Confetti – history and tips for the best photographs

A guide to awesome confetti pictures

bride and groom confetti ceremonyWho loves a history lesson? Oooh me! Me!

Even better, a history of words! “Yeah”, said everyone, followed by rapturous applause.

Confetti – what’s that all about then? Before I begin, check out my work; I am based in London.

It breaks down like this. Have you ever been to a wedding and seen sugar coated almonds? They’re related to confetti in name only. Both of them trace their name back to the Latin word concifere, which basically translates to ‘compose, confect or make’. Now then, the word confit is used to describe the nuts we referred to earlier – this is also used in French, confit or comfit, normally duck…aaaaaand i’m hungry. The singular in Italian is confetto, confetti for plural. Concifere, comfit, confetto, confetti – that reads like a fun poem.

The edible confetti – sugared almonds, fennel and caraway seeds are expensive (or were expensive in them there olden days), and so were reserved for the wealthy.

So what are us poor folk to do? Enter J & E Bella and Toulouse Lautrec et voila – in 1894, paper confetti was born. Here’s the advert for it, lovely isn’t it?

toulouse lautrec confetti padvertThis I would dare say, is a win for modern brides, because if roman tradition had continued, you’d still be having wheat cake crumbled over your head.

Well there’s the history lesson over, here’s how to get the best confetti photographs on your day.

Now then – my work is documentary in style, so there is an element of chance. What I like to do, is rig the game in my favour.

How do we do that?

Check you can actually have confetti in the first place.

Some venues have banned confetti outright, check if you are allowed it!

Exit the church/ceremony room and hide!

Why? When the ceremony is over, everyone wants to congratulate and hug you – which is lovely. BUT! This can turn into a receiving line of sorts and it can also mean it takes about half an hour for everyone to exit the building. If you’re running to a schedule, then this time is valuable and you’ll probably feel the knock on effects later.

Exit building, hide to let everyone out, sneak back in. I’ll organise everyone into two rows, you appear at the top and walk down the middle to rapturous applause.

Always go biodegradable

It’s 2019 and I’m a big lover of trees. So much so that I donate a percentage of your fees to a charity that plants trees. It’s time we all took responsibility and make positive changes.
A really cheap and easy way to facilitate this is to use leaves. You can either collect them in autumn, dry them out and crunch the up. Or use stencil cutters to make fun shapes. Environmentally friendly and fun times making it.

Giving it out

Make sure that the confetti is in containers right next to the door. That way, when the bridesmaids and groomsmen exit (who are typically the first ones out behind you) they can pick it up and start handing it out.

How much do we need?

Loads and loads and loads. Often there’s not enough, one hundred guests equals one hundred handfuls. Plus you want the pictures to be at there best, you want to make sure there’s a good cloud of fun coming your way.

Big or small confetti?

It doesn’t really matter to me, but it might to you.
It will go in your hair
It will go down your dress
Does that bother you? If so, bigger is best.

Our venue won’t let us have confetti

Those gits! How could they! Did you tell them about the history!? Unbelievable.

Ok fair enough, most places have there reasons, but they can’t ban our fun.
Go for bubbles instead. How about a sword arch? No? Mexican wave?
I’d recommend you make up for it later, get some confetti canons for the dance floor.

no confetti allowed

Cones or handful?

Cones make it easier to portion out – but be warned, boys are more likely to throw the whole cone. This can be hilarious, I am all for this.
Handful = more accuracy, you might get it dumped on your head, or smushed in your face, but who cares, it’s all fun.

Be in the moment

Weddings are fun and the day does fly by, make sure your brain isn’t somewhere else otherwise you must just miss all the good bits.


The only way to increase your chances of having an amazing confetti shot is to stand still. Let me tell you why.

When you walk down the tunnel of guests, they throw the confetti at you. It doesn’t matter how often you say ‘throw it in the air, not at them’, you will still get some people throwing it directly at you. This means you have a high chance of it going in your eyes or mouth. If you outright don’t care, then that’s cool, but if you really wanted a happy smiley confetti shot, then the traditional tunnel isn’t the way to go. You could well end up with a shot of you both flinching – it could be funny, but again, I believe in forewarned is best.

Let’s say you do want to increase your odds of a really happy smiley confetti shot. The best way to do it is at the bottom of say, a set of stairs, where everyone is around you and they throw it in your general direction and it goes everywhere…not directly into your eyeballs and mouth.

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