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Your Guide to Releasing Butterflies at Wedding Celebrations

A butterfly release at a wedding is a romantic experience and many brides-to-be would like to have this on their special day. We hold butterflies in high esteem because they are graceful and elegant, and their lives symbolize rebirth. Butterflies are a popular part of weddings all over the world and this phenomenon can be traced back to Native American rituals. In this brief guide, we will take a closer look at how you can make releasing butterflies at wedding celebrations an important aspect of your special event.

Reasons for Releasing Butterflies at Wedding Celebrations?

Butterfly release at a weddingMany well-known wedding traditions are falling out of favor and couples are looking to more modern and contemporary rituals to express their love. A butterfly release is a perfect example of this change because they represent a fresh start.

As a bonus, butterflies add an extra touch of drama and color to an already special day. During a butterfly release at a wedding, the happy news of the marriage is spread far and wide with the butterflies.

Do Different Butterflies Symbolize Different Things?

Yes, there are many butterfly species with a wide variety of colors and patterns, and these have come to have specific meanings in many cultures as follows:

  • White: These butterflies represent purity, a spiritual transformation, good luck, peace, and a message from a loved one that has passed.
  • Black: This is a color of renewal, the darkness before light arrives and death.
  • Yellow: A bright color that’s regarded as a sign of a good summer, creativity, and unbridled joy.
  • Red: This can be an omen of impending danger, the presence of witches and supernatural creatures.
  • Green: This is a good omen, and this color is often linked to love and wealth.
  • Blue: This is a good omen of joy, it can represent luck, nobility, and honor.

Monarch Butterfly: Monarch butterflies are a popular option because they represent trust, endurance and strength which are all valuable traits for a long and happy marriage.

When you choose butterflies make sure they are native to your area and then you can be confident that they will have a natural life after your wedding. They may even add to the local butterfly population and in that way, you’re helping the local environment too.

When Are Butterflies Released During a Wedding Ceremony?

The butterfly release usually occurs at the end of the ceremony with the marriage pronouncement or the kiss. This is a photogenic experience, and the photographers need to be ready to capture the full glory of the moment. The release is kind, and it can help to boost the local butterfly numbers.

Releasing Butterflies at Wedding CelebrationsThe guests can take part in the release or just the bride and groom can release the butterflies. In some cases, the minister will hand the couple a white box that contains the butterflies that are ready for release.

After the release the butterflies will take a short first flight, they may flutter around the area and even land on nearby objects which provides some excellent photographic opportunities.

What Is Usually Said When Releasing the Butterflies?

There are more “traditional” things for a minister to say, such as: “Today we Celebrate Love in a very special way with the release of butterflies to signify a new beginning for ________ and ________”.

Another option would be a Native American take for the gathered congregation, such as: “The butterfly symbolizes new beginnings, freedom, and happiness. For just a moment, think silently of what you would wish for ________ and ________”.

There are many other variations on these themes and the minister or wedding planner will have a lot of resources to help you find the right format to meet your needs.

Is There a Particular Time of Year For Releasing Butterflies At Wedding Celebrations?

A butterfly release at a wedding should take place in warmer temperatures of at least 16º and this makes a winter wedding release an impossibility. It’s also a bad idea to release butterflies during heavy rainfall because they can be injured.

What Time of The Day Is Best to Release the Butterflies?

The butterfly release should be timed for one hour before sunset to give the butterflies ample time to find some nectar to eat and some shelter before nightfall. The best release period is between 10am and an hour before sunset.

Where Can I Order Butterflies to Release at My Wedding?

It’s easy to find an ethical company that breeds butterflies for a release. Only species that are well suited to a wedding release are used and they are well adapted to the local environment. All butterflies will be certified to be free from pathogens to protect other butterflies living in the release area. Choosing an ethical company that uses certified butterflies is a must if you want your wedding to benefit and not harm the environment.

How Will the Butterflies Be Shipped?

The supplier should ship the live butterflies in a specially designed container to keep them calm, happy, and comfortable during the journey. The packaging should protect their wings and they must be fed before they are dispatched to ensure that they are in a resting state.

Caring For the Butterflies When They Arrive

If you plan to transfer the butterflies from their delivery envelopes to a display cage or release box, they will need to be fed. Simply add some melon pieces or cotton balls soaked with passion fruit Gatorade to the environment will give them the sugar that they need. A light misting with plain water on a damp towel or the sides of the cage or box will hydrate the butterflies.

How to Go About Releasing Butterflies at Wedding Events

There are three common butterfly release methods:

1.    A Display Cage

There are many display cage designs, the butterflies can be transferred to the cage gently by opening the envelopes and urging them onto the cage sides. The display cage must be large enough to accommodate all the butterflies ordered or you may need to release some.


After the transfer is complete, the butterflies must be fed and watered and placed in a warm and sunny area to spread their wings and relax. But don’t place the cage in direct sunlight or they may dehydrate quickly and perish.

2.    A Mass Release Box

How to go about releasing butterflies at wedding eventOpen the envelopes inside the release box and place some paper towels on the bottom to give the butterflies a secure point that they can hang onto. Then place one corner of the paper towel over the box side and place another paper towel with nectar on the bottom. Place another damp paper towel as a water source next to the nectar.


As you work, keep the box lid closed as far as possible to prevent a premature flight. This transfer will work better in a cool and dark room with a thin transparent cloth to cover the box opening. If a butterfly does escape, it will fly to the brightest area, and it can be recaptured if you cup your hand gently around it.


Once all the butterflies are in the box, close the lid and leave the butterflies to drink, eat and rest before they are released. The box should be stored in a warm area, but don’t place it in direct sunlight to avoid overheating problems.

3.    Release Envelopes

Many people release the butterflies from the shipping envelopes. Place them in a basket, pass them out and the guests can release the butterflies. These envelopes are easy to open and if the butterflies are warm, they will take flight almost immediately. If they are a little colder, it may take a few minutes before they feel compelled to fly.

Is There a Special Location Where the Butterflies Should Be Released?

Release the butterflies from the shipping envelopes

The butterfly release at a wedding should take place in a sheltered area out of the wind or they will fly away too quickly. A sunny location with flowers or a garden nearby is ideal, and the first flight is usually a short one to reach some food.

Butterflies will always gravitate to the nearest bright objects, and this may include bright wedding outfits, flower arrangements, the bouquet and other photogenic locations.

Releasing Butterflies at Wedding Celebrations- In Conclusion

When you take part in a butterfly release at a wedding it’s a magical experience that symbolizes a new start and a rebirth. By their nature, every release is totally unique, there is no way to predict what the butterflies will do, and this adds to the fun. Every guest will be smiling and the graceful first flights of the butterflies are sure to excite young and older attendees alike.


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