guests throw confetti at a sunny summer wedding

A Guide to Wedding Confetti Etiquette

I find wedding confetti is a popular moment at every wedding, but it is a wedding day event that there can be some confusion around. I’m often asked lots of questions by guests. When will it be happening? Are there restrictions on location? Who should be throwing it?

I’ve put this wedding confetti guide together to address those questions, and give readers the lowdown on wedding confetti.


bride and groom walk down steps as guests throw dried flower confetti

History of Wedding Confetti

Wedding confetti is a tradition that is thought to have originated in the middle ages in Italy and has been thrown in the UK since pagan times. Originally, it would have been rice or grain that was thrown. This was a symbol of good luck for both fertility and prosperity. Rice is still thrown at Italian and Indian weddings.

Why Throw Confetti at a Wedding?

As well as the historic symbolism of fertility and prosperity, it’s a fun moment for the couple where guests all get together and shower them with gorgeous smelling petals. It makes for a lovely photo opportunity too!

Who Provides Confetti at a Wedding?

It used to be wedding guests that would bring the confetti. As different wedding venues have different rules around the use of it, the current situation is that confetti is supplied to guests by the couple getting married. If you are a guest and decide to bring your own, please check with the venue first as some types are not allowed.

What Type of Confetti is Best for Weddings?

There are many different types of confetti, from the traditional pastel paper shapes of horseshoes to colourful plastics and glitter. The only type I would recommend would be dried flower petals – with the exception of weddings where rice is an important part of the wedding.

Not only do dried flower petals look the best in photos, but they’re available in a large range of colours and are environmentally friendly too. Dried flowers are biodegradable and are unlikely to cause environmental problems.

Rice VS Wildflower Petals

Different cultures have different traditions for wedding confetti, and rice has cultural significance in Italian and Indian weddings. At Italian weddings I’ve photographed, rice has typically been thrown as the bride leaves home for the wedding ceremony (providing a tasty snack for birds).

With Indian and Hindu weddings, rice has been part of the wedding ceremony itself where it’s placed into a ceremonial fire and burned. A combination of natural dried flower confetti and rice has then been thrown by guests after the wedding ceremony.

Fun fact: Rice is a nightmare to clean up. I’m often still vacuuming rice out of my car in winter after a long summer of weddings. It gets everywhere! For this reason, it is banned for throwing outdoors at some wedding venues. I’ve usually found that throwing rice indoors is ok.

Rose Petals VS Dried Flowers

Rose petals can be popular for confetti, but I don’t recommend these as they are quite large and heavy. This provides two issues. The first is that they don’t tend to end up as high when guests throw petals, so they don’t tend to be as dramatic, and from a photography point of view, they can block quite a bit of the couple’s faces.

rose petal confetti at a summer wedding

Cones or Bucket?

rustic confetti cones made from book pages

Are you wondering if you need to make confetti cones? They do look very pretty on display at weddings, and it is an organised way of dividing up the confetti in a way that makes it easier to distribute to guests, but I don’t personally think it’s essential. A bucket of confetti, or even the small organza or cardboard bags in cones in are perfectly acceptable.

handmade burgundy confetti cones holding dried flower confetti

When is Confetti Thrown at Weddings?

It really depends on the wedding. Different cultures have different traditions. In typical Scottish culture weddings, there are four popular parts of a wedding day where confetti is thrown. Most weddings feature a combination of these, but rarely all of them.

The first confetti related moment is usually before the wedding couple walk down the aisle. A bridesmaid (or two!) will often throw rose petals on the ground prior to the bride or wedding couple making their entrance.

The next key moment is when the newly married couple walks up the aisle together after exchanging vows. (If guests have brought non-biodegradable confetti – this is a good time to throw it as it can be cleaned up easier indoors).

The third popular confetti moment is during the drinks reception and typically happens just before the group photos. This is usually outdoors in the venue gardens, so there will likely be a restriction on the type.

The fourth confetti moment is midway through, or just after the couples first dance during the evening reception. This is a great time for confetti cannons and sparkly and shiny confetti. I’d recommend this be delegated to the groomsmen or bridesmaids that are most likely to be sober enough to coordinate this. Tip: Let your photographer know beforehand as this can look really dramatic with the right lighting.

Loose Confetti VS Confetti Cannon

I’ve seen many different types of confetti canons used at weddings. The only ones that were really awesome were the popping type that typically uses sparkly plastic. Due to this, I think those are great for a dancefloor and an awesome way to open the dancefloor for guests to join the couple at the evening reception. They are best avoided outdoors during the traditional confetti through.

Biodegradable Paper Confetti

Paper confetti is best avoided for a whole range of reasons, even the dye-free eco-friendly stuff. If there’s a light breeze, it blows away easier than petals. The pale pastel colours also don’t show up very well unless there’s a perfect blue sky – which in the UK is a bit hit and miss. The main reason I recommend my couples about it though is that if there’s light rain, the paper turns into glue and clumps up. This can be disastrous for the soft top roofs of wedding cars. It makes it tricky to clean up at wedding venues too. So, even though the paper is advertised as biodegradable confetti, I still would not recommend it.

Why do Some Venues not Allow Confetti?

Throwing confetti makes a very colourful mess! Whilst biodegradable confetti is ok in most wedding venues that I’ve worked at, if the confetti is plastic or not biodegradable confetti it can cause environmental damage which can be harmful to wildlife.

mix of dried flower and paper wedding confetti being thrown by guests

How Much Confetti do I Need?

Shropshire Petals have a handy ‘how much confetti do we need’ confetti calculator on their website. I’d recommend using that to calculate the correct amount based on guest numbers. As a very rough guestimation, I’d recommend 2-3 litres for a small wedding of 30/40 guests.

How to Make Wedding Confetti?

If you fancy creating your own wedding confetti for that extra special touch, I’d highly recommend you make it from flower petals. Handpicked petals that are then dried will provide the perfect confetti on your wedding day.

Where to buy Confetti

I’d highly recommend Shropshire Petals as a great place to buy wedding confetti. I’ve been buying confetti from them for a few years now, and it’s always gorgeous, great quality and smells amazing! The shop has a variety of different eco-friendly options in addition to dried petals. They have lots of colourful confetti mix to choose from, so you’ll be sure to find a colour that matches your wedding day colours.