Do You Need to Have a Bouquet Toss at Your Wedding?

Like most things related to weddings, it's up to you.

bridal bouquet of peonies jasmine and rice flowers with ribbon
Photo: Hannah Mayson

Love it or hate it, many people consider the bouquet toss to be a staple at modern wedding receptions. Here's how it works: All the single women gather on the dance floor, and the bride throws her bouquet into the crowd; whoever catches it will supposedly be the next to marry. Wondering whether you should incorporate the activity into your wedding reception? Here, two wedding planners offer some insight.

A quick history lesson on the bouquet toss.

The bouquet toss has been a wedding tradition for hundreds of years. It has roots in England, where touching the bride supposedly brought good luck to guests. For that reason, party-goers would attempt to tear off pieces of the bride's wedding dress or flowers, hoping that some of her fortune would transfer to them. In an effort to prevent this invasive situation, the bride would throw her bouquet and leave the vicinity.

Of course, the original meaning behind the bouquet toss has become obsolete, but many couples still incorporate the activity today. In fact, Shannon Leahy Rosenbaum, a planner and designer at Shannon Leahy Events in San Francisco, says it occurs at about around half of the weddings she plans. "It's lively, fun, brings energy to dance floor, and encourages people to stay out there and dance," she says.

Should you have a bouquet toss at your wedding?

Even though the bouquet toss brings energy to the dance floor, it has several disadvantages as well. First of all, single ladies may feel awkward and embarrassed getting called out in front of everyone, especially if many guests are already married. "I typically only recommend a bouquet toss when you know you have a number of single friends attending the wedding. A bouquet toss can be really awkward if there are only one or two single friends attending, so know your guests and plan accordingly," says Rosenbaum. Another reason to avoid the bouquet toss: it can be dangerous. When a dozen girls dive toward a bouquet, chances are that sometime will end up with scratches and bruises-or at least a broken nail.

If you decide against a bouquet toss, consider finding alternative use for the bouquet. According to Jill La Fleur, the owner, planner, and creative director of La Fleur Weddings & Events, "One idea is to ceremonially hand off the bouquet to a mother or grandmother, or even a couple that has been married the longest. It's such a lovely gesture ​and so appreciated​!" You could also plan another fun activity, such as a dance competition. At the end of the day, the bride and groom should think about their wedding atmosphere, guest list, and preference. Only then can they decide whether they want to incorporate a bouquet toss into their reception.

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