Birds & Brides

What’s a Wedding Without Birds?

You know, as months go, there are so many good things associated with June it’s hard to list them all. Some highlights: June opens summer, it kicks off outdoor concert series, it busts kids outta school and June gets a LOT of people married.

I was a June bride, so was my daughter, Laura. As a matter of fact, for years, June was the most popular wedding month. In 2017-18, October and September took over first and second places, respectively, but June still ‘showed’ in 3rd. No matter its ranking, June just can’t get away from its Wedding image, which, is what got me thinking about brides…and birds.

Have you ever noticed how many bird-related accouterments are part of the wedding experience?!

From invitations to floral decorations, napkins to wedding cakes, dove launches to bridesmaid dresses (YES, I’ve seen them with my own burning eyes) birds can seem almost as much a part of the bridal event as The Happy Couple.

Somehow, birds wheedle their way into the hearts of wedding planners in all manner of sneakiness. That’s the connection I was going to explore in this blog.

But then, I happened onto this old bird/bride lore involving uncooked rice and exploding birds. I couldn’t resist bringing it up again because the imagery it conjures is just absurdly magnificent.

‘Til [Birds’] Death Do Us Part?

Sometime around 2000, it was suggested that uncooked rice should no longer be slung at brides and grooms as they flee the scene of their wedding. The tradition used uncooked rice as a symbol for rain, which, is thought to bring prosperity and good fortune; a lovely gesture by any measure.

The STORY, though, started when someone-heard-someone-say-something-that-may-have-seen-about-rice-killing-birds, blah, blah, blah… The way the story spread reminds me of the old saying that a lie can travel halfway around the world while the truth is still putting its shoes on.

The core of the tale is that after the wedding celebrants departed, regional birds would swoop in and eat the rice-rain that had fallen out of wedding go-ers hair and clothes and onto the ground. Now, nobody had a problem with that until one day someone heard that several clergy people had noticed a suspicious number of exploded bird carcasses were littering the grounds the day after weddings. They opined that the rice expanded in the little birds’ tummies and, well, Ka-BOOM! Songbird confetti all over the church lawn.

It sounds like a Twilight Zone episode and, in fact, turned out to be just as fake. Not fake enough, though, to stop the Connecticut State Legislature from introducing a bill in 1985 called, “An Act Prohibiting the Use of Uncooked Rice at Nuptial Affairs.” (Okay, I’m already laughing just on the basis of the TITLE). The bill introduced by Rep. Mae S. Schmidle (STOP it!  I mean, come ON, if you were writing a story about a fictional woman who introduces a bill in the state legislature to eradicate post-nuptial bird explosions, what would be a more on the nose name for that character than ‘Mae S. Schmidle?’) Anyway, Mae’s bill provided that “no person shall throw, fling, cast or hurl any uncooked rice at any time during the celebration of any marriage.” I. LOVE. THIS. STORY. SO. MUCH.

To their credit, the Connecticut legislature let the bill die, but not before it became fodder for a lot of ‘news’ feeds, the kind that brightens MY day any day. I mean, seriously, I’d pay good money for this kind of ‘news’ on the regular.

Moral of the story: Birds are best viewed in your backyard…not at a wedding, so stow away your rice and purchase a Bird & Breakfast bird feeder, which comes with a tray of birdseed already, to attract birds to your home so you don’t have to worry about exploding birds…if that ever does become a thing.

Alright, I know I said more about birds than brides, so if you feel gypped, here’s a video that will make you smile. It’s a surprise my husband and I gave our daughter and son-in-law on their wedding day:















Author: Nathan Odell

Published: June 12, 2019