7 Mistakes When Choosing Your Wedding Colors

Wedding ColorsWhen you’re putting together your wedding theme, the most important thing to get right is your color scheme. Your wedding colors will direct the entire feel of your wedding, so knowing what you want and how to achieve it is very important. However, many brides are thinking about specific colors that they want to have and aren’t looking at the big picture and how they will or won’t work together. This can lead to some pretty off-putting color schemes that not even the mother of the bride can defend. Fortunately, there are some things you can keep in mind that will help you get the wedding colors right, and here are 7 common mistakes that you can easily avoid.

1. Setting a Single Color Palette

Most brides are asked over and over what their wedding colors are, so you can get pigeon-holed into saying the same color over and over and believing it. The truth is that you don’t really need to have a set palette for your wedding, the colors just need to work together. Your wedding theme may be more object-oriented such as flowers or plants, so colors can easily become a moot point.

2. Choosing Trendy Colors (According to Others)

One of the worst mistakes that a bride can commit is to listen to “experts” and magazine articles too much about what colors are trending right now. Just because other people love a particular color this year doesn’t mean you need to settle for it if you prefer something else. Remember that it is your wedding and you can choose whatever colors you want for anything in the room.

3. Choosing Unnatural Colors

Though it can be fun to choose wild and zany colors for your wedding, it can be really hard to match decorations with certain ones that are too off the wall. For instance, if you use orange as your primary wedding color, you may find it difficult to find flowers, plants, and other items that match it very well. You probably don’t want to be stuck with a bunch of pumpkins as your centerpieces, so think things through before you pick something that doesn’t happen in nature too often.

4. Having Too Many Wedding Colors

Though it’s never a good idea to limit yourself to only a few wedding colors, it is just as horrible to have way too many. You don’t want your reception hall to look like a tie-dyed t-shirt (or maybe you do), so try to keep yourself limited to a sane number of wedding color. There’s a big difference between using several shades of brown or green and using red, yellow, orange, and blue. Diversify within a certain color if you want more variety, but don’t leap all over the color wheel.

5. Avoiding Risks

Though you don’t want to have your wedding colors be completely off the wall, you also don’t want your wedding to look bland and plain. Often times a bride will stick to really basic wedding colors like white, red, and pink, and this can make your wedding look really dull and boring. Try to keep things a little bit fun and random, just don’t go overboard or it can be even worse than having plain wedding colors.

6. Avoiding White

Though it’s bad form for the mother of the bride to wear white and upstage the bride, that doesn’t mean that your tablecloths can’t be white. There is a reason that white is known as the definitive wedding color, so make sure it is properly represented throughout your color scheme. White is a very classy color, and weddings are all about class at the end of the day.

7. Overlooking Your Venue’s Color Palette

Though you’re going to want to have your own vision for your wedding colors, you also need to accept that you need to work with what already exists at your wedding venue. If the walls of your wedding venue are already brown, using blue as your primary wedding color will look absolutely terrible. Keep this in mind when you’re out looking at potential wedding venues and you should be able to avoid the most common mistakes that brides make when choosing their wedding colors.

5 Creative Wedding Invites

Message in a BottleYour wedding invitation is more than just a document telling your guests when and where your nuptials will take place. They’re an opportunity to set the tone for your wedding, hint at your theme, and generally show off what creative, hip and groovy people you and your spouse are. If you’re having trouble finding just the right angle for your awesome wedding invitation, check out these possibilities:

Wood-Burned Rustic Invites

For a rustic or western-themed wedding, throw out the paper invitations and go for something with a little more staying power: a thin slab of wood, with your wedding details burned in. It’s possible to do the wood-burning yourself if you have the right materials and a steady hand, but there are also a few places online that will do them for you with laser-guided precision.

Subway Map

If you and your partner are city mice at heart, give your wedding invites a metropolitan feel by printing them on a subway map. You can make the map an abstracted guide to the locations of your venues, or make each stop on the imaginary subway line a memorable moment in your relationship. It’s a broad theme, but one you can get creative with–and if your ceremony is in New York, Chicago, or London, you can use the actual subway map of the city and make it useful, too.

Message in a Bottle

For a beach-themed wedding, you can’t go wrong with a classic message in a bottle. Give your guests a taste of the sand and sea they’ll get at the ceremony itself–roll your printed invite into a mini-scroll and stick it in a bottle with a few small shells and a sprinkle of sand to really sell the theme. Bonus points for putting “S.O.S.” instead of “R.S.V.P.”

Flowchart

A flowchart-themed invitation is great for a couple who started as an office romance. But even if you didn’t fall in love over the TPS reports, you can still take design cues from the corporate world and turn them into something cute. Start with a simple, “Have you heard X and Y are getting married?” and let your imagination guide you from there. Just make sure not to get too complicated with it–only include enough choices and paths to get the idea across.

Mad Libs

One of the bigger headaches of planning a wedding is trying to figure out how many people are actually going to show up. Sure, every couple sends out RSVP cards, but there are always plenty of guests who ignore the request for a response until far after you’ve paid the caterer. Step up the likelihood you’ll get a response with an RSVP-card Mad Lib for your guests to fill out. Give them an opportunity to exercise their wit, and watch the responses flood in.

Your wedding invitations can be as unique as your wedding itself, with a bit of good design and a dash of inspiration. With any of the above options, you’ll create a wedding invitation that guests will want to keep around until the day.

4 Fun and Nerdy Wedding Themes

Lord of the Rings Wedding BandsWe’ve taken a trip to the shallow end of nerdy wedding themes in previous articles, but now it’s time to leap off the diving board and really go deep into “geekery”. If you and your partner have a particular nerdy obsession that defines you as a couple–if you met at Comic-Con and hooked up because your cosplay was compatible–go for broke with one of these 4 fun and extremely nerdy wedding themes.

Harry Potter

Even though each of the Harry Potter books covers a full year, because of the movies we always think winter and fall when we think Potter. Cold weather is better for a Potter-themed wedding anyway–that way the robes and scarves won’t look out of place. An entry-level Harry Potter theme definitely involves picking house colors and an appearance by the sorting hat. Mid-level has the officiant saying “Expecto Matrimonium!” instead of “I now pronounce you man and wife.” For the expert level, turn the obligatory “everyone jumps at the same time” picture into a Quidditch match, and have your rings delivered by a trained owl.

Hunger Games

We’ve seen a few Hunger Games wedding themes pop up online, and though we don’t completely get it (books about starvation and murder=big fun wedding time?), we’re not about to deny anyone their chosen fandom. We do recommend sticking with the Panem side of things for the wedding, though–opulent dress and groaning tables full of food beats making your guests eat whatever they can shoot with a bow and arrow. Entry level has the officiant saying, “May the odds be ever in your favor!” instead of “I now pronounce you…” Mid-level features a cake painted to look like tree bark, in a nod to Peeta’s camouflage skills. The expert level wedding theme has the groom start to marry the bride’s younger sister, until the bride volunteers as tribute and takes her rightful place.

Star Wars

This is the 900-pound gorilla of sci-fi fandom as far as wedding themes go, undiminished by the fact that no one’s made a decent Star Wars movie in 30 years (though that may change in 2015). There’s no denying the Imperial March makes great processional music, and we can definitely get behind bridesmaids carrying blasters instead of flowers. Dress the officiant as Emperor Palpatine and have him or her urge the bride and groom to “give in to the love side.” Entry level has the bride and groom dressed as white-dress Leia and Han Solo. Mid-level features the couple walking out under a light-saber arc while “Celebrate the Love” plays on the overhead. Expert level has the bridesmaids dressed as storm troopers and the groomsmen as Tusken raiders, and a cake shaped like a TaunTaun.

Lord of the Rings

There are definitely fans out there who think of Lord of the Rings as a deeply romantic work, even though the books don’t feature any romantic entanglements at all. Peter Jackson teased out a love affair between Arwen and Aragorn for the film version, but the books are much more “bromantic” than romantic. Still, Sam and Frodo’s relationship features all the loyalty, dedication, and commitment that you could want for a wedding ceremony, so I guess it makes sense. Entry-level has the bride and groom decked out as elves, either from Rivendell or Lothlorien, and the wedding party dressed as elves, dwarves, and/or hobbits. Mid-level has the best man refusing to give up the ring because it’s “His precious.” The expert level wedding theme is a full-day wedding celebration incorporating the ceremony and all seven Hobbit meals, preferably outdoors by a gigantic tree.

There’s something about fantasy worlds that can unite people, bring them together in service of a vision of a better world (or a world where our problems are more easily identified and solved). Use your wedding theme to bring your guests out of their mundane lives for a day dedicated to that grand undertaking most adults unwisely leave out of their regular routines — make-believe.

Choosing a Wedding Reception Location

Outdoor Wedding VenueOnce you reach the age when you’re ready to have a wedding of your own, you’ve likely attended your fair share of other couples’ weddings. This can usually give you several good ideas about how to plan and decorate your wedding ceremony, but most people don’t keep track of their ideas about the reception venue. Below, there are some key things to keep in mind when planning your wedding reception that will make sure it as great as the ceremony itself.

Distance

You want to make sure the reception is located fairly close the ceremony site. If your guests need to drive too far to get to the reception, you will likely see a noticeable drop-off in the number of people who show up. If possible, you want to have the reception site either at the same venue as your ceremony or only a block or two away; but if that’s not viable, you should try to keep it within a 10 to 15 minute drive at the very most.

Timing

Similar to the distance issue, you want to make sure the timing of your entire wedding is appropriate and that there isn’t a delay between the end of your ceremony and the start of your reception. You can open your reception hall to guests and give them something to do while they wait for your arrival. You don’t have to start dancing and serving food right when the guests arrive, but having some punch or other wedding projects to occupy them will go a long way.

Temperature

Depending on what time of year you will be having your reception, you will want to make sure you’re taking the appropriate steps to control the temperature at the party. If it is during the hottest or coldest parts of the year, you may want to avoid an outdoor reception to stay courteous to your guests. Furthermore, you’ll want to make sure that an indoor reception venue has the proper climate control functions so that either the heater or air conditioning system can keep up with the temperature outside. Providing a comfortable environment for your post-ceremony celebration is vital; especially since people will be close together and getting warm already from dancing.

Wedding Size

Depending on whether you’re having a very large wedding or a very small wedding, the number of guests you have will play one of the largest roles in your venue selection process. If you’re having a small wedding with less than 20 guests, you can easily get away with having a beach wedding or a ceremony in the gazebo of your friends’ backyard. If you’re having a lot of guests such as 200 or more, then a large hall will really be your only option. Knowing the size of your guest list as far in advance as possible will help you choose the right wedding venue without too much fussing about.

Three Wedding Lies from Romantic Comedies

Las VegasHold onto your seats, because we’re about to hit you with a truly surprising revelation. Romantic comedies don’t always accurately represent what it’s like to be involved in a relationship. I know, I know–we’d love to live in a world where you can stand outside your beloved’s house with a boom box and have her be charmed instead of calling the cops. But in the real world, hardly anything goes the way it does in romantic comedies, and that includes weddings. Here are a few examples:

No One’s Going to Object (The Graduate, Made of Honor)

We all know how the story goes. The bride and groom are just about to get married, but right before the pronouncement that will officially wed them, the officiant asks if anyone has any objections. Someone stands up and gives a heartfelt speech, and boom! The wedding’s off.

But in actuality, hardly anyone goes for the “speak now or forever hold his peace” bit at the wedding. It’s just inviting one of your comedian friends to throw in an ill-timed attempt at being funny. And presumably if someone did have an objection, they’d take it to you in private instead of torpedoing the wedding. But just to be on the safe side, skip straight to the “I now pronounce you” part.

Your Bachelor/Bachelorette Party Doesn’t Have to be a Blow-Out in Vegas (The Hangover, Bridesmaids)

We don’t know who started the idea that bachelor/bachelorette parties have to be weekend-long, extravagantly expensive affairs, but let’s bring things back to earth, okay? Your friends love you. They’re happy you’re getting married. But they probably can’t afford to take a long weekend to fly to Vegas for your bachelorette party like they do in those romantic comedy movies.

And even if the cost isn’t an issue, that’s a pretty serious time and effort commitment to ask of people who are going to also spend time and money helping put your wedding together. Especially if you’re one of the last to get married, and everyone has spouses and kids in addition to full-time work. No one’s saying the party shouldn’t be all about you–but maybe keep it to one evening or at most a single overnight close to home.

The Credits Don’t Roll (Pretty much every romantic comedy)

So you’ve had your picture-perfect wedding, even though the mother of the bride tried to nose in on the preparations, and the groom got lost on the way to the church, and one of the bridesmaids got food poisoning and threw up on the officiant. But it all came together in the end, and as you go off to live happily ever after with your new spouse, the scene fades to black and the credits roll.

Even though we know intellectually that life doesn’t stop right at the wedding, that fade-to-black is so engraved in our minds from years of pop culture that it’s hard to think past it. In reality, what happens is you go sign the wedding certificate, head off to the reception…and then the credits also fail to roll as you leave the reception and hop in the limo. Instead, you now go off and have an actual marriage with your new spouse. Despite what pop culture tells us, the wedding is the beginning of the story, not the end as romantic comedies would have you believe.

There’s nothing wrong with a good romantic comedy. But it’s good to stay grounded when you’re putting your wedding together and thinking about your life after the big day. No matter what Sandra Bullock or Julia Roberts try to tell you, getting married is nothing like it is in the movies.

Five Amazing Wedding Venues Around the Globe

Disney World WeddingUnless you’re reading this in your second home in the Swiss Alps while your butler irons your underpants, I’m going to ask you to join me in daydreaming for a while. What if your wedding was a globe-trotting affair held at one of the planet’s most recognizable and renowned locations? Where would you love to be when you say those vows? We took a look at some of the most famous wedding venues around the world and are presenting them here, along with the cost for holding your wedding there.

The Great Pyramids

They’ve stood in the Egyptian desert for thousands of years, and now they can be the backdrop for your nuptials. How many people can say they got married next to one of the Seven Wonders of the World? Osiris knows you’d end up with some great photos.

The Cost: $4,200 for a gourmet wedding buffet, cake, photographer and DJ. Up to 100 people can join in the festivities.

Disneyland

Sure, you could go for a small destination wedding-style ceremony on Main Street. But we’re going to go ahead and say you go big or go home. Have an evening ceremony after the park closes in Sleeping Beauty’s castle. You’ll start with a drive up Main Street in Disney’s parade vehicles, then party with Mickey and Minnie at your reception, which will be held in the staging area of It’s a Small World.

The Cost: While Disney weddings start at $8500, the ceremony we just described will run you a cool $120,000, plus accommodations for your guests and food for the reception. But hey, we’re dreaming here, right? And a dream is a wish your heart makes.

Burj Al Arab

You know that sail-shaped building you see in every shot of Dubai? Yup, that one. You can get married on the helipad at the very top of the building with up to ten guests (the maximum capacity of the helipad). For a paltry additional fee, you can even arrive at the wedding by helicopter (or by road in a Rolls Royce Phantom).

The Cost: Compared to Disney, it’s a song: $55,000 for your 55 minutes atop the most luxurious hotel in the world. But hey, what else could you spend $1,000 a minute on?

Auchen Castle

Sure, getting married in Sleeping Beauty’s castle is great and all, but what about tying the knot in an actual centuries-old Scottish castle? Auchen castle’s packages include accommodations at the castle itself, Scottish pipers, cake, et cetera. Oh, and one particular thing you won’t get anywhere else: live, trained owls will deliver your rings to the ceremony.

The Cost: A mere 3,580 pounds, or under $6,000 American. And did we mention, because we really want to drive this home, that LIVE TRAINED OWLS deliver the rings?

The Great Wall of China

If the pyramids of Egypt aren’t quite enough of a wonder of the world for you, you can have your wedding ceremony on top of one of the largest structures ever made by man. The ceremony accommodates up to 40 people and can be seen from space (no, not really).

The Cost: At $5,000, this is cheaper than a lot of wedding venues that aren’t global architectural treasures.

Now, odds are you’re not going to drop $120,000 to get married in Sleeping Beauty’s castle. But if your budget allows for it, any of these destinations would certainly make for a ceremony you’ll never forget–or top, for that matter.

Awkward Moments to Avoid at Your Wedding

Garter TossYour wedding day is going to be one of the most memorable days of your life. You’ll be looking your absolute best, you’ll proclaim your love for your partner, and then you’ll dance the night away. It’s going to be awesome. Provided, of course, you avoid a few traps that can turn that awesome day into a cringe-worthy event. Here are four awkward moments that can happen during a wedding and how to avoid them.

The Garter

In the Year of Our Lord Two Thousand and Fifteen, isn’t it mystifying that we still do the whole garter thing? It’s a tradition that started back when people would rush the bride and rip off her dress, leaving her in tears and barely dressed. I guess we’ve made some progress since then, but here we are: every wedding, the groom goes up the bride’s dress, pulls off a garter, and tosses it to the crowd.

Avoid it by: Just don’t do the garter toss. If you absolutely must do it, have the groom remove the garter in a little private couple time before the toss. If you absolutely must have the groom remove the garter in company, at least don’t make him use his teeth.

The Kiss

Your first kiss as a married couple is a super-romantic moment that should make the whole audience swoon. But if the kiss goes on too long or is, shall we say, a little too enthusiastic, suddenly you’re playing tonsil hockey in front of your parents and grandparents. Then it goes from “awe” to “awkward.”

Avoid it by: Of course we’re not going to suggest that you skip the kiss. Just keep it sincere but brief. No tongues and no butt-grabbing.

Drunken Speeches

There’s nothing wrong with a heartfelt wedding toast, or speeches from the happy couple’s parents. But when someone’s had a little too much to drink, that hilarious roast speech can turn nasty, and the heartfelt speeches get weepy and unintelligible. Most people are unaccustomed to public speaking anyway; add too much alcohol and it just gets worse.

Avoid it by: Having a dry wedding with no alcohol served. Just kidding! You can’t stop people from getting a little tipsy, but you can have the speeches before dinner, before people have had a chance to really hit the bar.

Rhythm-Challenged Guests Attempting to Dance

Let’s face it–folks over 35 or so probably aren’t hitting the club on a regular basis. You’re going to see a lot of people dancing who don’t frequently dance, and they’re not going to be very good at it. Expect a lot of awkward feet-shuffling, and then the one wacky uncle who is ironically attempting to break dance.

Avoid it by: well, you can’t really avoid it. So you might as well embrace it. As long as your guests are happy and having fun, and no one’s in immediate danger of injuring themselves, you’re doing fine. Just try not to judge the bad dancers.

Do your best to avoid these awkward moments, but definitely keep in mind that awkward moments are bound to happen during even a very well-planned wedding ceremony. A few little glitches will make the whole thing more memorable for everyone involved. So plan to avoid the awkward, but don’t be too upset if a few awkward moments sneak in anyway.

Unconventional Wedding Color Schemes

Orange and Teal Wedding ColorsFinding the perfect wedding color scheme can be tricky for a couple who aren’t graphic designers or home-décor gurus. With the entire rainbow (and every shade in between) to choose from, getting that perfect palette that sets the mood and doesn’t clash can be a monumental challenge. It’s tempting to play it safe with pinks and purples, but if you’re looking for something a little more striking, give these unconventional color schemes a try.

Teal and Orange

For a summer wedding, especially if it’s a beachfront ceremony, take your color cues from the sea and sunset. These two colors look great together: the contrast between the cool blue and the warm orange is truly striking. Consider tiger lilies or marigolds for the bridal bouquet, and have the bridesmaids’ dresses alternate between the two colors.

Black and White

For a really impactful color scheme, why not try no colors at all? A simple black and white palette can look chic and clean when it’s done properly. Dress the bridesmaids in little black dresses, give the bride a bouquet of calla lilies, and keep the groomsmen looking sharp in tuxedoes with black bowties. It’s an unconventional choice that has a minimalist elegance to it. Bonus: your wedding reception will feel like a glamorous cocktail party.

Pastels

For a spring wedding reception, ditch the bright colors and go for pastels in all colors of the rainbow. Robin’s egg blue, pink, lavender–just a hint of all of the colors will look fantastic together. As a bonus, you don’t have to dress your bridesmaids in identical dresses; let them each pick a pastel that suits them and they’ll look fantastic. Same goes for the groomsmen’s bowties and/or cummerbunds.

Silver & Gold

Have a luxurious-looking winter wedding with silver and gold highlights throughout the ceremony and reception. There’s a sparkling, effervescent property to silver and gold; definitely don’t skimp on the glitter when you’re decorating. The colors together give a hint at a holiday theme without being kitschy; they have a little New Year’s Eve feel and just a bit of Christmas to them as well. You can even use silver and gold Christmas ornaments to make your table centerpieces.

Red White and Navy

At first blush, it may seem like a red, white, and blue wedding will look a little too 4th of July to be tasteful. But replace that bright blue with navy, and it goes from patriotic to homespun rustic simplicity. For a down-home wedding, this color palette will blend in seamlessly with the mason jars and wildflowers you’re using for decorations.

If you’re still looking for color palette inspiration, there are plenty of tools online for discovering colors that go great together. They’re intended for graphic designers or interior decorators, but they’re great for putting together a wedding palette as well. There are some tools that allow you to experiment from scratch by combining random colors while others come with preset themes to help you coordinate. With a little trial-and-error, your wedding color scheme will look fantastic.

Brides: 5 Dont’s for the Wedding Day

Bride Fighting with GroomOkay, ladies, it’s go-time. You’ve spent months planning, and it’s finally time to go say those vows and party the night away. Before you put on the dress and say the “I do,” though, we’ve got a few more words of advice for you to help your wedding be the best that it can be. Specifically, we want you to avoid some common pitfalls that can really bring down the mood. Here are five things you shouldn’t do on your wedding day.

Don’t Obsess about Details

You made the plans. You hired the wedding planner or you chose a solid maid of honor. Now it’s time to let go and let your delegates take care of all the last little issues. Not only should you not have to call a late photographer or arrange for a new wedding cake, you shouldn’t even know that those problems happened until they’re solved. It may be hard to relinquish control after you’ve done all the planning, but you’ve got to try if you’re going to be in the proper headspace to enjoy the day.

Don’t Fight with Your New Groom

Yikes. We wish we didn’t have to say it, but we’ve seen it happen too many times. Somehow, all the stress of the planning finally finds a way out and leads to an argument, right there at the ceremony. Of course, your groom can avoid a fight by not checking out the bridesmaids or being late to the ceremony. But you can keep things on the level by not neglecting him during the reception. Make sure you check in and have some one-on-one time just to enjoy each other’s company, even if you have to sneak off to a broom closet.

Don’t Get Hammered at the Reception

Look, we know your reception is a party. And you’ve definitely earned it. And with an open bar, you’re definitely capable of getting as many drinks in you as you can hold. But it’s worth it to practice moderation; you don’t want one of the few memories of the night to be throwing up in the ladies’ bathroom. Nurse your drinks and keep a good buzz going, but alternate with cups of water so you don’t get several cocktails circling waiting to land.

Don’t Get Dirty on the Dance Floor

A wedding reception is that weird party where all your best club-hopping friends and your parents, in-laws, and long-lost relatives are in attendance. Keep that in mind when it’s time to drop it like it’s hot. Definitely get the dance floor moving and rock the party, but try not to do anything that will make Aunt Ethel have to dig into her purse for her heart pills. Even if it’s your new hubby you’re twerking on, save it for the hotel room later.

Don’t Forget to Hug Your Parents

As big as this day is for you, we promise it’s bigger for your parents. You’re their little girl; in some ways, when they look at you, they still see that five-year-old who skinned her knee riding her bike. As you’re sitting at the wedding party’s table in your awesome dress, they’re realizing that you’re going to go start a family of your own. So take some time to show them love and respect, and let them know you’ll always need them around.

And above all else, don’t think of the wedding as the end. The credits aren’t going to roll; now you get to have a marriage, and that’s both the challenging and the really awesome part. Here’s hoping your marriage lasts a lifetime.

Bouquet Toss Alternatives

Bouquet TossThe bride’s bouquet toss. That magical moment where you get to throw the most expensive bouquet of flowers you’ve ever carried, only to watch it get torn apart by your single friends. Or, if you’re near the last of the bunch, to have it be picked up off the ground by the flower girl, leading to uncomfortable laughter all around. Sure, it’s a wedding tradition. But if you want to break with tradition, there are plenty of new ideas to take the place of the flower toss. Using bouquet toss alternatives has grown to be very popular recently, and here are a few examples:

Anniversary Dance

Instead of singling out the people who aren’t married yet, on alternative is to have a dance that honors the couple who has been married the longest. Have your DJ or a member of the bridal party call all the married couples to the dance floor. As the song plays, ask people who have been married under a year to leave the floor, then under 5 years, etc. Have a shower of confetti or balloons ready for the couple who has been married the longest. It’s a great way to celebrate love on your big day.

Piñata

Slake your guests’ lust for destruction on something that won’t be a keepsake to put in your wedding album. Fill a heart-shaped piñata (or something fun and different, if it suits your theme) with candy and treats and let the adults and children whack away. Even better, have one for adults full of PLASTIC bottles of booze or individually-wrapped shots, and one for the kids full of candy or small toys.

Gift Card

Attach a gift card to a bouquet of paper flowers, then invite ALL of the women onto the dance floor, not just the singletons. You can still have a tussle for the prize, but instead of a moment of embarrassment, the winner gets $15 at Starbucks or Barnes & Nobles or what have you.

Flower Fortunes

Take paper flowers with wire stems and tie slips of paper to them. On the papers you can write fortunes, jokes, love advice, song lyrics, whatever seems like the most fun. Then gather all the ladies in attendance on the dance floor and toss the whole bundle. They’ll come apart in the air so everyone can pick one up. Then take turns reading them and let the guests take the flowers home as a keepsake which makes them a great alternative.

Throw Something Else

If you really want to toss something, pick something else that’s more throwable and save your bouquet. We’ve seen brides throw a bouquet of paper flowers, a playground ball, even a stuffed animal. Or you can go for a classic fake-out– instead of the bouquet, throw a paper bag full of confetti or glitter.

The traditional tossing of the bouquet made more sense when people were all getting married earlier, and the most important goal of any woman was to land a man. These days, the pressure to get married isn’t as significant, and many couples would rather not single out the unwed. These alternative ideas will bring fun to your wedding reception without making anyone feel bad or wasting a beautiful bouquet.