How to get the best confetti wedding photos

Your pro guide to mastering the art of the iconic confetti wedding photo

The iconic confetti wedding photo is one of my most requested pictures. But what makes them so special? And how can you set yourself up to get the very best confetti photo possible? Come along with me as I throw you all my pro confetti photo secrets.

Why confetti photos are so loved

The one wedding photo I looked forward to getting the most? The confetti photo. My excitement-o-meter rang strong for confetti whilst all the other photos struck short. And it’s the only picture I’ve framed.

And I’m not alone. When it comes to fave wedding photos, a confetti picture is hands-down one of my couples’ most wanted. Why?

Well, because it’s an entirely relaxed and unposed moment. You might think you’ll be able to maintain your composure and walk like an Egyptian elegantly while smiling sweetly at the camera … but trust me, you’ll soon forget all that. ‘Cos it’s hard to stay serene when people are throwing things at you!

Here’s how it’ll likely go down …

There’ll be confetti caught in your hair, pieces wedged in your bouquet, more inside your outfits, bits stuck to your tongue … You’ll be finding it in the oddest of places for weeks to come.

It sounds awful. But you’ll love every moment.

After the high of your ceremony, being pelted with paper is strangely hilarious. You’ll laugh, pull faces, and get swept up in the magic of the moment. Guests will join in – from oldest to youngest – all the generations united in fun.

And the end result will be some of your most natural and relaxed wedding photos.

Bride and groom covered in confetti

Sound good? Let’s make it happen!

Though if you’re anything like me, you’re probably wondering how this odd tradition even started. Here’s what the big G reports …

The history of wedding confetti-throwing

Throwing rice, flowers or paper over newlyweds is traditionally believed to bring the couple an abundance of food and fertility for their marriage. That’s a bit out of touch now, but I love to think of it as throwing something to literally sprinkle a couple with blessings. Sounds beautiful, right? Well brace yourself. Because the complete history isn’t completely wholesome.

Back in the middle-ages, Italian noble-people threw bits of bread, fruit, and coins into the crowds during processions and parades. Lower-class people – ever quick to make fun of the nobles – mockingly threw rotten eggs instead.  Can you imagine trying to celebrate and getting assaulted by a stinky egg? Uck. You’d never get that smell out of your hair. Naturally, egg-throwing was banned, and the custom faded into obscurity.

The re-emergence of throwing-of-stuff-at-revellers appeared in the 1700s with the arrival of candied seeds and nuts as celebratory weapons of choice. Italy evolved the practice into plaster imitations of sweets (ouch!), which was quickly banned in France.

So then we had mud balls (joy!) and uncooked rice (also ouch, but thank goodness it wasn’t the cooked, soggy stuff) before we cottoned onto paper confetti in the 1800s. And that’s evolved into the biodegradable paper or flower petals we use today.

Wedding guests watching confetti throwing

I bet you didn’t know this …

The word ‘confetti’ comes from the Italian word for sugared almonds, which were never thrown, but were handed out as favours instead.

Oh, and the Italian word for confetti is ‘coriandoli’ which is candied coriander. They didn’t throw that either. The mind boggles.

The word ‘confetti’ in relation to weddings was added to the Oxford English Dictionary in 1895.

And the best bit …

Confetti is actually the plural; and ‘confetto’ is a single piece of confetti. For bonus points at your next dinner party, you can extend this further. Spaghetti, spaghetto! Ravioli, raviolo!

Yep, you’re basically a linguistic genius now.

Confetti stuck inside groom's suit

Now onto the important bit: How can you get the very best confetti wedding photos possible?

How to get frame-worthy wedding confetti photos

How hard can it be? After all, it seems pretty simple. You buy it, they throw it. No great mystery, right?

Except there’s so much more that happens behind the scenes to set the stage for gorgeous confetti photos – and more than one way it can go wrong.

Consider this …

  • Most guests don’t bring confetti with them. You might get one or two people (usually the mums and grans) that come proactively prepared with confetti in their clutches. But as for the rest of your guests? Well, when was the last time you BYO’d a bucket of biodegradable paper with you to a wedding? Yep. Exactly. You’re in the majority, trust me. And while you and everyone else will be ready and waiting to take photos of the confetti craziness … there’ll be no confetti to take photos of.
  • Overexcitement is real. Humans have a history of terrible timing – especially when emotions get involved. Which means some guests will inevitably be swept up in the moment and toss their confetti the second you’re within throwing distance. And, sure, that’ll be super fun for everyone … but there’ll still be no confetti to take photos of.
  • Getting *that* frame-worthy confetti photo doesn’t happen by happy accident. People won’t automatically know what you want them to do. So you’ll need a coordinated effort, with an impressive amount of confetti, and a way to ensure it’s all thrown at the right time. It’s an organisational feat, trust me. And without someone actively organising your confetti-throwing guests … you guessed it, there’ll be no confetti to take photos of.

And if it seems like I’m worried there won’t be any confetti to photograph, it’s because I am. Genuinely. But you can prevent confetti photos gone wrong, wild and wayward with these top tips:

1. Double-check your venue’s confetti rules (yep, they have them!)

Understandably, not every venue is enthusiastic about – or allows – confetti throwing. Churches especially often insist you throw the confetti outside their grounds because cleaning it up after you’re gone is near impossible. Have you ever tried hoovering gravel or grass? Yep, exactly. And, naturally, they want their grounds to look nice for the next wedding.

So, before you buy buckets of confetti, check if your church or venue allows it, as well as where they permit you to throw it. Some civil ceremony venues only allow you to throw confetti inside (‘cos it’s easy for Henry to vacuum up), while others are happy for confetti to be thrown wherever whenever. 

Flower girl picking up confetti

2. Choose earth-and-photo-friendly confetti

The best confetti? Biodegradable tissue paper circles. These float nicely, flutter about, look pretty, and are big enough to see in photos. Basically, the best weight to flutter ratio! (The science of great confetti photos. You’re welcome.) My go-to for confetti circles is ‘Proper Confetti London’.

Petals are also a good choice. But not just any petals … Think Goldilocks style. Not too big, not too small. Smaller ones float well and don’t obscure your face too much, but can be tricky to see in photos. Rose petals are beautiful, but their weight makes them drop fast and their size can hide your face. And lavender might smell lovely, but you simply won’t spot it in your photos. Instead, use it as an additive.

Don’t fancy paper or petals? Here are some confetti alternatives to consider:

  • Try plantable paper. If you’re getting married on the family farm or in a private home and fancy growing a patch of wildflowers or a herb garden as a reminder of your special day, you could consider plantable paper embedded with seeds that grow where they fall. (But if you’re hiring a stately home with perfectly manicured gardens, it’s probably best to avoid this idea!)
  • Make your own confetti. Gather fallen leaves, grab a hole punch, and get punching!
  • Fashion some paper aeroplanes. There are plenty of cute ways you can make this original and unique to your wedding, too … For the adventure-loving couple, you could turn old maps into paper planes. And for serving pilots, what about using copies of RAF News?

And I’m sure you have this covered, but just in case temporary-wedding-planning-madness strikes … remember that biodegradable is best. Avoid plastic, metallic, and glitter – and plaster sweets.

Round disc wedding confetti

3. Save on the cones, splurge on the confetti

Confetti cones and little bags are popular at weddings, but TBH, when you use those, there’s just not enough confetti inside to get maximum pop for your pictures. And if you’re anything like me, half of it gets stuck in the bottom of the cone. You could always empty it in your hand to throw, but still there’s never enough.

Which is why I recommend using baskets or buckets. Yep – that’s how big we’re talking! More is more. You can never have too much – but you can definitely have too little.

If you’re unsure how much to buy, get way more than you think you need. Shropshire Petals recommends one litre of smaller petals for every ten guests. I recommend you get that, and then double it.

4. Designate confetti caretakers

Confetti is cute, but it can’t take care of itself. If you want your confetti photos to go off without a hitch, you’ll need some humans to hand it out and guide your guests.

“But, Sarah, can’t my photographer do that?” They could, but that’ll take them away from their primary purpose: Photographing your wedding. Instead of herding guests, they could be capturing lovely, natural moments as you greet loved ones or steal a few mins of alone time. They could even be taking some quick classic pics of the two of you in the church doorway – before you get covered in confetti! By the time those are done, your guests will be in position and ready to rain the confetti.

Which is why I recommend you:

  • Find someone to take the confetti to the church and find somewhere safe to store it during the ceremony (Hint: the wind can whip up in church porches.)
  • Nominate at least two people to hand out the confetti. Bridesmaids, flower girls, and page boys are good victims
  • Ask your Ushers to get everyone in place ready to throw confetti.

And for extra impact …

  • Place confetti-throwers at the front and camera-phone-wielders at the back. Otherwise, there’ll be no confetti to photograph (and you know I’m worried about that)
  • Station anyone who wants to get their own back on you with the big basket of leftovers at the end of the line ;)
Ushers handing out confetti to wedding guests

5. Seek your photographer’s advice on your confetti location

Remember, we’re not just looking to enable any ol’ confetti photos. We want the best of the best. And a pro photographer will know exactly which spot will support your mission, so check in with them before you decide on a confetti-tossing location.

On a cloudy day, you can go pretty much anywhere.

If it’s a sunny day, things get tricky. Because harsh light makes it hard to see the confetti in photos, you’ll squint and squirm as the sun shines in your face, oh, and pro fact: Sun-lit confetti throws shadows e’rywhere!

So, if there’s a large shaded area, you’ve got yourself a winner.

If there’s no shade available, position yourselves with the sun behind you so you’re not looking directly into it. Think of yourself like an indoor plant: Indirect sunlight only.

Bride shaking confetti out of her bouquet

Final words of wisdom

  • Work your confetti-throwing into the day so it’s a natural moment. A popular option is to make the most of the transition from church door to car. If you’ve got room, have your guests line the pathway to make a tunnel. This will create a really natural feeling, moment, and aesthetic as you walk through. But if you’re pushed for space, your guests can gather around you. It’s slightly more contrived as it’s a static image, but it’s quite fun as everyone gets covered in confetti!
  • Enjoy the experience. Walk slowly and take your time. Your gut instinct will be to look down but try to look up. This will make it easier for your guests to time their toss well (it can be tricky!) and it’ll make it a more engaging experience for you too. In the same vein …
  • Embrace the chaos. And it will be chaos. There’ll be confetti flying everywhere and laughter all around you. And this is the moment when your veil is most likely to fly out. My tip is to go with the flow … Hold your bouquet high, punch the air, high-five each other, and even stop, laugh at each other, or kiss. Enjoy whatever happens.

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