If you’ve googled “wedding send off” you’ve seen these photos of the newlywed couple exiting their venue surrounded by their loved ones playing with fire and sparklers. They make for a GREAT photo opp and when done right, they’re a lot of fun.
photos by the energizer-bunny Daniel Moyer Photography – which, by the way, Hurricane Irene was blowing through at this point. Good stuff.
Ok. How to execute a wonderful, practically perfect sparkler send off at your wedding?
step 01 – purchasing the sparklers. You don’t necessarily have to buy the extra-long lasting sparklers that Amazon likes to call “Wedding Sparklers”. Unless you have a LOT (say 500) of guests, it’s not necessary. The standard ones will work fine (and be less expensive), but plan on getting 2-3 per guest. Guests like to hold one in each hand. Sometimes the drunken groomsmen get really creative, but I won’t go there.
step 02 – planning for the exit. You need candles and lots of them. You want everyone to light their sparkler simultaneously, right? One candle and counting on a few smokers with lighters won’t cut it. Typically, I line the walkway on both sides with candles from the reception (votives work great – not tea lights, those things never burn for 4 hours. Try more like 2). I try and space the candles about 2 feet apart as far out as I can go (depending on the number of guests). See below.
step 03 – informing your guests. At the end of the night, I recommend having your DJ or Emcee announce that you are planning a Grande Exit and to head to the door. (note: it will take at least 10+ minutes to get your guests out there and ready to go) Have someone hand out the sparklers when guests are exiting, preferably your coordinator. They should be telling each guest “Make sure you do not light it until we say ‘GO!’” or something along those lines. Basically, you don’t want the guests lighting up before you’re ready to exit.
step 04 – ready, set, go, enjoy. When you’re ready to exit (make sure you’ve arranged for someone to take any belongings you had or need with you), give your coordinator the thumbs up. They’ll yell “GO!” or “LIGHT THE SPARKLERS” or something, you get it – and then they need to move out of the way of any pictures. Once they give your guests the go-ahead, you can start making your way through. Unless you have a really long line of guests, I don’t recommend running or it’s going to be over quicker than you can enjoy it. Take your new man’s (or woman’s) hand and walk through a sea of sparkle being lit by your closest family and friends. NOTE: This is a VERY cool moment when you take in what is happening.
step 05 – the clean up. Once you are through, make sure your coordinator (or sparkler attendant) has an empty bucket (be smart: if they are distributed from a tin container, use the same now-empty tin container) to run through the line once the sparklers have extinguished. Advise the guests to place the dead sparkler there as opposed to throwing them on the ground or otherwise. Your venue will be VERY appreciative of this. If you’re doing this on private property, it will still be advisable in order to avoid that clean up the next day.
There you have it. Easy, right? And did I mention, it’s a lot easier when you have kick-butt coordinator on your team? I’m just saying.