Welcome to the first post in my new series of real advice to help you plan your wedding day! As a wedding photographer, I see every imaginable situation you might run into on your wedding day. Usually, if there is a snag in the plan for the day, it’s pretty minor, and could have been avoided with a little bit of help or pre-planning. That’s where my series will come in – to help you identify and plan for potential hiccups on your wedding day! I’m going to kick off the series with a popular trend in weddings: the sparkler exit.
How to Plan a Perfect Sparkler Exit for Your Wedding
The sparkler exit and send-off has become extremely popular over the past few years. I’ve seen dozens, and I can share with you what works, and what doesn’t. On the surface, it seems like a simple and fun idea; buy a few dozen sparklers, line up your guests, and your photographer can take beautiful photos. However, there are a few recommendations I can make to ensure that your sparkler exit is executed perfectly.
In my opinion, the most important thing you can do for a picture-perfect send-off, is have someone from the venue or your coordinator/planner help organize your guests at the end of your reception. Be sure to cover the plan with them in detail, as occasionally I will run into a planner who has never helped with a sparkler exit previously. By having someone in charge of lining up your guests and instructing them on when to light their sparklers, and what to do after they are burnt out, you are greatly increasing your chances for the perfect exit. Your coordinator will work alongside your photographer to make the whole process run smoothly.
Buy the Right Sparklers!
Another key, and possibly the second most important point of this post: buy the LONG sparklers. Tons of websites sell them specifically for weddings. There are many reasons I can think of why the longer sparklers are better, including they simply burn longer. The result is more time for your guests to all light their sparklers, and for you to make your exit. It’s also good to note that special sparklers tend to produce less smoke. I’ve seen couples use the typical sparklers you buy around Independence Day, and they burn fast and give off so much smoke, you can hardly see!
As you have your trusted coordinator or staff member line up your guests, be sure to tell them to not light them until they are given the “go”. It might seem like this is intuitive, but trust me when I say it isn’t. Ask your coordinator to not start lighting the sparklers until you are ready to make your exit, and you may want to ask staff to start lighting from both ends of your lines, especially if you have a lot of guests. I find that the long candle or grill style lighters work the best to get the lines started, and most of the guests will light their sparklers off the person beside them.
Speaking of lining up your guests, the best sparkler exit photos have a good amount of distance between the two lines. The wider apart your lines, the more room there is for you to (safely) exit. While making your exit down the “tunnel” of light created by your guests, take your time. Be sure to pause in the middle for a kiss, and when you reach the end, pose a moment for your photographer.
A Final, Important Note
Finally, safety first at all times. Following your exit, be sure that your coordinator or staff have a place to safely dispose of the extinguished sparklers. And if they see a guest behaving in an unsafe manner, they should immediately put a stop to it. Unfortunately, accidents do happen with sparkler exits, and sometimes they are severe. I have personally stepped in a few times when a guest has almost burned another guest, or even me. Also, be sure to have plenty of sand-filled buckets to dispose of the used sparklers. Safety, always!
A sparkler exit can be a lot of fun, and result in beautiful, memorable photographs. I hope these tips are helpful as you plan your special send-off! Here’s two of my favorite sparkler exit photos ever! You can see more from Elise and Alvin’s wedding day here.