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Confetti at weddings has become a huge part of any wedding day, Over 15 years working as a wedding photographer in South Wales there has not been many weddings that have not included a confetti shot! It got me thinking! .. where does it come from and why ? The tradition indeed goes back centuries and is still prevalent in many countries and cultures today. From the origins of confetti to it's use in different cultures around the world, this article explores the rich history and traditions of this vibrant and colorful wedding accessory. Quite simply; why do we throw confetti at weddings?
Confetti actually originated in Italy during the Middle Ages and is hundreds and hundreds of years old. It actually means "small sweet" in Italian! The early versions of confetti were sugared almonds, which were used during celebrations such as weddings, christenings, and other important events. The almonds were tossed at the guests to symbolize good luck and prosperity. As time went on, confetti evolved from sugared almonds to small pieces of coloured paper or tissues, which were also tossed during celebrations. The tradition of throwing confetti at weddings began in Italy in the 19th century, when small pieces of paper were thrown at the bride and groom as they left the church. It was believed that the confetti would bring good luck and fertility to the newlyweds.
Working as a wedding photographer, confetti is one of the "key" photographs of the wedding day! A chance to capture the colour and emotion of the wedding and the reactions of the bride and groom as well as the wedding guests and family there on the day.
Confetti is used by different cultures all over the world, each with their own unique styles, traditions and meanings. In Greece, for example, rice is thrown at the couple as a symbol of fertility and prosperity. In India, flower petals are showered on the bride and groom to symbolise happiness and good fortune. In Mexico, papel picado, colourful paper cut into intricate designs, is used as confetti to symbolise joy and celebration. Popular themes for Mexican wedding confetti include birds, floral designs and skeletons!
In some countries, such as in the USA and the UK, confetti is thrown at the newlyweds as they leave the wedding ceremony or reception. In other cultures, such as in France and Italy, confetti is used during the wedding procession, as the bride and groom walk through the streets to the church or reception venue. As well as confetti it used to always be tradition in South Wales to throw coins into the street. This was called a scramble! and was traditionally done by the father of the bride when the happy couple left the church so that children playing the street could make a few bob as an act of celebration. This South Wales wedding tradition sadly however no longer seems to exist.
The use of confetti at weddings has evolved over time, with new trends and innovations emerging. One of the most popular trends in recent years is the use of confetti cannons, which shoot out bursts of confetti in different colours and shapes. These cannons are a great way to add an extra element of excitement and fun to a wedding celebration. However, from a wedding photography perspective canons from experience are not that great to work with and are not as colourful or as big as large petals. Smoke grenades are now also a very popular means of adding colour to a wedding, these can really brighten up a wedding photo if the weather on the wedding day is slightly grey and overcast
These days many bride and grooms are now opting for eco-friendly alternatives to confetti. Bio degradable confetti made from natural materials, such as flower petals or dried leaves, is a popular choice. Other options include birdseed or bubbles, which can create a magical atmosphere without harming the environment. Quite often confetti has been the bug bear of vicars and church ministers who often dislike having to clean up the doorway of the church after a wedding ceremony. There has always been the famous speech of " if you do want to throw confetti please make sure you throw it outside of the church gates!!! "
Bunting is a similar thing to confetti in that it is a type of decorative material that is commonly used for special occasions, such as weddings, parties and festivals. Usually a series of triangular flags or pennants that are strung together on a length of string or ribbon this type of cultural art comes from the UK in the 17th century and came about from its use as nautical flags. Bunting too can quite often be seen at weddings, especially outdoor weddings and rustic weddings and rustic wedding venues as a means of wedding decor, but it can also be used inside marquee weddings too.
In Greek wedding ceremonies, rice is a traditional ritual that dates back to ancient times. The throwing of rice symbolises fertility, abundance, and good luck for the newlyweds. According to Greek mythology, rice was associated with the goddess Demeter, who was the goddess of agriculture, harvest, and fertility. Demeter was often depicted holding a sheaf of wheat or a stalk of rice, which symbolized the abundance of the harvest. In ancient Greece, rice was considered a symbol of prosperity and was often used in wedding ceremonies. Guests would throw rice at the newlyweds as they exited the church or wedding venue. The rice was believed to bring fertility and abundance to the couple, ensuring a happy and prosperous marriage. Today, the tradition of throwing rice at weddings in Greece continues. In some regions of the country, guests may also throw other grains, such as wheat or barley, or other items such as coins or flower petals. The act of throwing rice or other items is often accompanied by singing and dancing, creating a festive atmosphere and party celebration
Confetti has a colourful and rich history and tradition that spans cultures and centuries. From its origins as sugared almonds in Italy to its use as colorful paper or tissue today, confetti remains an important part of wedding celebrations around the world. Whether it's tossed at the bride and groom as they leave the ceremony or shot out of confetti cannons on the dance floor, or swapped for coloured smoke cannons, confetti and colour itself on a wedding day is a symbol of joy, happiness, and good luck that will continue to brighten wedding celebrations for years to come.