The Sparkler Exit…a How-To Guide

Wedding Planning

You’ve seen those beautiful sparkler exit wedding photos all over Pinterest and whilst they look amazing and super fun, they do need a bit of planning before the day to ensure the best results! There’s a little more to it than just buying a few packets of sparklers and giving your best man a lighter, so I’m gonna give you all the info you need to help ensure your wedding sparkler photos are more woah than oh!

One of my brides recently asked for some advice on wedding sparklers so it got me thinking that it might be helpful to post here on my blog too – I’m going to answer all your wedding sparkler questions including what size or how long they should be, where to buy them, how much they cost, how long they burn for and how to light them. Excited? Let’s get started!

10 Tips for Awesome Wedding Sparkler Photos

  1. Get permission

First things first, ask your wedding venue! In all the excitement it can be easy to forget to ask but they all have their own rules and preferences about whether sparklers are allowed. Even if they allow sparklers, they might prefer them to happen in particular areas so it’s best to veer on the side of caution and check before the day.

2. How long should wedding sparklers be?

This is probably the most important thing of all! It might be tempting to save some dollar and opt for the shorter ones, but seriously, don’t! The short ones burn for no time at all which means by the time the last person has lit their sparkler, the first ones have gone out. If you’re wondering how long or what length wedding sparklers should be, I always recommend at least 18″ (or 45cm). These bad boys will burn for nearly two minutes compared to 30 seconds for the shorter 10″/25cm ones. Hands down, the easiest and best place to buy sparklers for your wedding is Amazon. How much do they cost? About £25 for 100 or so sparklers. You should also ensure you buy the warm burning ones, not the blue, and whilst we’re on the subject of buying your wedding sparklers, my advice (as with confetti) is to get buy more than you think you need! There’s always a couple of guests who excitedly light up their sparklers too soon…guaranteed!

3. Anyone got a light?

Take some time to consider how to light your wedding sparklers. Not many people smoke these days so don’t rely on guests having lighters. You can provide matches or, better still, lighters for your guests. For the best sparkler wedding photos, they need to be lit at the same time so I recommend a minimum of one lighter per 3 wedding guests but ideally one between two guests.

4. Safety First

I don’t want to be a Debbie Downer but it’s really, really important you consider the safety aspect – there have been more than just a few horror stories where wedding sparkler photos are concerned. Sparkler send offs can be very dangerous and it’s likely that your wedding guests will have been drinking. So with that in mind, the following should be taken into consideration

Sparklers should only be used in an open, outdoor space. There should be no wind and guests should be instructed to hold their sparklers up high away from clothing and hair. (The very nature of weddings means lots of highly flammable hairsprayed up-do’s and wafty clothes!)

Take off your veil. Chances are you’ll have ditched it long before the evening reception gets into full swing but if not, you should definitely take it off before doing your sparkler exit.

Guests should be in position before a single sparkler is lit

Do your research when buying wedding sparklers and don’t just buy the cheapest! Your wedding guests’ safety should be your highest priority so make sure you read the reviews before buying.

Make sure there’s a bucket of water or sand nearby. This is something to organise with your venue beforehand as if they are unable to provide one, you should arrange it yourselves. Get all your guests to pop their used sparklers in the bucket once they’ve finished

5. Helpers

So inevitably sparklers tend to happen around the time most wedding guests have had a few drinks and gather them for sparkler photos can be likened to herding cats. Designate a responsible person or two to help encourage guests to join in, hand out sparklers and get them lighted. I’m sure if you ask your wedding venue, they’ll be happy to jump in and help as well.

6. Think about the timings

Plan it into your timeline and don’t be afraid to ask your photographer for advice on the best time to do it. Take into account that it will take longer than you think to organise and if you want your photographer to capture it, you’ll need to ensure you do it before they finish or check their fee to stay a little later. The best time is 10-30 mins after sunset so this will vary with the time of year. You don’t want all your guests outside when the band is playing their best stuff and equally it’ll be impossible to coax your guests away from the buffet once it’s served. The easiest way to let everyone know it’s happening is to have your band or DJ announce it.

7. Take it slowly

So your guests are in place and the sparklers are lit…let’s do this!

But don’t run

No seriously!

Not only is it safer (given the large number of people waving fire around your wedding dress) but it’ll also result in more photos. If you bought those extra-long sparklers there’ll be plenty of time so there’s no need to panic and sprint like Mo Farah

8. Don’t forget your sparklers!

In all the excitement it can be easy to forget to grab a sparkler yourselves – make sure you include the two of you in your numbers when ordering. Not only does it look better in the photos but it’ll also add a little more light to your faces (us photographers are all about the light!)

9. Opt for a smaller crowd

If you’re planning a big wedding or if you like the sound of a sparkler photo but the thought of getting everyone organised gives you a headache then consider doing it with a smaller crowd. The photos can be just as effective with just your immediate family and bridal party

10. Enjoy it

Try not to look into the camera lens. I know that’s the natural thing to do when you’re walking towards it but your photos will be much more natural and fun if you look at your guests or each other. Enjoy the moment and pretend like your photographer isn’t even there. Play with your sparklers, and have fun! I love it when my couples stop for a kiss halfway, it always makes for an ace photo!

Sparkler Shopping List

You can go as fancy or as simple as you like with this. My advice would be to avoid the nicely packaged sparklers that come made up already with tags as a) they are more expensive and b) the sparklers are always too short. You can easily buy the larger sparklers and pretty them up with tags bought separately. You could even double them up as favours and put them on your place settings. Another option would be to display them in a metal bucket with a sign explaining what will happen and when. Or you can just have your groomsmen hand them out straight from the packets!

Here’s my handpicked selection of sparkler related paraphernalia…

If you’re still on the hunt for a wedding photographer and like what you see then I would love to hear from you.



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