Bouquet Tossing 101

Zola is here to help you decide if you want to incorporate the bouquet toss into your big day.

By Shameika Rhymes

How to do a Bouquet Toss
Photo by Zola

The First Look ✨

  • The wedding bouquet toss is a tradition where the bride tosses her bouquet to unmarried women during the wedding reception.
  • If you aren’t planning to toss your wedding bouquet, include the bouquet for the toss into your floral budget.
  • Other alternatives to a bouquet toss include an anniversary dance or separating the bridal bouquet flowers to give to your loved ones.

Weddings can be as traditional or as non-traditional as you want. The bouquet toss is one tradition that is a wedding staple that has existed for hundreds of years. This wedding tradition takes place towards the end of the reception and involves the bride tossing their bouquet over their shoulders into a group of single ladies. The legend can be traced back as far as the 1300s and is still practiced in American and European weddings. Tradition says whoever catches the bouquet will be the next to walk down the aisle. It's competitive, as many try to elbow their way to being the next bride. Ultimately, the decision is up to the couple to determine if tossing the bouquet is the right tradition for their wedding, taking into consideration the venue, guest list, and preference.

Bouquet Toss Participants

Tradition calls for single ladies to participate, but if your unmarried friends aren’t feeling the idea of being pushed out of the way to catch the bouquet, don’t force them. Some may be feeling lonely or dealing with a breakup, so don’t shame anyone into participating. If you only have one or two single friends attending, it might be awkward to do a toss, especially if other guests are married. The bouquet toss tradition has become a way for brides to include their single friends in the spotlight.

Add the Bouquet to the Floral Budget

Bouquet Tossing 101 *Photo Credit * // Carina Photographics

Determine if you’re tossing your actual wedding bouquet or ordering a second one for the toss. Flowers should be ordered a little over six months before the wedding. The bridal bouquet is estimated to cost anywhere from $100 and $350. If you opt for a second bouquet, it’s usually smaller, so it saves you some money, and it’s easier to catch.

Bonus Tip: Ask the florist if they have a package that allows for both bouquets. You may get a discounted price.

Toss the Bouquet on Your Time

Many weddings feature the bouquet toss towards the end of the wedding reception, but there’s no hard and fast rule. It also can occur after the cake has been cut, the toasts have been made, and the dance floor has cleared out. Be sure to coordinate with your planner and DJ so that they can make sure that all of the participants are ready to catch the bouquet.

Keep It Short

The bouquet toss shouldn’t last that long—the general rule of thumb is that it should last about the length of one song. Music can make or break a moment, so find a bouquet toss song that inspires empowerment, love, and hope. Plan with the DJ as to what song will be playing and the announcement that will be made to signal the ladies to get on the floor and in place for the toss to commence.

Photograph the Moment

Bouquet Tossing 101 *Photo Credit * // Webbphoto

Your photographer will capture some great action shots to add to your photo album. Capturing your face and participants' faces as the bouquet flies through the air will make dynamic shots and preserve the moment that you may not be able to take in while it’s happening.

After the Toss

Since this is usually one of the last activities of the reception, along with the garter toss, the rest of the evening continues with dancing and mingling until the couple’s exit.

Bouquet Toss Alternatives

You may feel like tossing your bouquet is unfair to your unmarried friends, or it’s dangerous with a large group of women jumping up in heels and wrestling for the bouquet. However, if you decide not to toss a bouquet during your reception, there are other ways to use the bouquet. Handing it off to a family member, such as a mother, grandmother, or sister (or even a couple that’s been married for a long time) is one way to start a new tradition in your family. Go a step further and separate the flowers of your bouquet and hand out individual stems to your loved ones.

Plan another activity, such as a dance competition or even an anniversary dance. An anniversary dance would involve asking the married couples to the dance floor and then eliminating them by the number of years that they have been married, with the last couple remaining winning the bouquet.

Another option is to set up a bouquet and boutonniere station so that guests can assemble their personalized blooms, ensuring that no one—singles or married couples—is left out.

As a couple, you can determine what tradition works best for you and your wedding. Be as traditional as you want, or put a modern spin on it.

Remember, Zola is here for you. The team is here to help offer advice and help with all the details of your wedding down to the last petal of the bouquet.

Up next for you

2022 Wedding Traditions

The Wedding Traditions We'll See in 2022—And The Ones We Won't


In Zola’s First Look Report, over 3,000 engaged couples shared the wedding traditions that they’re keeping, leaving, and are split on for their 2022 weddings. Here’s what they had to say.

A Seasonal Guide to Wedding Flowers

The Complete Guide of Wedding Flowers by Season

Wedding Style

Incorporating seasonal flowers into your wedding day gets you the best quality blooms for a lower price tag. This guide can help you save big on your floral budget, no matter what time of year you plan to tie the knot.

Outdoor Wedding Ideas

25 Outdoor Wedding Ideas for Fall We Can’t Get Enough Of

Wedding Style

Get creative with these fall wedding ideas for the outdoor celebration of your dreams! See our favorite 25 wedding ideas inspired by autumn here.

LGBTQ+ Tips for Styling Two Dresses Together

Tips for LGBTQ+ Couples Styling Two Wedding Dresses Together

How To

Check out our top styling tips and outfit ideas for same-sex brides on their wedding day.

Simplify Your Wedding Planning at Zola

Find even more wedding ideas, inspo, tips, and tricks

We’ve got wedding planning advice on everything from save the dates to wedding cakes.