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I’ve been photographing lots of weddings and lots of confetti, and it’s always fun, but in 2020 I want to see MORE!
So I’m taking matters into my own hand (hint hint 2020 couples!) From a photographer’s perspective, here are my ultimate confetti tips & tricks to make confetti look it’s best in your wedding photos. I’ll answer all your, I’m sure, PRESSING confetti questions 😘 such as what types of confetti look best in wedding photos, how much confetti you need for 100 people, when to choose biodegradable confetti, what confetti is bad for the environment, when to use confetti poppers or canons, where to buy confetti, and other things to think about for guaranteed confetti-success!
Why you should throw confetti at your wedding
Confetti is guaranteed to provide some fun-filles photos of you as a newlywed couple! I especially recommend it becuase firstly, it’s a fun thing to do to involve your guests in your day. Secondly, the action of confetti throwing really helps even the most shy couples get properly happy and exuberant photographs, almost without trying. If your apprehensive about being photographed at all, confetti-throwing is the antidote.
When to throw confetti
There are a few different times that feels appropriate to throw your confetti, and it depends on your timeline, the weather and your venue.
Most commonly (in Scotland), confetti is thrown after you have walked back up the aisle. While you’re taking a few moments to yourselves, I will arrange your guests and get ready to throw! Another option is to have someone organise your guests to throw as you come back from your photoshoot and are getting ready to sit down for your meal. I highly recommend doing the confetti throwing and the large group shot (if you want this, and if there’s space) in quick succession for practical reasons.
If the weather is crap, and there’s no massive space or hallway for you to use inside, you may want your guests to throw confetti while you’re walking back up the aisle after your ceremony. In that case, it’s most practical to organise the confetti to be handed out by someone while you’re signing your register. This will encourage your guests to throw it when you’re walking back up. Trust me when I say, they may not know when to throw it if they received it in a small bag on their seat. I wouldn’t want to be “that guest” who threw confetti when I wasn’t supposed to… 😆
If you never get the chance, or it’s impractical, to throw confetti before the wedding breakfast, you can have confetti during your first dance. For the best effect, I recommend handing out confetti-poppers or cannons to your bridal party for this, as it will surprise other guests and literally start a cracking evening with a bang!
Confetti line-up or confetti group shot?
This is entirely based on your preference (and space) – below are some examples of both. If you have space to do both or either, I would recommend you do both! I mean, do the line-up confetti throwing, and then a big group photo (without confetti) after. I do think the confetti-group photos look really fun though, but they can get a bit messy and faces can be hidden, so definitely do both a confetti throw and a photo without conetti if you’re doing the large group photograph.
What kind of confetti looks best in wedding photos?
LARGE (and often colourful) confetti looks best in wedding photos, hands down. In the picture below, there’s a mix of petals, tissues and other types of confetti which also works really well. The smaller the confetti, the more it looks like a midgie swarm (for instance dried lavender flowers) and we will barely see them. Biodegradable tissue confetti is often available in various colours and sizes, and is the type I recommend. Large petals are beautiful and amazing, but more expensive. Tissue won’t look as glamorous as petals when displayed in a basket or on a table, but if you’re more concerned about budget than looks, it’s a no brainer! I think a common misconception is that you need to display your confetti beautifully at some point during the day, which is completely unnecessary 🙃
For dancing shots, I recommend shiny confetti if possible. These may not be biodegradable though, as shiny things rarely are (because they’re plastic). If you’re OK with that, shine does give your confetti a wonderful effect with lights and flash.
What confetti to buy? Biodegradable confetti vs confetti that’s bad for the environment
There are generally three types of confetti: tissue papers, petals and plastic confetti. Within these categories you can have both environmentally friendly and harmful types (except for the plastic one which is generally not a good idea).
You should definitely consider biodegradable confetti no matter if you’re throwing them inside or outside. Plastic is never a good idea! Some venues prefer biodegradable tissue confetti indoors, as opposed to large petals, as they hoover up more easily (but always check with your specific venue). Petals are naturally biodegradable and many venues prefer them to bio-tissues as they look nicer when left to degrade outside. But some biodegradable confetti can be harmful to the environment: any uncooked grains such as rice, or poisonous leaves/petals can harm animals.
I highly recommend NOT choosing the tiny plastic bags with a sticker or logo on them for your guests. They look cute, but 1) they are usually made of plastic, 2) they can’t hold nearly enough confetti, 3) they are fiddly and hard to open, 4) your guests will forget them if you hand them out before the ceremony, and after the ceremony there isn’t really a need for those “branded bags” of confetti – it’s confetti-throwing time!
How much confetti per wedding guest?
More is more! If you’re on a budget, that may not be what you want to hear (especially if you want to get the fancy petals that can cost a fortune). The good new is, the most impactful confetti is cheap enough! I recommend one or two big handfuls per guest, or a large cone as in the picture below. You can make it simple though, and just fill up a couple of baskets instead of taking time off your precious evenings to pack confetti neatly. Guests can grab their large handfuls on their way out of the ceremony.
For 100 guests, I would recommend at least 10 – 20 litres of fluffed-up confetti, but it’s always hard to give correct advice to how much confetti looks best as there are so many different weights, sizes and shapes. You can’t have too much though, which is maybe helpful to know 🙈
When to use confetti poppers and confetti canons
As explained above, confetti poppers or canons are perfect for the dancefloor in the evening. In addition, they’re fun to hand out to older children or to the bridal party at the very start or end of your confetti walkway. As soon as they pop, you go running down the walkway! If you can find biodegradable poppers, why not try it? Make sure your bridal party know how to use them though, as it’s a big anti-climactic if they can’t figure it out on the spot.
How I organise your guests to throw confetti
Before your wedding day, you decide (together with your venue) on the best time to do the confetti-throwing. On the day, leave it up to me to get it done! If you want to throw confetti directly after your ceremony, all you need to do is hide away in a room to enjoy 3-4 minute privacy, while I line your guests up like in the picture below. I’ll appoint your bridesmaids, groomsmen or ushers to hand out confetti (or guests will grab a handful on their way out). I’ll then in my most charming way possible let everyone know how to handle their confetti (throw it UP, not AT you; not to crunch it with sweaty paws so it turns into a soggy ball; and a few other golden tips). When it’s time, you simply come back from your hiding space and we’ll all be ready for you.
I’ve rarely had very good results from “organic” confetti throwing, i.e. your guests figuring out themselves when and how to throw the confetti. Some of my couples say they want this, because they want to minimise my involvement in their day and capture everything naturally. This is understandable if being center of attention on your day is daunting to you! But if you want the results, it’s best if you just let me take the reign. It’s one of the very few times during your day I’ll actively organise anything in this way, and I always try to do it in a fun and up-beat manner!
The downsides of confetti
There aren’t really many! If your venue is OK with it, I say go! One negative aspect is that confetti can and will get in your hair, veil, shoes, bra, and maybe even inside the fine tulle layers of your dress. The larger (and smoother) the confetti though (which we’ve already established is good for photos) the easier to remove. Petals with serrated edges or small dried seeds or petals from lavender can really find their way in there and get stuck for the rest of the day. In addition, confetti is an added cost to your budget, so if that’s not a priority, I completely understand if you don’t want to do it.
NOTE: Some colourful tissue isn’t colourfast when wet, so they may stain! Check this if you anticipate rain during your confetti-sesh.
Where to buy confetti
Lots of stationery shops have confetti tissues available. For instance, at the time of writing, Paperchase has a range of confetti options including Biodegradable Jumbo Confetti in a colourful mix.
NOTE: Some colourful tissue isn’t colourfast when wet, so they may stain!
You can also find lots of confetti options on Etsy. I always tick the box for UK when I choose suppliers on Etsy to avoid sending via air and paying import taxes and so on. Here’s a search I did on Etsy that give you both tissue and petal confetti. Honestly, you can also check ASDA or Sainsbury’s for confetti and confetti poppers. Just make sure it’s biodegradable (if you’re opting for that). Not all tissue is!
A super cheap confetti option
If your budget really doesn’t allow colourful, large and fancy biodegradable petals, and you just want some quick and easy confetti to throw you can use plain rice crispies. They’re called “puffet ris” in Norwegian, and so far I haven’t come across the perfect brand in Scotland. However, you should look for plain rice crispies (avoid anything glazed in sugar or coated in anything). A couple of 500g bags should be plenty for a large wedding party! Hand it out in one basket and let everyone grab a massive handful. In the photo below, we only used rice crispies!
Are you allowed to throw confetti at your wedding venue?
You should always check with your venue if you’re allowed to throw confetti, and which confetti they allow. They may fine you if you’re not following their rules. There’s a number of understandable reasons why some venues have banned confetti: it can ruin historical sites or gardens, be harmful to animals that roam freely on their premises, or they lack space or safe areas (avoiding fire risks). If it’s merely because they can’t be bothered cleaning it up, they should reconsider why they want to provide a wedding service! Confetti it’s such innocent fun, and there should be a way to compromise with your venue. I get that it can be a pain to tidy up confetti inside, as it can’t be let to biodegrade (but that’s what hoovers are for!).
I know this wasn’t really very helpful, but it’s always up to each individual venue. It’s better you ask beforehand, than to spend money on confetti only to be told you can’t use it on the day (and not have any alternatives planned).
Are there any alternatives to confetti?
If your venue is adamant you can’t throw confetti, there are some alternatives that can make for a fun activity or add some colour to your aisle or evening exit. One that probably needs to be explained to your guests (because at the wedding below it was unfortunately not used to it’s full potential) is the confetti-wand. The kids loved it! If you had one for each guests or every other guests if you’re a large number, they can be super effectful!
In the evening, you can do a glowstick procession as you enter the dancefloor, or have sparklers outside for everyone.
I hope that was helpful and maybe will inspire you to take action and get the most epic confetti photos this year! Let’s beat all my 2019 couples in style and quantity this year 🎉 Go team 2020!