There was a time when sending off the bride and groom required little more than good wishes and a box of Uncle Ben’s. No more. Now there are wedding ceremony send-offs as the couple leaves the church/venue/beach and reception send-offs as they figuratively or literally leave to embark on their honeymoon.
In many cases, the send-off is more than just a grand exit symbolic of starting a new life together — it also doubles as a well-orchestrated photo op. So the goal is to devise a fun send-off that complements the couple’s personality and makes a great memory and even better picture. And the best part is that it doesn’t have to cost a fortune.
Whimsical, colorful, and photogenic, bubbles have become a popular send-off accessory. Bubbles work best during the day, and one photographer says that for the best visual, have guests and the bridal party start blowing bubbles before the couple emerges from the church or reception venue. That way, the air is filled with floating balls of happy.
A word of warning: A blizzard of bubbles has to land somewhere and can lead to slippery steps. So make sure the bride and groom tread lightly so they don’t spend their honeymoon in a walking cast.
Let it take a village to send off the happy couple. Have the bridal party and any willing guests stand in two lines facing each other, then have each pair make an arch with their arms (think pee wee softball) to create a kind of send-off tunnel.
The Rice Alternatives
Tradition has it that the rice grains were supposed to bestow fertility. But there are more colorful alternatives. You can buy eco-confetti at party stores (which dissolves in water when hosed away), or you can buy colored paper and make your own using a hole punch. Some couples put packets of the confetti into the front of the wedding program so it’s right at hand for after the ceremony.
You can also toss rose or other kinds of flower petals, channel your inner rhythmic gymnast and wave ribbon wands, or toss beach balls, especially appropriate at a beach wedding. Lavender buds are growing in popularity because they are both eco-friendly and fragrant.
Ring Them Bells
Hand out bells so guests can literally ring in the new marriage.
Light Up the Night
Night send-offs offer different opportunities, such as colorful wish lanterns, glow sticks, or tiki torches. Right now the most popular evening send-off has to be sparklers. They can be used as de facto torches lighting the couple’s way. They can be grouped on the ground to form a photo op heart or spell out a message. Visually, sparklers at night are dramatic and fun, and photographed properly, they make for stunning pictures.
While many newlywed couples may consider limos the ultimate send-off ride, it really depends on the personality of the bride and groom. Pretty much anything that rolls, floats, or flies can work: a horse-drawn carriage, a motorcycle, a hot-air balloon, a two-seater bike, jet skis, a classic car, a Prius, or a speedboat. The point is for the couple to stay true to their personalities and styles.