When preparing for our wedding (a little over a year ago), our priest and the people at our reception site both asked us not to throw rice. Their reasoning? It attracts tons of ants. Who knew!?!
I was at a wedding where the guest blew bubbles upon the couples announcement at the reception The bubble were all over the dance floor. Bad idea. Needless to say, the bride took a pretty nasty tumble. Fortunately, she was still able to dance the rest of the night away. I'm not sure how she felt the next day.
our priest is also enforcing the rice ban as the entrance to the church has steep stone steps which *apparently* would turn into some sort of death trap with a coating of slippery rice. That seems fair enough and I'm sure I'll find plenty of other ways to fall on my butt that day...
All legitimate reasons for not using rice. I read one site that quoted a priest as saying the tiny grains on his church's marble floors and steps would act like small ball bearings and create a walking hazard, especially for older guests.
When I lived in Boston, I had a problem with pigeons landing out on my deck, so being the respectable, ecological citizen I am, I placed pie tins of rice on my patio, hoping they would eat it and explode. It just attracted more pigeons!
When we did our wedding two years ago, we did bubbles outside as we were leaving. This way we didnt need to worry about sticky floors and for the children that were at the wedding, they got to take the leftover bubbles home with them.
We're having the bridesmaids hand out kazoos and noisemakers -- MUCH more fun in my book!
Just remembered the coolest wedding send-off I ever saw:
At each place setting, there was a pre-addressed, stamped post card. Guests were asked to add their own name and something they'd like to do for the couple for their first anniversary (make dinner, mow their lawn, house-sit during a trip, buy a bottle of champagne).
Just before the couple left, all of those cards were tied to helium ballons and released.
In the weeks and months that followed, the postcards began to arrive from all over the country, and later on, from places around the globe, some of them with comments from whoever had found them.
The guest who filled out the cards that returned were happy to fulfill their promises -- made for a WONDERFUL followup to the beautiful wedding.
rice isn't bad for birds, but balloons littering trees probably isn't so good for them and other animals.
How about instant mashed potatoes? The tiny flakes might dissolve and couldn't be too bad for birds.
All in all, the best reason not to use rice - it HURTS! Have you ever been pegged with a handful of uncooked rice? I remember getting beaned in the back of the head with a handful at a relatives wedding and boy did that ever sting. We went with rose petals because we thought they were pretty.... and painless...