5 Kinder Alternative to Releasing Doves at Your Wedding

Wedding party spraying champagne

Photo: Bella Lafayette/The Bertrands Photography

Are you thinking about releasing glorious white doves at your wedding ceremony? 

It’s certainly a beautiful sight to see. It makes for great photos. And it’s a guaranteed way to get some oohs and aahs from your guests. 

But there’s something you should know first …

Those doves don’t have any survival skills! They may look pretty as they fly away, but the reality is, they’re probably not going to survive very long.

What?!

It’s sad, but it’s true.

Don’t worry, though. There are plenty of other things you can do at your wedding that won’t turn you into an accidental bird killer! 

Here are five kinder alternatives to releasing doves at your wedding.

Why Do People Release Doves at Weddings, Anyway?

The release of doves at weddings is a symbol of peace and unity. The dove release usually takes place at the end of the ceremony, after the vows have been said and the couple is united as one.

At this point, your wedding ceremony is basically over, so we’re totally on board with skipping this part altogether. Just wrap up the ceremony and get to the cocktail hour and reception so you can eat, dance, and get your drink on!

But, if you have your heart set on releasing doves, there are some other alternatives. (And no, this list does not include releasing white homing pigeons or butterflies. Please don’t release any living things on your wedding day!)

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Color Powder Cannons

Group of bridesmaids setting off colored power cannonsPhoto: A Sweet Focus

Want to get some one-of-a-kind photos on your big day? Shoot off some color powder cannons!

You’ve probably seen a few pink or blue color cannons at gender reveal parties over the years. But they come in all sorts of colors, so you can choose hues to match your wedding theme or do a celebratory rainbow effect.

No matter which color you choose, color powder can add some real beauty to your big day — as long as your wedding ceremony is outdoors. It’s pretty safe to assume that an indoor wedding venue won’t let you shoot these off inside!

The happy couple can do the honors, or you can have your bridesmaids and groomsmen get in on the fun. Wedding doves may be pretty, but color powder cannons make for a much more exciting moment than a couple of white birds flying off into the clouds.

***Just make sure you follow all safety precautions! Color powder cannons can cause damage if not used in the proper manner and conditions.***

Beach Balls

Wedding party throwing beach balls up into the airPhoto: Bella NYC

Getting married on the beach? A beach ball toss is a great way to celebrate your union with a fun and playful attitude.

Inflatable beach balls come in all sorts of colors and patterns. You can pick some that match your wedding decorations or go for a classic rainbow-colored beach ball toss.

There are also plenty of stores online that will customize beach balls for you. Make them even more personal by selecting your own colors or adding your names and wedding date. 

What’s great about a beach ball toss is that even the littlest members of your bridal party can get in on the fun. Plus, if your reception is taking place outdoors, the kids can play with them while the adults are dancing through the night.

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Sparklers

Bride and groom walking down stairs with bridesmaids and groomsmen holding sparklers on each sidePhoto: Brooke Erin Photography

Pure white doves may symbolize peace and new beginnings, but we think sparklers are a much better option for your special day.

Sparklers are inexpensive, easy to find, and safe to use. They can be a little hard to see in the daytime, but if you’re getting married in the evening or after sunset, they’re a perfect alternative to a pair of doves.

Another reason we love sparklers is that they work well with any wedding theme. Whether you’re having a lavish, elegant affair, a rustic backyard wedding, or a beach reception, pass out sparklers to every guest and light up the night! It’s the perfect way to add a bit of glitz and glamour to your big day.

Bonus: Sparklers also look great in photos!

Rose Petals

Bride and groom kissing with rose petals falling on themPhoto: Ruffled

The white dove release is traditional (albeit overdone). So if you want to keep your wedding vibe classic, rose petals are a great alternative to wedding doves.

Time your rose petal toss for that moment after you’ve said your “I do’s” as you lean in for that first kiss. We suggest having your tallest bridesmaids and groomsmen do the toss. That way, your photog will be able to capture some great shots of the petals showering over the wedding couple.

If you want to continue the rose petal toss a bit longer, tuck a basket of rose petals beneath each seat that lines your aisle. Your wedding coordinator or officiant can instruct your guests to shower you with more petals as you make your exit hand in hand!

See also: The 9 Essential Bride and Groom Pictures That Every Wedding Needs

Champagne Spray

Groom popping champagne bottle with bride and bridal party standing next to and behind himPhoto: Bella Birmingham/Be Light Photography

Special occasions practically require champagne, and there’s no better way to kick off a special event than with a champagne spray!

Once you’re married, it’s time to party, so why not start your celebration by spraying one or two bottles of champagne into the air?

Just be wary of where you spray it. The last thing you want is a wet wedding dress or a soaked tuxedo, especially if you have photos to take when the ceremony ends. 

Don’t want to run the risk of getting wet? Opt for cannons that spray confetti instead!

Conclusion

Forget about releasing flying doves at your wedding; the real love birds of the day are you and your spouse to be!

The wedding dove release has been done to death (pun intended!) so make your day one full of new traditions … traditions that you can be proud of … traditions that won’t contribute to the harm of any living animals.

And if for some reason you feel the need to have those symbolic doves on your big day, there are some other ways to do it.

Order dove swizzle sticks for your cocktails. Have your baker add sugar doves to your wedding cake. DIY dove-shaped table placards. This way, you can have an endless number of doves at your wedding, and none of them will have to suffer any harm.

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