Ask a wedding photographer: are there eco-friendly alternatives to confetti?

I’ve been a wedding photographer for about 20 years now, and in that time I’ve become something of an expert not just on wedding photography, but on weddings in general! I find that couples often end up asking me for advice, on everything from wedding photography, to general wedding trends, and hints and tips!

I’ve often tried to offer advice in this blog, and I’ve now decided to start a series of blogs called “Ask a wedding photographer…”, which aim to answer some of the questions I get asked most frequently. A lot of them relate to wedding photography, but some are just about weddings in general. Hopefully you find it helpful 🙂 And remember, I’m always happy to chat if you have any questions about your big day.

confetti alternative bubbles

Today I‘m answering a question which is coming up more and more frequently, as we all become more eco-conscious:

Is there an eco-friendly alternative to confetti?

Aside from being unsustainable, confetti can be a pain to clean up when all the guests have gone, which is why many wedding venues are no longer allowing couples to use it for their big day. However, as a wedding photographer I love a confetti shot, and I know brides and grooms do too, so I’ve put a lot of effort into researching eco-friendly alternatives so the confetti shot can live on!

The tradition of throwing wedding confetti is said to have originated during the middle ages in Northern Italy and has been around in the UK since Pagan times. Before the paper confetti that we know today, there were flowers, petals, grains or rice thrown at the happy couple, to bestow prosperity and fertility. So actually, there are plenty of sustainable examples there already! Let’s take a look at how we can give these traditional eco-friendly options a modern-day twist…

Dried flower confetti

If you’re looking for a biodegradable option for your confetti, then dried flower confetti may be the answer. Plus, you can choose from a huge choice of the dried blooms, which means you can coordinate your confetti with your colour scheme. And, as an added bonus, they’ll smell lovely too!

Wedding photographer’s top tip:

Remember to let your guests know in advance that they won’t need to bring along their own confetti: you can explain that you’re providing a biodegradable option for everyone to use for the big confetti shot!

Olive leaves

As a wedding photographer, I’ve noticed a trend recently for greenery and leaves used in wedding venue decoration: think eucalyptus stems and elegant olive branches. Couples are opting to keep things ‘natural’ more and more these days, so it stands to reason that there is a confetti option which ties in with this trend.

Similar to dried flowers, you can opt for olive and chamomile leaves as a great biodegradable alternative to confetti. As well as being more eco-friendly, these dried leaves will look minimalist and classy. 

Keep it traditional with rice

Rice has been used as an alternative to confetti for centuries. A symbol of fertility and prosperity, why not sprinkle some tradition on your confetti shot: not only might rice bring you good luck, but you’ll be using a sustainable alternative too.

Bird seed confetti

I love the idea of this one! If your venue is in a lovely rural setting (as many of the venues in Cheshire and North Wales are), why not feed the birds while you’re at it?!

Bird seed confetti is a relatively new addition to the wedding scene, and it’s pretty, kind to the environment (and our feathered friends!), and sure to be a talking point amongst your guests too!


If you’re looking for a no-mess option that doesn’t leave your photo with all your guests blowing bubbles will look fantastic: it’s an opportunity for some really eye-catching and unique wedding photography.

Don’t worry: you won’t need to buy kids bubbles in brightly-coloured bottles which will ruin your wedding aesthetics! Luckily, there are now aesthetically-pleasing options available specifically for weddings, in cute little white bottles with heart-shaped lids.

And as a bonus, they’re sure to keep children and adults alike entertained.

Or for something totally different…

If you want to move away from the traditional confetti shot and go for something totally different, how about a photo with a smoke bomb? Eye-catching and unique, smoke bomb wedding photography is a way of injecting the colour that traditional confetti brings.

Wedding photographer’s top tip:

If being eco-conscious is important to you, then remember to source smoke bombs which are made with biodegradable materials. There are now smoke-bomb manufacturers who prioritise the health of consumers and the environment, so it’s worth shopping around. 

How much confetti do you need at a wedding?

Whatever sustainable confetti alternative you choose, you may be wondering how much you’ll need. It really depends on the number of guests you invite, but you should aim to have enough for your guests to have one handful of confetti. As a point of measurement, there are around 10 handfuls in a litre.

Confetti shots are a fabulous opportunity to capture fun, colour, and joy, whatever type of confetti you use. As a wedding photographer, my personal opinion is that if you’re going for a confetti shot, go big! The best confetti shots capture the happy couple in a tsunami of colourful confetti: less is certainly not more in this case! So if in doubt, order a little more.

Confetti at Wedding


Wedding photographer in Cheshire and North Wales

If you’d like to discuss your wedding plans, I would love to chat. I’m a wedding photographer in Cheshire, Chester and North Wales, but I work further afield as well. Drop me a line for more information.