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It's Completely Okay to Throw Rice at Weddings (Just FYI)

The rumors about birds and rice aren't exactly true.
maggie seaver the knot wedding planning expert
by Maggie Seaver
maggie seaver the knot wedding planning expert
Maggie Seaver
Wedding Planning Expert
  • Maggie Seaver is an Associate Digital Editor at RealSimple.com.
  • Maggie writes about life, career, health, and more.
  • Maggie was an editor at The Knot from 2015 to 2019.
Updated Nov 05, 2018

Tossing rice as the newlyweds exit their ceremony or reception has been a wedding tradition for a long, long time. Why rice? This delicate and auspicious little grain is considered a symbol of prosperity, good fortune and fertility, so showering the happy couple with it thought to be perfect way to usher them into their new life together.

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But remember the whole bird thing? The rumor that birds would eat rice thrown at weddings and subsequently, um, explode (sorry for the visual) became so problematic that state legislation was passed in 1985 banning the traditional tossing of rice. Well, since then, ornithologists have weighed in to say that's not really a thing—they've never seen it happen. (Any chefs in the house? Apparently rice can't expand—and therefore harm birds who eat it—without being cooked first.)

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The moral of the story: If having your guests make it rain with rice as you exit your ceremony or reception is a nonnegotiable part of your wedding vision, go for it. Want to avoid guests slipping on grains and a huge mess at your venue? Skip the grocery store rice and opt for a special kind of eco-friendly wedding rice that dissolves in water and breaks apart when stepped on.

Not into a traditional rice toss? Try confetti, bubbles, flower petals or one of these other fun wedding exit toss alternatives.

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