When Does the Bouquet Toss Happen?

Plan the bouquet toss to happen at the right time during your wedding.

By Shameika Rhymes

When Does the Bouquet Toss Happen
Photo by Zola

The First Look ✨

Weddings can often combine traditional and non-traditional elements. The bouquet toss is a wedding tradition that has existed for hundreds of years. This wedding day staple usually involves the bride tossing her bouquet over her shoulders into a group of single ladies.

The tradition can be traced back as far as the 1300s and is still practiced in American and European weddings today. The lucky lady that catches the bouquet is expected to 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 and their guests. Zola is here to help you decide at what point to incorporate it into your big day.

When Does the Bouquet Toss Happen? Photo Credit // TialynJ Photography

Toss It During the Reception

If you’re planning to include the bouquet toss tradition into your wedding reception, you’ll probably want to figure out the timing of when it should happen. The practice of the toss gets a bad rap, and not everyone is into the idea of elbowing other people to jump and catch some flowers. So, it’s okay to skip the tradition if you don’t think that many people will participate in the activity. Ideally, most brides opt to toss the bouquet towards the end of the wedding reception. For example, if you’re having a four-hour reception, then plan the bouquet toss during the third hour. That way, everyone has had time to enjoy the cocktail hour, eat dinner, and let loose on the dance floor. It’s the perfect time to signal your gal pals back to the dance floor. Remember, this isn’t a mandatory activity, but if you choose to toss the bridal bouquet, make sure that you get an extra bouquet to toss so that you can keep your original one as a keepsake.

Coordinate the Timeline

Work with your wedding planner and the DJ to determine your reception timeline, so that you know exactly what time you want to toss the bouquet. You’ll want to choose an upbeat song, empowering, or sweet to get the single ladies hyped and onto the dance floor. Let the DJ know what type of announcement you want him or her to make to signal that it’s time for the toss. Some brides opt to toss the bouquet during the second half of the reception when everyone is already up and dancing. Doing it at the end of the night is a fun way to pass the torch onto the next potential bride.

Bouquet Toss Tip: Things could get a little rowdy and competitive, especially among your single friends, so if you think that might happen, then plan the toss for after young kids and elderly guests have left the reception.

Why Wait? Toss the Bouquet!

If taking a non-traditional approach is more your thing, then try spreading the luck early on and do the bride’s bouquet toss after you make your entrance into the reception. Or, if you want to skip doing it during the reception, try after your ceremony exit when you step out of the venue into your crowd of guests. Call the toss participants to the front so that they can catch your bouquet; it will set the tone for the party that’s to come at the reception.

Bouquet Toss Tip: If you plan the toss earlier and only booked your photographer for a short period, they are sure to catch the moment on camera.

Bouquet Toss Alternatives

When Does the Bouquet Toss Happen? Photo Credit // Nine10 Photobooth Images

If you’re completely against tossing a bouquet, don’t worry, there are other options. You may feel like tossing your bouquet is unfair to your unmarried friends, or it’s dangerous with a large group of women jumping into each other wrestling for the bouquet. Instead, you can hand off a bouquet to a family member, such as a mother, grandmother, sister, or even a couple that’s been married for a long time. Or, try separating the flowers of your bouquet and handing out individual stems to your bridesmaids or loved ones.

As a couple, the decision is yours on whether or not you incorporate the bouquet toss into your wedding. You can tailor it to your preference or leave it out altogether. Remember, Zola is here for you. The team is here to help offer advice and assist with all the details of your wedding—from the wedding party and wedding ceremony to the wedding cake and bouquet toss.

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