Chica and Jo
...simplifying life
Chica and Jo
...simplifying life
Chica and Jo



Ribbons and bells make the perfect wedding send-off

by: Chica

When my husband and I were planning our wedding, we eventually had to decide what our guests would use as a send-off when we exited the church after the ceremony. Everyone knows that the traditional tossing of rice is no longer environmentally friendly, so we had to consider alternatives. At first, every idea we thought of had some problem associated with it… birdseed attracts too many birds, rose petals could stain the walkway, and I’d seen enough bubble showers to last me a lifetime. I wanted something fun and different. Something I’d never seen before. Finally I came up with the perfect idea for us — ribbons and bells on little sticks that the guests could wave overhead.

I started with some simple 1/4″ square wooden dowels. I cut them into 6″ lengths and drilled a tiny hole through the end of each one. I chose square dowels rather than round because it’s a lot easier to drill into a flat surface than a round one! I then spray-painted all the sticks with silver metallic paint (our wedding colors were silver and lavender).

The next step was to cut a bunch of 3-foot lengths of ribbon. I chose a very thin ribbon, and used two pieces of ribbon for each stick. Depending on your budget, you could also use personalized ribbon printed with the bride and groom’s names. I also bought a bunch of tiny 1/2″ jingle bells. With everything gathered together, it was time to begin assembly.

Wedding sendoff - ribbons and bells

For each stick, I took two pieces of ribbon and fed them through the hole I had drilled. Because I had drilled the holes pretty small and was using a soft satin ribbon, I had to thread the ribbon onto a large-eyed upholstery needle to get it through the hole. I pulled the ribbons through halfway and then threaded a bell onto one end. I slid the bell down to the stick and then tied all four ends of ribbon together tightly in a double knot. The end result was a pile of cute little ribbon sticks that were ready for our guests.

Wedding sendoff - ribbons and bellsWedding sendoff - ribbons and bells

When they waved the sticks in their hands the bells created a lovely sound and the ribbons created a beautiful flourish overhead as my husband and I exited the church.

Wedding sendoff - ribbons and bellsWedding sendoff - ribbons and bells

These sticks could serve double duty at the reception, as well. Many couples like to have little “kissing bells” at their tables for guests to ring, signaling that it’s time for the bride and groom to kiss. These little bells will do just the trick!

PicShare BoxesP.S. Are you thinking of putting disposable cameras on your reception tables? Save money and just collect all those digital photos your guests took at your wedding instead! Sign up for an online photo sharing account, then create little info cards to remind your guests where to upload their pics. Then display those cards right on the tables in our camera-shaped PicShare Boxes! Learn more about them at

24 comments so far:

  • 1
    Pammya 04/29/2008 at 7:52 am

    That was a really awesome and unique idea. I wish I had known about this idea when I got married. I got married outside so I just stuck with the bubbles, but this was a better idea which served two purposes. Great idea!!!

  • 2
    Joanne 06/16/2009 at 10:13 am

    I’m duplicating this wonderful idea for my daughter’s best friend’s wedding. I was wondering how you handed them out – did someone hand them out personally or did you have them in a basket with a note for everyone to take one? And how would you also let everyone know at the reception to use these as kissing bells? I’d love your ideas.

  • 3
    Chica 06/16/2009 at 10:37 am

    Hi Joanne! I had two friends stand outside the church doors and hand the sticks out as the guests walked outside. By the time my husband and I came out, everyone was lined up and waving them, which I loved.

    To let guests know to use them as kissing bells, you could print little tags and tie them onto each stick. I’m afraid a tag might get in the way during the send-off, though, so maybe just put an extra stick on each table at the reception, and just tie the tags to those?

    I would love to see how your ribbon sticks come out, so please share a photo after the event if you can :)

  • 4
    Amber B 07/28/2009 at 9:57 pm

    I LOVE this idea! I am just tired of the same birdseed/bubbles and wanted something different. My wedding and reception are in the same building and if I make these, people can wave them around as we walk back down the aisle and then again when we leave! thank you so much for this! Did it take you very long to do?

  • 5
    Chica 07/29/2009 at 8:08 am

    Hi Amber. I’m so happy you like my idea and I’m sure it will be a wonderful addition to your wedding celebration. The sticks didn’t take very long to do, but that’s mostly because I got my family involved and we put them together in an assembly line :) We’d love to see what you create, so please come back and share with us!

  • 6
    Carol 08/05/2009 at 2:36 pm

    For my daughter’s wedding (July 25th) we made ribbon streamers also! The museum had a strict list of nos; rice, birdseed, petals, bubbles, confetti. So we brainstormed last fall & came up with the streamers. Her colors were pewter & hot pink. We used 8″ white lollipop sticks (craft store baking isle) & eyelet screws & lots of yards of ribbon in varying sizes 1/4″-3/4″ & colors of silver, hot pink, white, pewter. With 3 ribbons per stick & all different mixes of ribbon. Fun to make. It certainly made for a colorful exit on the steps of the museum. The bridesmaids passed out the streamers just prior to the bride & groom’s exit. I love the idea of the bells especially for the reception. There are several friends yet to marry & we will keep this idea in mind to change up the idea.

  • 7
    Chica 08/05/2009 at 2:43 pm

    That sounds wonderful, Carol! We’d love to see a photo if you want to upload one to our Flickr group.

  • 8
    Amber B 09/17/2009 at 5:46 am

    I’m not sure if these will show up, but here are the wands. Not many people were still there for the sendoff and I don’t have pictures of that yet. I decided against the bells (for time reasons) Thank you for the idea!

  • 9
    Chica 09/17/2009 at 7:27 am

    Amber, thanks so much for sharing your photos. They came out great! In case any of our readers aren’t able to view your Facebook links, I’ve also added them to our Flickr group here and here.

  • 10
    melody 12/11/2009 at 9:29 am

    This is a wonderful idea, I am going to suggest it to my daughter for her wedding this July

  • 11
    Chica 12/11/2009 at 9:40 am

    Thanks, melody! If she ends up doing them, we’d love to see how they come out.

  • 12
    Lauren 12/11/2009 at 1:16 pm

    I want this for my wedding!!… someday. lol. maybe in a few years. I’ll bookmark it for now though. :)

  • 13
    Lily 06/12/2010 at 11:17 am

    What a great idea i wish i had known about it when my daughter got married…

  • 14
    Maria 06/16/2010 at 4:08 pm

    I actually came up with the same idea for my own wedding not including the bows, then my bridesmaids and I did some research and stumbled upon this site I was very happy to see some one else had done this and decided to add bells to mine, My wedding is in September so I will share soon.

  • 15
    Chica 06/16/2010 at 4:51 pm

    Maria, great minds think alike! Can’t wait to see how yours come out :)

  • 16
    Kassie 10/07/2011 at 1:42 am

    Here are the ones I made…I used circular wooden dowels, eyelet screws, and curling ribbon!

  • 17
    Chica 10/07/2011 at 1:53 pm

    Those are very pretty, Kassie! Thanks so much for sharing the photos with everyone.

  • 18
    Sara 10/18/2011 at 10:04 am

    Chica – these are fabulous! I have a December wedding coming up and I am thinking about these for our send off. My fiance was wondering how loud they are? I believe his words were, “Ten of these might sound great, but 140 of them might be just noise.” I think it will sound fine since the bells are so small, but I was curious as to what you all thought. Thank you!!

  • 19
    Chica 10/18/2011 at 11:25 am

    Sara, I don’t think you need to worry. With all the talking and cheering from everyone during the sendoff, the bells won’t be too loud. In fact, I sort of wished they were a little louder when we used them at our wedding! A good way to check the loudness would be to grab a bunch of bags of bells in the store — roughly equivalent to how many you would be using on your sticks — and give them all a good shake at once. That’s about as loud as it will be during the sendoff. Hope that helps, and I’d love to see how your sticks come out if you decide to use them.

  • 20
    Sara 10/18/2011 at 12:53 pm

    Thanks! I’m not very crafty, so I hope they turn out ok! :)

  • 21
    Jasmine 08/19/2012 at 5:34 pm

    Chica do you do this for order? I would love to have these for my wedding in November

  • 22
    Chica 08/20/2012 at 6:44 am

    Sorry Jasmine, but we don’t make and sell these ribbon sticks.

  • 23
    Tammy 03/11/2014 at 9:26 pm

    I have made these for my daughters wedding. I have a little more simple way to assemble. I used 12i” wood dowell 3/16. Diameter. Took my cut ribbons( I cut longer than the stick) about 18″ . I then stacked my 3 ribbons up on the sticks lengthwise with a small amount sticking above end. I then used the clear small rubberbands(from hair accessory aisle) and wrap around the end. Several times. If you choose to add a bell you can just use a strong thread & stitch in to that area with the rubber band or use a thin ribbon depending on the size bell you use. Very quick to do..

  • 24
    Chica 03/12/2014 at 7:29 am

    Thanks for sharing your tip, Tammy!

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