The Bouquet Toss: A Dying Tradition?
Ah, the bouquet toss. It’s been regarded as a time-honored tradition during which fate, luck, or perhaps an intervening deity revealed which single woman would be the next to walk down the aisle. As with many other nuptial customs, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that many couples are eliminating the bouquet toss from their celebrations. If you’re curious about its origins and some possible alternative traditions you can choose for your special day, read on.
A Distraction for Rowdy Wedding Guests
It’s unclear where the bouquet toss tradition came from, but one commonly repeated origin story is that it’s a relic from medieval times. When the happy couple would depart from their wedding to consummate the marriage, so the tale goes, rowdy guests would chase them during their exit. To keep them distracted, the bride would fling her bouquet into the crowd while the groom tossed her garter.
Other versions of the narrative suggest that attendees attempted to rip off pieces of the bride’s dress, believing that even a tiny square of its fabric would bestow good fortune. Over time, women started lofting their bouquets at revelers to avoid the destruction of their lovely frocks. Soon, people began associating the airborne clusters of flowers with a chance for good luck and began waiting patiently for brides to toss them instead of pursuing her and the groom.
Saying Goodbye to the Bouquet Toss
In an April 2017 Brides article, writer Jen Glantz gives three reasons why she thinks the bouquet toss is a custom best left in the past:
- It’s awkward and embarrassing for single attendees.
- If a guest catches it, single men may avoid her the rest of the night.
- You can devise other fun ways to get rid of the bouquet.
The Knot contributor Maggie Seaver also points out that the seemingly innocuous practice can turn dangerous, especially with crowds of attendees who may have been consuming alcohol. Tipsy fumbling and stumbling aside, injuries may result when people dive for the flying flowers, especially while wearing high heels. They could crash into the wedding cake, smack their heads against a wall, or catch an elbow to the face. You’ll avoid mishaps, and perhaps potential litigation, by skipping this tradition entirely.
Cool Alternatives for Your Bouquet
In her write-up for The Knot, Seaver points out that you really don’t have to replace the bouquet toss with anything else. However, there are plenty of alternatives if you still feel called to find a fun way to pass it on to one of your guests. Some common suggestions include the following:
- An “anniversary dance” in which the couple who’s been together the longest gets the bouquet
- Using a bouquet that breaks apart so you can gift sections to your loved ones
- Holding a “dance move” competition and awarding it to the winner
Jezebel writer Jolie Kerr collected some readers’ stories of unusual ways they gave away their bouquets. One couple held a “cat toss,” launching a cat plushie into the crowd with the lucky catcher supposedly being the next to get a cat. Others threw glitter bombs on their guests, passed their bouquets on to friends who would be marrying soon, or saved them to leave on a loved one’s grave.
Choosing Between Traditions and Custom Details
Weddings are both events with personal meaning and social affairs that allow couples to commit to each other in front of their communities. With that said, you’ll probably end up balancing the traditions you wish to honor with unique details reflecting your personality and values. As the bouquet toss appears to be on its way out, there are many awesome alternatives you can adapt for your own special day.