The end of your wedding day is the beginning of your new life together as a married couple. You want to celebrate in style with a grand exit worthy of your everlasting love, hence the wedding send-off.
The send-off is a tradition that dates back to the Ancient Romans. A variety of items, from rice, to wheat, to oats, have been tossed at departing couples as they exit the wedding celebration. These were chosen specifically to bring the newlyweds good fortune and fertility.
This tradition continues today, although couples have become more creative with how they set off into their future together. Modern marriages are concluded with a wide range of send-offs, including eco-friendly exits, lights, color, music, and methods that honor traditions. Whatever your preferred style, you’re sure to find something on our list to suit your fancy.
The send-off is an important component of your wedding, both from a symbolic and practical standpoint. Symbolically, it’s the end of the wedding and the beginning of your life as a married couple. It’s also the last time you can realistically expect to have all of your wedding guests together in one place. Even if you’re holding a day-after brunch, some of your guests will have likely headed home already.
That’s why so many couples still include this beautiful tradition in their wedding. However, now that the creative options have expanded to include a wide variety of elements outside of rice and grain, you must make sure that your venue matches your send-off dreams. For example, you probably can’t leave your wedding to exploding fireworks and smoke bombs if you’re hosting an indoor ceremony.
We highly recommend selecting your wedding venue before making plans for your glorious exit. Zola’s pre-screened wedding venue finder will make this step a breeze. You can sort through wedding venues by location, price, capacity, and more to find your perfect place. Then, you can contact the vendor to clarify any restrictions they may have on items you’d like to use for your send-off.
Speaking of send-offs, let’s take a look at our top 50 creative ways to say au revoir to your guests.
We’ve listed our eco-friendly farewells first because many couples are concerned with creating less waste during their ceremony. Couples looking to add organic elements will love these wedding send-off ideas that leave little (or no) trace behind.
Natural send-offs incorporate sustainable and raw elements and are perfect for rustic or bohemian wedding themes. These wedding send-off ideas are also more likely to be venue-approved, as cleanup and impact are minimal.
Instead of a traditional confetti toss, using a biodegradable option will protect the landscape, while still giving you a gorgeous shower as you walk out together.
An outdoor wedding ceremony closed with a toss of birdseed will ensure that the neighborhood flocks have a quick snack available the next morning.
The white dove symbolizes peace, hope, gentleness, devotion, and beauty. A humane release of doves is believed to bring these qualities to your marriage.
Any dried flowers will do—you can use a mix, or you can match them to your wedding flowers. As a bonus for an outdoor wedding, there’s no clean-up required.
There’s no better way to exit your fall wedding than under a shower of bewitching fall colors.
Your guests can wave white handkerchiefs or colorful ones, depending on your wedding theme and your preference. Handkerchiefs are reusable and can be used to wipe happy tears from your guests’ eyes.
A dried lavender toss is an enchanting way to bid your guests goodnight while leaving behind a sweet lasting scent.
Olive branches, like doves, have long been a symbol of peace, harmony, and hope. Walking out among waving branches will imbue your union with positive vibes.
If your wedding is outdoors in a tropical locale, palm frond fans will keep both you and your guests cool.
Throwing fresh rose petals, or any other flower petals that you love is another eco-friendly exit option that will perfume the air with a captivating aroma.
Using just push pop containers and dried flowers, you can make a petal launcher that your guests will adore using to sprinkle you as you’re leaving.
This is a dual-purpose exit tool. You can feed hungry guests and provide them with a safe way to shower you as you head for the door. We recommend plain, unbuttered, popped kernels.
If you’re looking for a true zero-waste method of slipping out, have your guests (or one special guest) sing you gently away.
These delightful send-offs are fun for you and your guests, plus they’re environmentally safe.
A soft romantic glow or a bright burst of light will send you and your new spouse off into the night in style. It should go without saying that some of these are only safe for approved, outdoor venues. Others, such as glow sticks or LED wands, can be safely used at any ceremony. As an added bonus, any youngsters at your wedding will be thrilled by the opportunity to play with lights.
Have your wedding go out with a bang by setting off fireworks to close out the evening! It’ll certainly leave your guests with plenty to talk about and admire.
While less flashy than pyrotechnics, glow sticks are still an alluring way to end your wedding ceremony. They’re also a relatively safe choice if there are kids or flammable materials around.
You can go old-fashioned and provide your guests with candle-lit lanterns or use battery-powered tea lights for a simpler approach. Either way, the soft glow of lanterns as you leave the reception will create an enchanting aura.
Your guests can wave LED wands as you walk by to sprinkle you with a little shine and, hopefully, a lot of luck and good fortune.
The force is strong with your union, so why not start your married life with the power of the Jedi by having a lightsaber send-off? This is a prime choice for the “Star Wars”-loving couple.
This is a divine way to exit a river or lakeside wedding. Have a boat with a lantern or candle waiting for you to hop aboard and paddle away into the night. The effect will be breathtaking for your guests.
A simple, candle-lined path leading away from the ceremony provides a pretty promenade for you to follow as you set off into the night together as a married couple. Make sure to plan ahead and assign someone to light the candles at the appropriate time.
This is another whimsical way to light the sky without the dangers of fireworks. These dreamy aerial lights will captivate your guests as you make your grand exit.
If your venue approves, let the sparks fly with a sparkler lit departure. Your guests can wave beautiful sparkling wands around as you leave, creating some truly magnificent photo ops.
Any way you choose to use it, light can give you a picture-perfect close to your wedding day.
You can make your entire wedding more captivating from start to finish by using color. Splashes of color throughout will brighten the ceremony and reception, plus create a mood that your guests will respond to. Furthermore, color showcases your personality and helps carry your theme through all of your decor elements.
If you’re searching for flawless coordinating items for your entire wedding day from preparation to send-off, Zola’s wedding boutique has everything you need. We have decor, party favors, gifts, and more to help you add that exceptional, colorful touch. You can then continue the festive look as you make your way out of the venue together with these bright goodbyes:
Instead of releasing balloons into the sky (which can harm local wildlife), have your guests hold and wave colorful balloons as you walk through the doorway of your wedding for the last time.
If your wedding is out on the sand, what better way to send you out into the night than with brightly colored bouncing beach balls? As an added bonus, they’ll keep the kids entertained.
Clear bubbles are classic but colored bubbles add an even more dazzling effect to your exit photos. The shimmering iridescence will make these pictures the stars of your wedding album.
This send-off idea is strictly for outdoor weddings in nice weather. However, imagine how astonishing your wedding exit will be when you include the natural beauty of fluttering butterfly wings. Typically, a butterfly release is also used to honor those whom you have lost.
Fans decorated in your wedding colors can serve as both a pretty wedding favor and a cool way for guests to send you off after the wedding reception has ended.
Mix different sizes and textures to craft a unique confetti array. Incorporating your wedding colors into the confetti bits is a delightful way to sprinkle happiness into your walk out of the venue.
Both glamorous and delicate, a colorful feather toss is a graceful way to ease you out of the wedding reception and into the welcoming night air.
Kids and adults alike will adore these color-changing wands that they can wave as you parade past them and make your exit.
Shimmer and sparkle your way into newlywed life with a glittering send-off. Some venues might not allow glitter or might only allow a glitter toss if you use larger specks of glitter that are easier to clean up. Make sure to ask first.
This is the perfect symbolic send-off for the couple who loves to travel together. You can have construction paper in your wedding colors available for your guests to use to design their own paper planes.
An alternative to messier confetti, paper streamers are much easier to clean up. You can coordinate with your wedding colors or add all the colors of the rainbow for a dramatic effect.
You’ll have your own team of cheerleaders cheering you out to your life as newlyweds with colorful pom poms. If you want to make it extra special, you can put someone in charge of leading a cheer.
DIY ribbon wands are a simple and elegant way to exit with no extra cleanup left behind. You can make them in any hue you’d like and can even add little bells to the wand tips for a dynamic color and sound combo.
Silly string comes in many fun colors; however, this is definitely one you’ll want to get the okay from your venue before using. If it’s venue-approved, the kids at the wedding will get a huge kick out of spraying you as you head for the door (just be sure to change clothing before making your exit).
If you and your partner love action movies, a smoke bomb send-off might be an exit worthy of a marriage James Bond would approve of. These are best for outdoor weddings, for obvious reasons. You can generally find smoke bombs in a wide range of colors, so you’re sure to find something that coordinates with your wedding theme.
Let your guests shower you in sweet rainbow-colored sprinkles. Alternatively, you can use sprinkles to match your color scheme.
While some of these colorful exits are a little messy, you’re sure to have a wonderful time trying them out and you’ll get some memorable photos with plenty of bright accents.
Another amazing and memorable send-off method is to use music. You can provide your guests with instruments, enlist the band, or simply play a classic, timeless song about love. Music always has a way of connecting people, so using it to tie the final bow on your wedding ceremony is a wise choice:
If your ceremony has a band playing live music, you can request your final song in advance. This way, they’re prepared to play it when the night comes to an end and you know it’s time to head for the doors (and possibly choreograph one last dance number as you head out into married life).
You can get your guests involved with a pre-planned drumroll exit. You can either provide the sticks or simply have them use the tables and tap with their hands. If you don’t want a drumbeat, clapping is also an easy way to involve everyone.
You have the first-dance song, but no one says you only get to pick one special song. Have a second song that you both love cued up for when you make your glorious exit at the end of the night.
Cowbells, tambourines, maracas, and more can play you out of the reception and into a bright, happy future as a married couple. Have your wedding team distribute these instruments around right before your departure to have everyone playing along!
No matter what kind of music you choose, you can’t go wrong with an exit that leaves your guests humming softly to themselves as they make their way home.
If you’re planning a special seasonal ceremony or you want to incorporate a little tradition into your wedding send-off, these ideas will give you plenty of inspiration.
Winter wonderlands outdoors can be complemented by a little faux snow indoors. You’ll be delighted with the photos you get of you and your new spouse walking through the gently falling snow. Add some fairy lights and your scene will be complete.
Like rice, a waiting getaway car has long been a way to leave in style. In summer, a sporty convertible will carry you into the sunset. In winter, a town car (with the heat on max) is a classy way to say goodbye.
A countryside wedding and a horse and carriage are made for each other. In winter, you could even leave via a horse-drawn sleigh with bells on it.
If you’re not interested in a horse drawn-sleigh, don’t despair—you can have your guests ring in the holiday season and close out your wedding with the sound of sleigh bells.
The old standby is still used in many ceremonies. Every couple wants a little extra luck and good fortune tossed their way. Just make sure that you clear rice tossing with your venue first.
This parade isn’t limited to a specific event. In New Orleans, they’re used for weddings, funerals, festivals, and any other occasion for celebration. At weddings, a brass band performs through the venue as the wedding guests dance around them. The couple leads the way while holding umbrellas.
This Hindu wedding tradition is an emotional moment between a bride and her family. Right before the newlyweds leave the wedding, the bride tosses rice and coins behind her head to repay her parents for a lifetime full of support.
Tiny flags representing your heritage in the hands of your guests will create a colorful and meaningful way for you to walk out of the reception and into your new life together.
Any of these will add a little magic to your dramatic departure and will leave your guests smiling long after the door closes behind you.
Now that your head is swimming with images of your mic-drop exit moment, let’s review some tips to help ensure that everything goes according to your plans. A flawless send-off requires venue approval, a coordinator, and a courteous approach from you and your guests.
We can’t state this enough: Make sure that you check with the venue before planning a send-off. Many venues don’t allow certain items, including:
Basically, if it’ll leave a huge mess or is a fire hazard, your venue might not want you to use it. Some items are fine for an outdoor toss, but are strictly prohibited indoors. Asking before the wedding will save you from a lot of drama and perhaps a hefty fine on the day of your ceremony.
You must give your guests a heads-up if you want them to be able to coordinate a special send-off. You can assign someone in your wedding party to be in charge of operation out-the-door. This person, or people, can provide instructions and materials to the other guests.
Even with a team lead, it’s a good idea to prepare your guests ahead of time by putting the send-off plans on your wedding website. This will ensure that everyone is on the same page. Zola’s free wedding websites have all of the features you need to share information. We have easy-to-use, customizable templates to make your website building job painless.
Remember, even though you’re the star of the wedding, you’re also a guest at the venue you’re using for your ceremony and reception. Being kind is the best way to show your host that you appreciate and respect their space. We suggest:
Wedding hosting is often a crucial component of an event venue’s livelihood and it’s important to leave the space in the same condition in which you found it.
An exciting send-off is the exclamation point at the end of your wedding day story. This centuries-old tradition sends you and your new spouse out in style. Whether you’re looking for an eco-friendly exit, or fine-tuned outro, we have all of the wedding ideas waiting for your final unique touches.
For all of your wedding needs from planning to the ceremony to the perfect send-off, we’re here to help. When you register at Zola, you’ll find every wedding planning tool you need to make all of your plans go smoothly. All you have to do is relax and get ready for your dramatic departure as newlyweds after the reception.