25 Awe Inspiring Wedding Send Off Ideas For The Perfect Exit
What if there was a way to make your wedding send off an event talked about for years to come?
What if there were 25 ways?
In this article, we’ll show you how to set up 25 wedding send off ideas that will leave your guests in awe and create AMAZING photos (spoiler: we’ve saved some of the best for last).
Let’s get started on finding you the perfect wedding send off idea for your special day.
Table of Contents
A quick note: keep in mind the ideal plan will vary depending on a variety of factors including your budget, the season, time of day, wedding theme, and restrictions at your venue.
A Brief History
If you are like most of us, tossing rice at a newly married couple is probably what comes to mind when you picture a wedding send off.
And there is a good reason for that.
Why Do People Throw Rice At Weddings?
The tradition of showering newlyweds with rice (or other dried grains) at the end of a wedding has been a part of many cultures for centuries and dates back to the time of the ancient Romans who were known to toss wheat at couples departing their wedding.
A symbol of prosperity, fertility, and good fortune, everything from wheat to corn, and even oats have been used throughout history for the ceremonial wedding toss.
However, in the past century, the tradition of the wedding send off has expanded to include all sorts of symbolic gestures meant to impart good luck and fortune on the newlyweds — including blowing bubbles, tossing rose petals, lighting sparklers, and even releasing butterflies into the path of the bride and groom.
This shift away from rice was partially due to a false rumor that ingesting rice was harming (and killing!) birds by expanding in their stomachs.
Although this myth has long been dispelled by science, the tradition of marking the end of the wedding with a symbol of joy, luck, and prosperity has carried on!
For those looking for a wedding rice alternative, here are 25!
Pinch Your Pennies With These Cheap Wedding Send Off Ideas
A grand wedding exit is one of the most memorable moments of any wedding.
However, like it or not, when it comes to wedding planning, making decisions often comes down to what will work with your budget.
If you are considering skipping the tradition to save money, we’ve got good news: A wedding send off doesn’t need to break the bank!
In fact, there are tons of affordable wedding send off ideas that can work for even the smallest budget without looking cheap.
Read on to learn more about some of our favorite cheap wedding send off ideas and some tips and tricks for pulling them off for a seamless exit.
If you are planning a fall wedding, why not embrace the season and save money by using leaves for your wedding send off?
In addition to being completely free, leaves will also make a beautiful, seasonal backdrop for your wedding exit and will look amazing in pictures.
If you decide on this option, gather leaves from your yard or a public park, focusing on leaves that are in bright colors.
You can then display the leaves in rustic baskets or wooden boxes for guests to grab, or can even wrap them up in brown paper cones for a rustic touch, or create individual baggies for guests to grab as they head to the send off locations.
Another fun idea is to make confetti out of the leaves.
We consider leaves to be one of the best confetti alternatives as it’s both free and environmentally-friendly!
If you want to try this option, we suggest using this handy tutorial.
Wedding confetti ideas are abundant and can be tailored to pretty much any style, theme, or color scheme.
Confetti is a budget-friendly wedding send off idea that will add a festive and colorful element to your departure.
One thing we love about confetti is that it comes in all colors and sizes and can be tailored to suit your wedding theme.
This is also a wonderful option for the DIY bride as there are a plethora of easy online guides for making your own confetti.
Want to keep it simple?
We love this easy tissue paper confetti tutorial from Real Simple.
Want to make your confetti wedding exit unique?
Why not customize your confetti to be heart shaped?
If you want to take it a step further, there are also dozens of easy confetti cone tutorials making the internet rounds, which is a super cute way to dispense confetti to your guests.
3. Glitter or Sequins
Just because you are opting for a cheap wedding send off idea doesn’t mean that your grand exit needs to lack
glitz and glamour!
Glitter and sequins (or a mix of both!) are affordable options that will work beautifully for an elegant send off that certainly won’t look cheap.
The wedding experts at The Knot suggest opting for coarse glitter in small quantities if you go the glitter route to avoid finding it stuck in your hair for days on end.
Your guests and clean up crew will thank you too!
Another reason that we love the idea of using glitter and sequins for send offs is that they make for magical photos that are definitely worthy of a frame.
4. Paper Airplanes
We can’t get enough of the playful idea of a paper airplane send off for couples trying to stick to a budget.
Aside from being a cheap and fun wedding send off idea, paper airplanes also give guests (children and adults alike!) a chance to get creative.
We suggest leaving a note on each table with supplies, informing guests of your send off plan.
Then your friends and family can tap into their inner-child by working on their airplanes between dances, drinks, and food!
To mix it up you can even provide guests with additional supplies like colored paper, glitter, and markers to write fun messages.
If you do decide to opt for this super affordable send off option, don’t forget to designate a point person to pick up and recycle the paper planes after you make your escape.
Another cheap wedding exit idea that we simply adore is popcorn.
This budget-friendly option is lighthearted and fun, while also doubling as a midnight snack for guests.
Let’s just hope they don’t eat it all!
To pull off a popcorn send off, all you need is, well, popcorn!
Experts suggest sticking to plain kernels (which are even more affordable!) and avoiding anything with butter or additives to avoid a sticky mess at the end of the night.
The only additional item you may want to spend money on is little baggies or cones to put the popcorn in. However, there are tons of super affordable DIY options that won’t break the bank.
Individually packaged jars of bubbles are one of the most popular wedding send off ideas and are also extremely affordable.
Having friends and family blow bubbles as you make your exit not only provides an amazing backdrop for photos and videos but also gives guests a chance to get playful as they say their farewells.
An added bonus of bubbles is that they can easily be personalized for your wedding by adding cute tags with your initials, wedding date, or a fun saying.
You can also create a festive display with a cute bubble send off sign (here are some ideas for sayings to put on your sign!).
Having your bubble send off at night?
A fun idea is to use lighting to illuminate the bubbles flying through the air.
For a colorful send off, one of our favorite affordable wedding send off ideas is rainbow sprinkles.
Sprinkles are both cheap and easy to purchase at any grocery store.
Even better, experts say that sprinkles are the perfect size for a toss that will be photographed as they are small enough to not distort photos or block the faces of the happy couple.
If you want to try this send off idea at your wedding you can either create baggies or cups of sprinkles or create a sprinkle bar where guests can scoop their own sprinkles before your grand exit.
As you can see there is no reason to let a tight budget hold you back from a fabulous wedding send off!
There are tons of creative, cheap send off ideas out there, that will ensure you have an epic wedding exit to remember for years to come.
So what are you waiting for?
It’s time to start planning!
Eco-Friendly Wedding Send Off Ideas That Will Make Mother Nature Proud
Modern weddings are notorious for excess, which can be fun in the moment, but result in some practices that are not exactly good for the environment.
In response, couples are increasingly testing out new, eco-friendly wedding send off ideas that benefit the earth without lacking in style.
If you are trying to make your wedding more sustainable by opting for eco-friendly wedding toss ideas, read on to learn a little bit more about some of the most loved exit options that will ensure you have a memorable departure without harming the earth.
One of the most romantic, eco-friendly wedding send off ideas that we have seen is a lavender toss.
The peaceful scent, earthy texture, and light purple color will add a relaxing and whimsical feel to the final moments of your wedding — without polluting the earth.
To save on disposable packaging, we suggest placing all of the lavender buds in a basket or bowl for guests to grab from, or crafting individual cones from recycled paper.
How much lavender do you need for a wedding toss?
It is recommended to use 1/2 cup of lavender if you are going to be using cones, or 1 cup if you will be setting up a large basket for guests to help themselves.
A pound of lavender is roughly equal to 14 cups.
This will make about 28 cones or is enough for 14 people if using a large basket.
9. Wildflower Seed Bombs
If you are getting married in a grassy outdoor space, we love the idea of incorporating seed bombs into your wedding send off.
Seed bombs are little bundles of seeds that grow into abundant fields of wildflowers.
There is something special about having guests scatter the beginnings of new life as you make your final exit into a new life together.
You can purchase wildflower seed bombs online or you can even make your own with fun DIY guides like this one.
Once you are done, there are tons of adorable packaging ideas including labels that say “Let Love Grow” or “Spread the Love.”
If you make some extra, these packets can even double as wedding favors.
10. Plantable Confetti
Along the same lines, there are also many types of plantable confetti!
Traditional confetti is one of the most popular wedding send off options.
However, it has become clear that it is simply not a sustainable or environmentally friendly option.
A wonderful alternative to conventional confetti, plantable confetti cuts down on waste by embedding tiny seeds into the (biodegradable) paper used to create the confetti, so that after you toss it, the seeds will take root, boosting the ecosystem and growing into beautiful flowers.
The best part?
Plantable confetti is super cute and comes in a variety of shapes and colors including, of course, hearts.
Similarly to seed bombs, we suggest packaging them up in baggies with personalized tags for an added touch of elegance.
11. Dried Flowers
What could be more poetic than making your grand wedding exit as you are showered with delicate dried flowers?
This eco-friendly wedding send off idea provides for a picturesque exit, and can also make for beautiful displays beforehand.
If you want to try out a dried flower send off at your wedding, experts suggest allotting around half a cup of dried flowers for each guest.
When it comes to what your friends and family will hold the petals in, you may want to opt for recycled paper in order to stay in line with the earth-friendly theme.
Brides.com suggests creating cones out of old sheets of music for a lovely vintage feel.
A myth that the rice used in traditional wedding tosses was harming birds is one of the reasons for the rise of throwing birdseed at weddings.
Although this rumor has been proven to be untrue, why not incorporate something that birds will love into your departure?
Since birdseed is biodegradable you can also rest assured that any food the birds don’t eat will break down naturally and possibly even sprout!
This makes birdseed one of the best wedding rice alternatives in our opinion, even if the myth was dispelled!
Setting up a birdseed bar where guests can scoop the seeds into the packaging of your choice is a cute idea that will also look great in photos.
We also can’t get enough of the playful packaging ideas like these “From the Love Birds” baggies on Etsy.
If you opt for a birdseed wedding toss, experts suggest splurging for higher quality seed, to ensure there is less debris or dust mixed in, resulting in a cleaner exit.
13. Fresh Herbs
Another popular eco-friendly wedding send off idea is having guests shower the newlyweds with fresh herbs.
This dreamy exit idea is not only good for the earth, it also smells amazing thanks to the delightful fragrance of fresh cut herbs.
Common herbs used for wedding tosses include thyme, sage, mint, and rosemary — all of which are easy to find from a local farmers market or grocery store.
If you plan far enough ahead, you can even grow them yourself.
An added bonus of this idea is that many of these herbs have symbolic meanings, making them a thoughtful way to end your big day.
For instance, mint represents virtue and wisdom, while rosemary is a symbol of loyalty.
Similar to the birdseed, setting up a stylish bar area for guests to scoop works well, and if you want the herbs to double as a wedding favor, you can provide cute to-go bags for friends and family to fill.
Is it just us, or are these eco-friendly wedding send off ideas extra romantic?
Whether you choose dried flowers, wildflower bombs or birdseed, you can’t go wrong with any of these elegant and timeless wedding toss options that will ensure your grand exit makes a positive impact on the environment.
Unique Wedding Send Off Ideas To Make Your Exit One To Remember
Looking for one-of-a-kind wedding exit ideas that aren’t the typical rice, bubbles, or confetti?
We hear you!
Whether you want to buck tradition or just don’t feel that any of the classic wedding departure ideas are a fit for your special day, we have done the research for you and compiled a list of creative wedding exits that will make your wedding departure totally your own.
One of the most unique wedding send off ideas that we have witnessed is a butterfly release.
This creative idea makes for a magical getaway, not to mention out-of-this-world photos.
Since releasing butterflies at the end of a wedding is symbolic of new beginnings as well a happiness, we can’t think of a better way to say farewell to your guests!
The wedding planning experts at Brides.com suggest entrusting the responsibility of the release to a few trusted friends and family members to ensure that the epic moment goes off without a hitch.
They also recommend doing your research and sticking with a company that guarantees the butterflies are treated in a safe manner.
It doesn’t get more unique than leaving your wedding surrounded by fluttering butterflies.
15. Bells, Bells, Bells
Another cool wedding send off idea is having guests ring bells as you make your departure.
According to ancient Irish tradition, church wedding bells were rung during weddings to ward off evil spirits as well as a way to spread the word to neighboring communities that a wedding had taken place.
In more modern tradition, wedding bells are also thought to be a reminder of the wedding vows.
No matter what you believe about bells, we think they are a festive addition to any wedding send off.
There are also a ton of unique ideas for incorporating bells into a wedding send off, including selecting antique bells for guests to ring (which also double as a one-of-a-kind favor), creating bell wands for guests to wave, and even handing out bicycle bells for an extra quirky get away.
16. Smoke Bombs
Perfect for the couple with a flair for the dramatic, incorporating colorful smoke bombs into your departure will make a lasting impression on your guests.
This hot wedding trend not only makes a statement, it also looks absolutely incredible in photos.
If you decide to try this daring exit idea, it is best to use colors that match your bridesmaid’s dresses and overall wedding color palette.
Although some couples like to set off the smoke bombs themselves (which as you can see looks amazing in photos), we suggest have them set off a bit away from the crowd in an outdoor space so that you are not overwhelmed with heavy smoke that may damage clothing.
17. Beach Balls
Planning an outdoor wedding this summer?
If so, beach balls are a fresh and fun idea to incorporate into your wedding exit — be it from the ceremony or from the reception.
This playful trend will keep your exit lighthearted while also adding an awesome pop of color to your send of photos!
If you want to incorporate beach balls into your ceremony, Bride Box suggests leaving inflatable mini beach balls on each seat with instructions on the program for guests to blow up and toss during your recessional.
This is ideal for adding a laidback touch to an informal, outdoor wedding.
If you decide to wait until the end of your reception for send off, you can leave mini beach balls in large tubs or buckets throughout your reception area with send off instructions.
An added bonus of this idea is that the beach balls can also double as a wedding memento for guests to take with them.
18. Pom Poms
Having guests cheer and wave pom poms as you make your grand exit is a fun alternative to more traditional send off options.
This unique wedding send off idea is perfect for couples that met during college and want to give a nod to their alma mater.
It is also just a fun idea for any sports obsessed couple that wants to incorporate their favorite team into their wedding day.
Bride and groom rooting for different schools or teams?
Why not settle your rivalry once and for all during your departure by providing guests with pom poms in the colors of both teams and letting them choose sides?
19. Musical Instruments
Have your guests make some noise with percussion instruments for an unforgettable exit from your ceremony or reception!
This playful idea works well for casual, outdoor weddings in the warmer months.
You can even add a personalized monogram, making these a keepsake to send home with guests.
If you want to lighten up your ceremony, incorporate some noise by placing tambourines on the chairs of guests and instructions to wave them during your recessional.
Saving up for a grand exit at the end of the night?
Place maracas on tables for guests to shake as you make your escape at the end of your reception.
20. Sparklers with a Twist
If you are like us, you probably agree that sparklers for your wedding send off cannot be topped.
Even though wedding sparklers are one of the most beloved and grand wedding exit ideas due to their elegance and beauty, there are a ton of ways to make a sparkler send off unique to your wedding.
Some of our favorite one-of-a-kind wedding sparkler send off ideas include:
- This dramatic idea of placing sparklers in metal buckets with cotton candy (the photo is stunningly theatrical, right?)
- Creating personalized labels and matches to go with your sparklers, which also makes for a super cute display at your reception.
- Having your bridal party draw with the sparklers to create glowing hearts, spell out L-O-V-E, or even write your wedding date.
Night Time Wedding Send Off Ideas
We may be biased, but there is something magical about a nighttime wedding exit.
Dark night skies set the perfect backdrop for a breathtaking departure illuminated with candles, sparklers, glow sticks — and even fireworks.
Get ready to light up the night sky for a final farewell to your friends and family with these ethereal night time wedding send off ideas.
21. The Chinese Lantern Wedding Send Off
One of the most breathtaking send off ideas for a nighttime wedding is having guests illuminate the sky by releasing delicate Chinese lanterns.
Used for ceremonial purposes for centuries throughout Asia, these beautiful lanterns will create an absolutely stunning send off.
If you decide to try out a lantern release as you exit your wedding, plan to give each family or individual a lantern along with instructions on how to execute the release.
To make the send off extra meaningful, you may also want to have friends and family affix well wishes to the lanterns.
To personalize the send off even more, you may want to give each guest a lighter monogrammed with your initials or wedding date as a memento of your wedding celebration.
22. Glow Sticks
For a wedding reception that lasts well into the night, you cannot beat a glow stick wedding send off.
One of the more playful options for a nighttime wedding send off, having the chance to play with glow sticks will delight both children and adults!
While not as bright, they make for a more colorful alternative to sparklers at your wedding.
For any Star Wars obsessed couples, we also love the idea of using glow-in-the-dark lightsabers.
When executing a glow stick send off, wedding planners suggest letting guests break the glow sticks themselves right before you make your exit.
You can either designate someone to pass out the glow sticks or create a fun display with a “Let Love Glow” sign instructing guests of your departure plans.
Oh, and don’t forget to take pictures — they are going to look amazing!
23. LED Balloons
Balloons are an important part of so many of life’s big celebrations and milestones — birthday parties, anniversaries, welcome home parties, congratulations, and even Valentine’s Day, so why should you miss out on these party mainstays just because you are having an evening wedding?
Although we are all familiar with the classic white balloon release used in many daytime wedding exits, the idea of balloons often gets overlooked when it comes to night time wedding send off ideas.
However, we have good news for your inner child — you can now purchase LED balloons for your wedding send off. Regular balloons with LEDs inside of them, these make a festive addition to any night time wedding.
If you are looking for a dramatic night time wedding send off idea and are not worried about sticking to a specific budget, you may want to consider incorporating a firework show into your departure.
This popular wedding trend will ensure you have a fairytale end to your perfect day (as well as epic photos to back it up).
When planning a firework wedding exit, it is important to research local and state laws and to get any necessary permits or insurance beforehand.
Also, since you will literally be playing with fire, make sure that you consult with experts and choose a safe backdrop for your display (e.g. best to execute over an open field versus a heavily wooded area).
A firework display at the end of your big day may be jaw-dropping, but sparklers have a similar effect while allowing friends and family to actively participate in your night time wedding send off.
This classic night time send off idea never goes out of style, creating a festive and exciting mood for your departure.
The perfect sparkler send off is all about timing, with two key elements involved.
The first item to keep in mind when it comes to timing is setting a specific time for your sparkler departure and notifying guests.
This will ensure that you have a nice sized crowd to see you off at the end of the night.
There are a ton of cute sparkler display options that you can use to let guests know when to be ready to bid you adieu.
The second essential element of any sparkler send off is timing your actual exit to take place while the sparklers are lit.
To determine the ideal timing, you may want to test out your sparklers to see how long they burn and then choose a point person to coordinate the day of.
The longer the wedding sparklers, the better!
Wedding Send Off Traditions Around The World
One of the best things about weddings is the unique traditions that vary from culture to culture.
Whether you are looking for wedding send off ideas or just want to learn a little bit more about how weddings are celebrated around the world, here are a few traditional bride and groom departure ideas commonly seen at weddings in other countries.
Dating back to the ancient Roman tradition, the French opt for showering the bride and groom with wheat as they depart their reception.
Similarly to the tradition of rice used in the United States, tossing wheat is a symbol of bounty and prosperity.
Want to incorporate a touch of Italy into your wedding send off?
A popular Italian wedding tradition is to toss sweet candies and sugared nuts at the newlyweds as they make their escape to symbolize the sweetness of marriage.
As the bride and groom exit their village following their wedding, it is a Kenyan tradition for the father of the bride to spit on the bride’s chest and head so that he will not jinx their good luck.
At the end of weddings on the French Polynesian Marquesa Islands, it is traditional for the bride’s family to lay down next to each other side by side for the bride and groom to walk over as they exit!
A tradition sometimes seen in wedding send offs in the United States, it is traditional for newlyweds in the Philippines to release two doves during their reception, a representation of a long and harmonious life of wedded bliss.
The opposite of a grand wedding exit is a popular tradition in Venezuela, with the bride and groom typically trying to sneak out of the reception without anyone noticing.
The guests are on high alert, as it is considered to be good luck if you are the first guest to realize that the newlyweds have departed.
Now Go Plan Your Perfect Wedding Send Off!
A wedding send off is a wonderful opportunity for friends and family to gather around a newly wedded couple, showering them with good wishes for years of wedded bliss, and no wedding would be complete without a special departure.
Whether you are planning an over-the-top wedding exit to rival the Macy’s Day Parade, or a low-key send off with your closest friends and family gathered near, a wedding send off is the perfect way to enter into your new life as man and wife.