubbles as it could be hard to blow bubbles for the couple. If there are guests that may not want to get messy during the send-off, the couple might consider avoiding colored smoke bombs. The photos from the send-off should also be considered. Some send-offs are easier to capture than others and some pictures come out looking fantastic, like sparkler pictures and confetti.

These are some of the many things to consider when preparing and planning the perfect wedding send-off. It may seem like a long list but when proper planning measures are made, the send-off will be so much fun and memorable. Having the pictures from a perfect wedding send-off can not be recreated and the memories will be everlasting. The planning for the send-off will be well worth it.

Photo by Annie Laura Photography

Are you ready for the send-off?

The wedding send-off is a special part of all weddings. If you or someone you know is planning a wedding, do not forget about the send-off. It may be the last moment of the wedding, but it is still one of the most important moments of all weddings. The options are nearly endless, each one customizable to the ideal wedding being planned. Happy planning!

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