Everything You Need to Know about the Bouquet Toss

Questioning if you should really throw your beautiful wedding bouquet during your reception? We walk through the pros of both going for it and opting for an easy alternative.

By McCall Minnor

Everything You Need to Know about the Bouquet Toss
Photo by Zola

The First Look ✨

While the bridal bouquet toss is an exciting wedding tradition, not everyone is keen on throwing their bouquet into the mix—and for good reason. After all of the thought, budgeting, and planning that went into crafting your wedding florals, it comes as no surprise that you might question if you really should toss it. (Which is why many brides struggle more with the bouquet toss than with other traditions—for example, the garter toss.) Below we get into the pros of both going for it and choosing not to, as well as some alternatives.

Should I Toss My (Real) Bouquet?

You may be in the camp that’s asking, “What’s the big deal about throwing your real wedding bouquet?” Well, while it’s a notable decoration and the classic centerpiece of your outfit, it also has a lot of history and symbolism. Dating back to ancient Rome, bouquets—which at the time consisted of herbs, grains, and spices, rather than flowers—were seen as symbols of new beginnings, fidelity, and fertility.

Later, in the Victorian era, exchanging flowers became a popular way of expressing one’s love. Given their romantic association, it wasn’t long before they began making appearances in weddings and, more specifically, wedding bouquets. Although the bouquet has evolved to be more of a decorative accessory than an omen, it still possesses a lot of meaning and sentimental value.

Should I Toss My Real Bouquet Photo Credit // Emily Kirke Photography

Traditional symbolism aside, wedding bouquets truly are a work of art. Your arrangement has a lot to accomplish; it should complement your ensemble, fit in with your wedding style, and express your personality and individual style. This is all pretty important, considering it’s the decoration most likely to stand out both in photos and in person.

To achieve this, true artistry goes into putting one together, from selecting flowers that work seasonally, thematically, and color-wise (for example, should you go with blue flowers or pink flowers?), to arranging them into a harmonious design that you love. Because who wants to carry around a collection of flowers that they don’t think are beautiful?

All of this is to say, it’s much more than just a bundle of flowers. A lot of time, effort, and thought to go into crafting the very blooms that you’ll carry throughout your wedding day, so it only makes sense to ask if you must toss them at your reception—or if there are any other options.

Tossing Your Bouquet vs. a Throw Bouquet

Now, you may be at a crossroads. On one hand, you want to uphold the bouquet toss tradition, but on the other hand, wedding bouquets can be very personal, sentimental, and not exactly cheap. In the spirit of total fairness, we’re going to take a look at the reasons why you might go for either.

Reasons to Toss Your Bouquet

  • Tradition. The history of the traditional bouquet toss comes from ancient England, in which wedding guests would try to rip off pieces of a bride’s dress or a bouquet, as they were thought to spread good luck. To avoid any rowdiness, and preserve their wedding dress, brides instead began tossing their bouquets in the opposite direction, giving them the chance to leave their big day in peace. If a traditional bridal bouquet toss is important to you (and maybe you believe in sharing some good fortune), prepare to part ways with your bouquet.
  • It’s personal. Giving your bouquet to someone, even by way of throwing it, is heartwarmingly personal. These are the very flowers that accompanied you down the aisle during your wedding ceremony and were made a special part of your big day. Offering them to whoever catches them is a generous offer that’ll no doubt be felt and appreciated.

Reasons to Have a Throw Bouquet

  • Practicality. The flowers in your bouquet are delicate. The size of your bouquet is just too large to throw without potentially hurting someone. If tossing it seems like more of a worry or struggle than it’s worth, pass and go with a smaller one.
  • Price. Florals aren’t exactly cheap. It’s completely understandable if you’d rather hang on to yours because, hey, you paid for them. Chances are that you paid a pretty penny to get the bouquet of your dreams. Getting your money’s worth is more than enough reason to keep them close.
  • Preservation. Once the special day is over, many couples choose to preserve their wedding flowers as a special keepsake—especially, if not exclusively, the bouquet. If you want to keep your blossoms forever, you actually can. Pressing, silica gel, resin, and more can keep your flowers in beautiful shape, turning them into the everlasting decor. You can also opt to dry your wedding flowers—and transform them into a dried wedding bouquet.
  • Fun. While the wedding bouquet toss has been an honored tradition since ancient Rome, at modern weddings, many couples opt to have them simply because they’re fun! The bouquet toss gets people on the dance floor (with classic wedding bouquet toss songs like “It’s Raining Man,” “Man, I Feel Like a Woman,” or “Single Ladies (Put A Ring On It),” who wouldn’t want to get up and dance?!)—and can be a great way to transition from a sit-down dinner into the dancing portion of the evening.
Should I Toss My Real Bouquet Photo Credit // Digital Weddings

So, should you toss your real bouquet at your wedding reception? Well, that’s entirely up to you. We know, cop-out answers aren’t always easy, but it honestly comes down to whether or not you want to keep your bouquet for yourself—be it for the rest of the night, week, or longer. Regardless of your decision, be sure to decide early on in your wedding planning process. Then, stick to your decision.

However, if there’s even a shadow of a doubt that you’ll want to toss your bouquet—and there probably is, if you’re still debating—add a throw bouquet in with your florals. That way, even if you end up tossing yours, you had the option on the day of your wedding to keep it for yourself. You know the old saying: Better to be safe than sorry.

Throw Bouquets and Their Appeal

For those who get bummed at the thought of literally throwing their perfectly tailored bouquet away, you do have a couple of alternatives. On one hand, you can forgo the bouquet toss entirely. That being said, we understand if you want to keep the exciting activity a part of your celebration.

In that case, when ordering flowers for your wedding, consider asking your florist to include a throw bouquet. This is a smaller, typically less expensive bouquet (often more in line with the cost of bridesmaid bouquets) that’s created specifically to be tossed. It’s a win-win: You get to keep your special arrangement, while still tossing a pretty one to a lucky single lady.

Moreover, because throw bouquets mimic their larger counterparts, they can easily be used as decor earlier in the day, such as a centerpiece at your table or accent piece near the entrance, perhaps alongside a guest book. Imagine how excited some guests will be when they discover that the flowers you’ll be tossing are the very ones that they saw upon entering the reception location.

However, a word of advice: If you’re going to be carrying real flowers yourself, make sure the ones you toss are real, too. It might be easier and cheaper to order a fake bouquet online, but doing so isn’t great etiquette. Even if you’re pretty certain that your guests won’t care, spend the bit of extra money on the real stuff. If you’re lucky, your florist might even include it in your package for free (though, don’t just expect it to happen).

Bouquet Toss Alternatives

If you don’t want to do a bouquet toss at all—real bouquet or throw bouquet—not to worry! There are plenty of alternatives you can incorporate into your reception, including:

  • Anniversary dance. Your wedding is a celebration of your marriage—so why not honor marriage at your reception? Consider inviting all the married couples up for an anniversary dance. Start by inviting all the married couples in the room up to the dance floor, and as the song goes on, invite couples that have been married for a certain length of time (two years, five years, 10 years, etc.) to stay on the dance floor. Repeat until only one couple—the longest married couple—remains!

  • Ladies dance. The bouquet toss generally puts the focus on single women. But if you want to celebrate all the women in your life—married or single—invite them all up for a “ladies only” dance!

  • Candy toss. Who says you have to toss a bouquet? If you want to keep the tossing tradition in your wedding reception—just without the bouquet aspect—consider tossing something a little tastier to your guests, like candy or chocolate.

  • Breakaway bouquet. Want to spread the love during your bouquet toss? Try a “breakaway bouquet.” While it looks like a normal bouquet, it’s designed to break into multiple pieces once it’s thrown (either into individual flowers or into smaller bouquets). This gives more wedding guests a chance to get a piece of your bouquet—and gives you a chance to spread more love!

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