Planning The Perfect Sparkler Grand Exit

The sparkler grand exit!
We love them, we really do, but there’s a lot of planning involved to make this send off a success. We’ve seen our fair share of send offs, some of which have been amazing and others have just fallen flat. Here is a list of Cool Sparkler Co's photography tips and tricks that can help you nail the perfect wedding grand exit.
married couple at wedding kissing behind a heart made by a sparkler
*Please confirm with your venue that a sparkler send off is allowed and make sure you have brought a bucket to dispose of the used sparklers after everything is said and done. We definitely want to stay safe during this whole process.
1. Invest in good sparklers – The 8" standard 4th of July sparklers will not do the trick. They burn for no more than 30 seconds, and that’s not enough time. When couples use these sparklers, the problem is that the guests who light theirs first at the front of the line have burnt out by the time the back of the line is sparkling. So you don’t get the desired effect of lots of glowing sparklers at once. Instead, make sure to buy these long burning sparklers designed especially for weddings. We suggest no shorter then the 12" sparklers, this will give everyone in line a chance to light up and start sparkling before the couple makes their way through the crowd. If you are using the 12" sparklers, make sure you get 2 per guest so when their first sparkler is running out they can easily light the second one to keep the magic going in case the photographer needs more time. That being said, the longer the sparkler the more time everyone has to light up their sparklers and for the photographer to get the shot, meaning you will need less sparklers per guest.  The 36" sparklers are perfect for that.
2. Have plenty of lighters – Please also make sure there’s enough fire to light these puppies! One lighter isn’t going to cut it, in fact 3 lighters won’t make this an easy process. Grab a pack of lighters, say 5 or 6 or more if you can find or borrow them. This way, lighters can be passed out throughout the line allowing the process of lighting everyone’s sparklers a lot smoother and faster. Obviously more lighters the better and try lighting multiple sparklers at a time.
married couple waiting to make their wedding grand exit through a sparkler tunnel made by guests
3. Put someone in charge – If you have a planner then you’re golden. Make sure your photographer and planner are discussing everything. Let’s face it, most of this effort for the big send off is to grab that iconic photo of it! So if your photographer isn’t able to get the best shot, you might be disappointed. Have your photographer go over the best location, timing and lighting situation with the planner or person in charge (Maid of Honor, sibling, or trusted friend) so everything is in place and ready for the perfect moment. When it comes time to actually make this send off happen, you’ll have 20 to 100 guests standing around looking for direction. A send off WILL NOT HAPPEN unless you have someone in charge of organizing it. So, make sure someone is in charge of telling guests where to stand, passing out sparklers, handing out lighters, and helping to light. This is how we feel the send off should be organized:
Guests line up in two lines on either side of the exit walkway
Bride and Groom are waiting and ready for the green light to make their exit
Photographers get into place and have all their settings correct before the bride and groom come out
Once everyone is set up THEN the sparklers are passed out to guests (if guests have sparklers in hand before the line up is in place, they will start to light them and it will be too early)
Light the sparklers!
Wait for photographers to tell the couple to make their exit, then go for it!
4. Prepare the guests – Make sure you include an outline of when events are happening like the entrance, dinner, toasts, first dance, cake cutting, etc. and make sure to include the big send off too! This way, your guests won’t run off before the send off happens. A sign is one way of doing this, but it’s also a good idea to make sure your DJ announces the sparkler send off clearly and gives instructions. Have the DJ announce to the entire reception that following the last dance of the evening, all guests are invited to make their way to the send off location, get in line, and wait for instruction to send the Bride and Groom off in style. This way, guests who might have missed the “send off” information sign will still know what’s going on.
5. Walk, do not run! – Make your grand exit GRAND and make the most of it. If you sprint past your guests it’s over all too quickly and your photographer will have time for maybe 1 or 2 shots. Frankly, that’s not enough. So, before they make their exit remind the couple “walk, do not run”. Have them grab the bouquet, hold hands and with big smiles make their exit. Walking past their family and friends as they cheer them on. Cheer back at them, wave, smile at each other, and of course smile at the photographer once or twice as well. The photographer be working with low light and slow shutter speeds, they will need the couple to move slowly in order to make these settings work to their advantage.
6. KISS HER! – Please, for crying out loud, make it a point to go in for a big kiss as you exit! It’s what everyone is hoping to see, and it makes for one heck of a photo. Make it a long one, make it a good one, and don’t be afraid to do a little dip. Heck, don’t be afraid to give the crowd a few good smooches. In fact, make it a plan to stop halfway down the aisle for a good long kiss, then once you reach the end do it again! As long as those sparklers are burning, we’re taking photos. So use up all of that time and stretch out the grand exit.
newly married couple kissing under sparklers held by guests
If you have any tips or tricks, let us know, we are always up for hearing how different everyone does things. Also, do not forget to tag us on social media.