After celebrating your special day and you’ve been breaking awesome moves on the dance floor, and then all of a sudden the party comes to a grinding holt when you get the ‘bar is closing in 15 minutes’. What better way to wind down your evening celebrations and exit with a bang! You guessed it, a sparkler exit!
In the last few years the Sparkler Exit has become increasingly popular to top of a big wedding day and with that a few learning curves. Yes their are some possible things that can go wrong, in fact their is an element of danger. Remember we are talking about mixing drunk people and fire!
Among wedding groups, stories of people getting burnt or clothing catching on fire have circulated. Usually this is a consequence of someone having the no so bright idea of trying to light a handful of sparklers at once – WARNING Don’t Light More Than 1 Sparkler At A Time! because yes they can and most likely will ignite into a burst of flames, burning the person and persons near them.
Now I don’t want to warning you off using sparklers or having a sparkler exit, but it is about keeping yourselves and your guests safe, especially when people couldn’t be intoxicated and not able to make the best decisions for themselves under the circumstances. There are a few tips that I want to share with you about handling sparklers, what kind of sparklers to use and a few general safety tips to ensure you have a safe and successful Sparkler Exit send off into married life.
Tip #1. Get the okay to use sparklers from your venue before your big day. Not all venues allow the use of sparklers. If they don’t its usually for a good reason, like fire hazard and risk to the natural environment and wildlife. Once you get the approval from your venue, please remember that sparklers are ignited by a flame so they should only ever be used outdoors.
Tip #2. Scheduling Your Sparkler Exit Into Your Timeline. Ensure you have your sparkler exit listed on your timeline so the venue and relevant suppliers such as your photographer are aware of this happening. As the sparkler exit is timed for when the newlyweds depart the reception, its generally scheduled in for the last 15 minutes before you and your guests need to have left the reception. The 15 minutes allows time for the remaining guests to line up, light the sparklers and for the newlyweds to walk under the trail of sparklers and guests to start making their exit from the venue.
Tip #3. Display Your Sparklers. Have the sparklers out on display somewhere in the reception room as a teaser for your guests. This way it lets your guests know there will be a sparkler exit and hopefully no-one leaves early so they can be apart of the sparkler exit. It helps to have a chalkboard in the venue with a timeline of key events – when dinner will be served, speeches, cake cutting, first dance and the sparkler exit.
Tip #4. Plan Ahead And Have Plenty Of Lighters On Hand. Having plenty of lighters on hand on the night will ensure everyone has a chance to light the sparklers at once and not having to be waiting around for a lighter. Sparklers burn quickly, so the more lighters the quicker everyone will have theirs lit at the same time.
Tip #5. What Are The Best Sparklers To Use? Im so glad you asked. The most important part of a successful wedding sparkler exit is to use the long sparklers, not the short ones. The short ones burn way too quickly and will run out before all the guests sparklers are lit or you’ve made it past the first few guests.
Tip #6. Have Enough Sparklers For Every Guest (And A Few Extras). Its inevitable that some guests will leave early, and some guests might grab an extra few for themselves, so its important to make sure you cater for every guests and then some.
Tip #7. Show Time. When it’s time exit the venue or the time has come for the sparkler exit, have your MC take charge and announce what is to happen. It’s best to talk to him about the plans before the wedding day so when the time comes he/she will know what their role is. Remember, many guests will be intoxicated and therefore not necessarily be listening and will need direction.
The MC should ask everyone to make their way to the pre-determined area for where the sparkler exit is taking place. The front of the venue or driveways are a great spot. Ask the guests to form two lines, even on each side, but do not light the sparkers until everyone is lined up outside and ready. Have a wide enough aisle for the bride and groom to walk down comfortably with room either side so they aren’t cramped.
If the guests start lighting the sparklers before everyone is ready, their sparklers will be almost out by the time the last of the sparklers are lit. I’ve seen many times where a portion of the guests get the fire-bug and start lighting their sparklers too soon! Remember people have been drinking, are tired and not necessarily paying attention, so its important to have the MC and the venue organiser on board to help organise the lighting of the sparklers.
As the photographer, Im generally in position at the end and doing a few practice shots to get my camera settings right ready for the bride and groom.
Tip #8. Lighting Of The Sparklers. Once the two lines have formed, have a couple of people hand the lighters around to everyone, and then begin lighting the sparklers together. Once one sparkler is lit, guests can then use the lit sparkler to light other sparkers as well as passing around lighters. WARNING : Don’t light a bunch of sparklers together. Holding several sparklers together and lighting them, may cause them to burst into flame and you could potentially burn yourself!
Tip #9. Bride & Groom Get Ready To Exit. The bride and groom must be ready to leave before the sparklers are lit because once they reach the end of the aisle, they literally jump in the car and leave. Make sure you’ve said your goodbyes to your immediate family.
Tip #10. Ready Set Go. Instruct guests to hold the sparkler up high forming like an arch. You will be walking down a path with fire & sparks above you and remember the bride is wearing a fabric dress with tonnes of flammable hair spray, and while its unlikely, but just one spark could be dangerous. Having a wide tunnel so you are not walking under the sparklers is best. Guests who have been drinking most of the day tend to wave the sparklers around in people’s face and safety is not the first thing on their mind so a wide aisle is essential for everybody’s safety apart from looking better in photos.
Tip #11. Don’t run, Walk. Yes I said walk. It’s a natural reaction to run down an aisle of sparklers, but to ensure you enjoy it, walking is better plus its so much better for photos if you take your time.
Tip #12. They Say Make An Entrance, But I Say Make An Exit. Make sure when you get to near the end, about a metre or two before reaching the very end of the aisle so there are still sparklers in the foreground of the photo, stop for a kiss and look at each other and soak in the moment, this makes for great photos. And if the sparklers are still lit, run back and do it again!
Tip #13. Last Farewell. Have your parents at the end of the aisle, that way they can be the last people to send you off and give them a farewell hug and kiss goodbye.
Tip #14. Just Have Fun. The sparkler exit is the last thing you will do on your wedding day, and if you haven’t got the hint by now, just have fun with it and enjoy the last moments of the day.
All photographs are the property of and copyrighted to Deb Boots. Please do not reproduce or share without written consent unless you are the couple or family and friends of the couple.
If you are a wedding supplier involved in this wedding and wish to use any of these images for the purposes of advertising your business this is classified as commercial use and is subject to licensing (read about commercial use here). I’m more than happy for vendors to use images, but please ask permission first! Please contact Deb Boots here