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Let’s face it, everyone loves a good wedding day confetti toss send off! They’re exciting and make for great memories and even more amazing photos. But sadly, not all confetti is created equal.
Choosing the wrong confetti can have a major negative impact on the environment, so here are 9 things to consider before making a confetti choice for your big day.
1. Before You Decide on Confetti, Check with the Venue
Many venues actually ban the use of confetti because of how hard it can be to clean up and how damaging it can be to the natural environment. Before you plan any sort of send off, whether it be confetti, balloons, or sparklers, check with your venue manager to find out what is and is not permitted.
2. Never Use Glitter
I feel I should be really clear here: Never use glitter for your confetti toss. Not only will it never leave the venue, your clothes, or the clothes and hair of your guest, it is small enough that it can be accidentally inhaled by your guests during the toss or get caught in their eyes. If you are doing the toss outdoors, then you’re also exposing all of the birds and animals to the glitter, which can be very harmful if ingested.
3. Be Cautious of “Eco-Friendly” Glitter Alternatives
Jessica Serra Huizenga, owner of The Confetti Bar, is the queen of all things confetti, and she warns that even glitter products that market themselves as eco-friendly, might not be a good fit for your ceremony.
“Eco-friendly glitter is also a new, hot thing, and while I definitely love me some sparkle, this is one I’m still a tiny bit cautious of,” says Huizenga. “It seems while most biodegradable glitters are made with a compostable cellulose from Eucalyptus trees, getting that metallic shine usually involves some type of aluminum (metal) or, for some finishes, even a PET material (a plastic that is not eco-friendly). While biodegradable glitters are definitely a better choice than a traditional plastic glitter, and small quantities are most likely not super harmful, I personally feel it’s something that you need to research thoroughly before deciding to throw a bunch of it outside.”
4. Not All “Natural” Confetti Options Are Created Equal
While natural materials are always a better bet when it comes to confetti, not all materials that are naturally occurring are safe for a confetti toss. Rice has a long history of being used for wedding day send-offs, but most people are now aware that this can be a very hazardous material.
“While it may appear harmless, rice has been rumored to be harmful to bird,” says Huizenga. “Even if science is on our side with this one, rice can still be slippery to walk on and can be harmful and sharp if it gets in someone’s eye, so best to avoid for a myriad of reasons.”
Huizenga also suggests avoiding bird seed for similar reasons.
5. Herbs and Flowers Are Great Biodegradable Options, Though They Tend to Cost More
“When it comes to eco-friendly confetti, the closer you can get to natural materials, the better,” says Huizenga. “If it’s something you would already find in nature, there’s less of a chance it will hurt the environment. Things like flowers, seeds, and herbs are my favorites to use.”
And rightly so. We have started to see lots more floral and herbal send offs, and LOVE THEM. They are beautiful and safe for the environment, and as wedding planner Alex Fisher of Lucky Penny Creative can attest, “Dried herb send-offs smell freaking amazing!” Just imagine a warm summer day and the heat igniting the scent of the herbs. I am more relaxes just at the thought.
Of course, not ALL flowers and herbs are a wise choice. Make sure that you select flowers and herbs that are not poisonous if ingested by animals. Rose petals are a great option, as you can find them in a variety of hues, and lavender, chamomile, calendula, mint, and eucalyptus leaves are also safe bets.
It’s also important to create a mix of all of these natural elements to create color and vibrancy, and to ensure you get the desired visual effect. “Lavender smells lovely,” says photographer Rowan Williams of Parrot & Pineapple Photography, “but unless the little bits are left on the stem and you throw the whole flower heads as confetti, it doesn’t show up well on photos.”
It is because of this that The Confetti Bar allows you to create custom Floralfetti™! You can pick and choose your colors and herbal add-ins to make a blend that will perfectly accent your wedding day. But Huizenga goes the extra mile by freeze-drying all of the flowers and herbs in her Floralfetti blends. “Since the petals are freeze-dried they retain their rich colors, and won’t wilt, stain, or slip.”
But because these flowers and herbs are more costly to produce than paper, they are also going to cost you more to have at your wedding. Expect to pay anywhere between $60-300 for confetti for 75 guests. While The Confetti Bar is our first pick, Etsy shops like Tiny House Farms have lots of options at a variety of price points.
6. Check Out Soluble or Sprouting Confetti
“Solufetti is made with water soluble bits, herbs, and/or mica flakes,” says Huizenga. “The bits are made from blown cornstarch, a water soluble, non-toxic, and biodegradable material that breaks down quickly when exposed to moisture. The dye to make the colors are similar to food coloring, and also biodegradable and non-toxic. The pieces are small and fluffy, and sort of mimic the look of rice or snow.”
Sproutfetti is an option that can add some beauty beyond your wedding day. “It is made from a compostable paper that has flower and/or herb seeds embedded in the paper. It’s literally confetti that, if planted, grows!”
Huizenga has even taken great steps to make sure that the seeds she includes are thoughtful. “I source the paper from a company that is approved by the CFIA and the USDA for planting across many countries, and each batch of their seeds is tested to ensure that they free of noxious weeds and invasive species.” That being said, you should always check with your venue when using sprouting confetti to make sure they are okay with possible sprouts!
7. Or Maybe Try Coconut!
Coconut flake confetti tosses are another trend that are starting to pop up, and they allow for the visual aesthetic of rice and snow without the harmful impact. But coconut allergies are real, and many people who are allergic to coconut can have allergic reactions even when coconut comes in contact with their skin, so always check with your guests and the venue before using this option.
8. Consider The Look You’re Trying to Achieve
Ultimately, the type of confetti mix you choose may come down to the look you want to achieve, as different compositions are going to fall down from the sky in different ways.
“All three biodegradable confetti styles have a different look to them, and each behave a little differently when tossed,” says For example, Floralfetti floats down in larger, more colorful chunks, Solufetti looks a bit more like fine snow, and Sproutfetti is closest to our non-biodegradable signature style confetti mixes that have a base of rough cut paper bits, so it rains down like large, colorful sprinkles.”
Honestly, they all sound so awesome, we can’t choose.
9. Still Be Prepared to Clean Up
Just because your confetti isn’t bad for the planet doesn’t mean it won’t make a great big mess! Talk with your planner, coordinator, or venue manager about a clean up plan for your confetti. Even when event planner Justine Broughal of Together Event Planning uses biodegradable confetti she knows the goal is to reduce negative impact on the environment, not to avoid cleanup altogether. “I still clean it up when it’s all done so that it doesn’t leave too much of a mess,” she says. Thousands of pieces of biodegradable confetti can definitely be harmful, so sweep it up!
Jen Siomacco is the CEO and Creative Director of Catalyst Wedding Co. She works to mesh together her love of feminism, love stories, equality and design into the layout and brand of Catalyst while she sits on her couch and snuggles up with her SUPER lazy cats.
Photo by Tiffany Josephs Photography