Sparkler exits sound like a great idea, right? Well, they CAN be, if you make sure they are executed correctly! We’ve photographed SO many sparkler exits over the years and have seen some successful ones and some “not so successful” ones … and we’ve also seen some other awesome ideas that can be used instead of sparklers! So I hope this post will answer some of your questions and help make sure your grand exit is the perfect way to end your special day!
Tip Number 1: Make sure your venue allows sparkler exits!
– Not all venues allow them, so make sure yours does. If they don’t, don’t worry, I’ll give you some ideas for great alternatives later in this post!
Tip Number 2: Allow plenty of time to get them organized!
– 10 to 15 minutes should be given to get all of your guests outside and lined up with sparklers in hand. This takes longer than you think because most of the time, guests linger after that last song to tell each other or the couple goodbye. Have your DJ / band play the last song 10 – 15 minutes before you want your exit and then ask them to announce to your guests to proceed outside for the grand exit. They may even want to give a heads up 2-3 songs before the last song, just so everyone knows its coming! You’ll also want to make sure your photographer is going to stay, even if its a few minutes past their time. If our coverage goes through the end of the reception, we will stay until your exit is over, even if it means a few extra minutes. Not everyone may do this, however!
Tip Number 3: Buy the LONG sparklers (and more than you think you’ll need)!
– Sparklers burn quickly and give off a lot of smoke. If you use the short ones, many of them will be burned out long before you finish making your way through the line. This leaves you with no sparkle and lots of smoke!
Tip Number 4: Dedicate someone to organize it!
– Some venues have their employees help with handing out and lighting the sparklers, but this isn’t always the case. Make sure you speak with your venue to see what their policy is. You will also want to speak with your photographer to see how much they participate in organizing your exit. We always stand outside and help guide guests into place as well as help make sure they aren’t lighting the sparklers until we are ready. The organizer needs to make sure the guests understand that they are NOT to start lighting until they are told to do so. Again, as they are being handed out, make sure EVERYONE knows that they are not to be lit until the photographer or organizer says to begin! You can even have your band or DJ announce this as well!
Tip Number 5: Have multiple ways to light them!
– Having one small lighter to light 50+ sparklers just isn’t going to work. Have several of the long lighters ready and again, someone to help light them. At the last wedding where we had a sparkler exit, a fireman went to his truck and brought back a small torch – he said this was the safest way to light them – then he went down the line and lit them one by one. You obviously don’t want someone inexperienced using a blow torch around sticks of fire, but again, speak with your venue to see how they handle this!
Tip Number 6: Have a back up plan!
– What happens if it rains and your dreams of a sparkler exit can’t be fulfilled? Again, check out the other options at the end of the article!
Tip Number 7: Think outside of the box!
– Grand exits don’t have to mean sparklers! Our favorite alternative happens to be glow sticks! We have also photographed bubbles, glowing balloons, confetti, streamers, ribbons tied to sticks and spirit poms on sticks! We’ve even had someone do a Second Line with a brass band out of their reception! Think about the time of day it will be when your reception is over and what will show up best in photos! You definitely want this part of your day documented as well, so you’ll also want to make sure your photography coverage lasts through the end of the reception (our 7 hours almost always does!)
**Update!!** One of my brides, Megan (she and her husband Devin and featured below in the photo that looks like rice), messaged to let me know that she used an eco-friendly, biodegradable confetti for their exit. They choose it because it looked like a traditional rice exit. The one I found, Ecofetti, comes in different colors and already packaged so its easy for your guests to tear it open and toss. What a great option, thank you for the tip Megan!
Tip Number 8: Take your time and soak it all in!
– These are the last moments of your wedding day! You’ve done so much planning and have looked forward to this day for so long – make these moments last as long as you can! Take your time walking through the line of guests, don’t run – I know its tempting, especially when you’re surrounded by fire! But walk slowly, look around at each guest, look at each other and be sure to pause halfway down the line to kiss, dance together or just gaze at each other. These will make for some awesome photos and you’ll be able to soak in all of the joy and love that is surrounding you! Also, make sure to watch your step – we’ve had a couple of brides stumble down a step that they forgot was there – yikes!
I hope this article has given you a lot to think about when it comes to grand exits! Having great exit photos rounds out your wedding day photography coverage and makes a great ending to albums and slideshows!