Long gone are the days of leaving your wedding reception and people throwing rice at you. In 1985, a Connecticut state legislator introduced a bill to outlaw the long-standing tradition of throwing rice at a newlywed couple. The rice was originally meant to symbolize rain. Rain on your wedding day is said to be a sign of prosperity, fertility and good fortune.
After the bill was introduced, rumors began to spread that the rice harmed birds who would swoop down to eat it after the wedding guests had left. The rumors were even repeated by Ann Landers in her advice column. Even though many ornithologists argued against the rumor, it wasn’t until 2002 that the University of Kentucky actually put the matter to test. Professor Krupa conducted an experiment which found that birds who ate uncooked rice suffered no ill-effects or death.
However, churches still do not allow rice to be thrown at their newly-wedded couples—mostly due to the mess it creates. So couples have started traditions of using other materials for their grand exits.
Pros and Cons of Grand Exits
In this blog post, I will discuss the pros and cons of some of the more popular materials used during wedding grand exits.
Cons of a Rice Exit
- Not allowed at many churches and venues
- Hard to clean up
- If after dark, flash must be used
- May interfere with camera’s focusing system when thrown in front of the bride and groom
- The rice may create a slippery surface to walk on
Pros of a Rice Exit
- Very traditional and symbolic
- Photographs well
- Not harmful to wildlife
Cons of a Sparkler Exit
- They are dangerous
- They can burn your guests, especially children
- They can start your dress and your venue property on fire
- Some venues do not allow them because of the liability issue
- They have been known to blind people (photographer, bride)
- You have to have a way to dispose of them properly immediately after the exit
- You have to have very long sparklers in order for them to burn long enough for the images
- They leave a trail of smoke which can make your images look hazy
Pros of a Sparkler Exit
- They do create beautiful images
- The sparklers provide ambient light
- If the photographer uses a slow enough shutter speed, be sparkles will be blurred and create a further photographic effect
- The images can be captured without flash in the dark
Cons of a Bubble Exit
- The bubbles do not provide any ambient light for the photographs
- You are at the mercy of the quality of the bubble soap
- Your guests are busy blowing bubbles and do not get to watch your exit
- Your photographer has to be familiar with off-camera flash since the only way you will see them is by a reflection of light
- They may blow in front of your face and disrupt your image or the camera’s focus
- You need a lot of people to blow bubbles
Pros of a Bubble Exit
- There is no real danger involved
- They also provide beautiful images if there are enough
- The guests have a small treat to take home, the children seem to like this
Cons of Glow Sticks
- You are mostly limited to neon colors
- Unless your wedding theme was something involving a nightclub or the 70s, the aesthetic really does not match
- Your guests need a few minutes to activate the glow sticks, usually more time is needed than sparklers
Pros of Glow Sticks
- They do provide ambient light
- There is no mess to clean up
- They can be waived around and moved into different shapes
Cons of Confetti
- Someone has a huge mess to clean up
- You have the same obstacle of the confetti blowing in front of your face and creating a focusing issue for the camera
- Confetti does not provide ambient light
- Not good for wildlife
Pros of Confetti
- You can choose literally any color to match your wedding’s theme
By far the most popular method of having a grand exit right now is by using sparklers, but here are some alternative ideas for your grand exit. Make yours unique!
Some Alternatives to Standard Exits
- Paper airplanes
- Leaf confetti (handcrafted, hole-punched from actual leaves and then dried)
- Bird seed
- Ribbon wands
- Dried lavender or any other herb
- Cap guns
- Flower petals
Whatever medium you decide to use in your grand exit, be sure to discuss with both your venue owner and your photographer. Neither wants to be surprised with something unexpected on your wedding night and your photographer needs to be prepared. This means moving lights ahead of time from inside the reception hall to outside where the exit will take place and placing them in the best place for light cast and fall off.
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I am San Antonio’s most unique wedding photographer. I specialize in a 10-day image delivery, same-day prints, same-day slideshows, Italian handcrafted wedding albums and I have a mobile meeting space.
I am a full-time, internationally-awarded and WPPI-C certified professional wedding photographer based in South Texas near San Antonio. I offer a premier and personal service coupled with an unforgettable photography experience. I cater to clients who appreciate quality photography and help them to create family heirlooms that will last for generations.
I started Ata-Girl Photography Co., LLC in 2010. I firmly believe that the unique set of circumstances I have faced in life has prepared me to take a personal and genuine interest in my photography clients. I enjoy documenting the important milestones and captivating moments in people’s lives. I love being a part of people’s journey and consider myself privileged to document their legacies.
When I’m not photographing a wedding, I love to spend my spare time hiking, camping, cycling, reading, listening to Elvis and Prince. The most important things in life are for me to see my two daughters happy and to create a family history my grandparents and grandson would be proud of!
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