Confetti is a word derived from the Italian word for confectionary and was used to describe the sweetmeats – sugar-coated grain and nuts. In present-day Italy confetti means sugared almonds and dragees (almond-shaped but filled with chocolate). The throwing of rice or grains over couples as a symbol of fertility also dates back to pagan times. It has been replaced by tiny pieces of coloured paper.
So what confetti do I choose?
Metallic confetti is die-cut and available in a variety of shapes, including stars, hearts and “just married” messages. This is perfect when you want to follow a theme – you’ll be able to find some for a birthday party, a graduation, or general congratulations.
The most popular, unsurprisingly, are the classics: stars, hearts and bells in gold, translucent and silver. However, its poor aerodynamics and sharp corners means that metallic confetti isn’t great for throwing. Instead, it looks fabulous sprinkled lightly across tables or spilling out of invitations, but we would advise you to avoid using outdoors. Rather, it can give a glamorous edge to tables, for any colour theme and is ideal for using as an accent colour.
Bear in mind that you’ll only be able to pick it up with a vacuum cleaner, so avoid using it outdoors.
If you’re thinking about traditional paper confetti, choose between delicate tissue hearts or traditional wedding shapes in pretty pastels. The modern, shaped stuff can be disappointing, often including rather crumpled horseshoes and unidentifiable objects, and proving tricky to throw.
The traditional wedding confetti looks great, with pretty pastel shades and classic wedding shapes – an old favourite that is always popular!
Bear in mind that many venues do not encourage the throwing of confetti outdoors, as it then has to be swept up later. So ensure you check with your venue first.
Rose petals have become hugely fashionable, providing a natural, biodegradable charm. Freeze-dried petals are great for tables and throwing, but due to their nature can be brittle. Preserved petals look amazing on tables and are specially treated so that they look and feel fresh offering a softer, more natural finish, and are also available in handbag-size for guests.
Alternatively, have a go at making your own – simply hang a bunch of roses upside down, and let them dry for a week or two. Don’t prepare them too early, as the petals can discolour; also note that lighter coloured petals will darken and brown, so go for reds or very dark pinks.
Rose petals look lovely when presented in a wicker basket or rustic milk can from which guests can grab a handful, or you can fill our confetti cones for each guest. You can also use petals to sprinkle over a cake, or create stunning table decoration.
TOP TIP: Alternatively, use fabric petals. As well as being inexpensive, they can be amazingly realistic, and work well on cakes (but not in drinks). Fabric petals can also be used on fabrics and table cloths without tearing as easily as real petals. They are available in a range of colours, and have matching topiary centrepieces available.
Other flower petals
Also popular are delicate hydrangea or delphinium petals, which you can buy online. The hydrangea petals look beautiful on table settings or when thrown and are specially treated to keep them soft, so they look and feel fresh, and are also available in handbag-size for guests. The majority of English delphinium petals are grown on a farm in Worcestershire, where all the petals are hand-picked and dried. Their colours are beautifully preserved, with vibrant pinks, lilac and cream, and they are great for throwing outside, and look lovely on cakes.
Generally, venues are happier for real petals to be thrown outside.
Bubbles make a great confetti substitute, and can look very effective for photos. Bubble bottles come in a wide range of styles, from simple coloured bubble bottle, to cake or champagne-bottle shapes. They’re perfect for children at weddings too!
Rice comes in and out of popularity, and it has the benefit of both being a stylish classic and being very affordable – just buy it in your local supermarket. But note that you shouldn’t throw it outside, as it can kill birds that feed on it.
These make for popular decorations, although they are not really suited to throwing. Feathers can be used to decorate tables, cakes, favours and napkins and the slightest waft of air will cause them to drift around atmospherically.
Some fun ways of distributing confetti include confetti guns or flutterfettis – deceptively elegant silver tubes, about 30 cm long and filled with pieces of tissue paper. You can also try novelty confetti bursters, or classics like party poppers, fun snaps and old-fashioned foil squawkers, or for an evening, try indoor sparklers for a dramatic effect.
TOP TIP: If you’re looking purely for table decoration, then gems are a must! They’re very popular, available in a range of colours, and add a touch of chic and elegance to your table settings in an instant.
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