When I was growing up. Sparklers were only really seen on Bonfire night. However, in America they have been used for wedding exits for years. This is where the bride and groom are leaving the wedding and their guests line up to give them a grand send off.
In this age of social media, wedding sparkler exits has become a frequent feature at weddings in the UK. The main difference is the newlyweds don’t really leave after the sparkler exit.
As a Nottingham wedding photographer, I have taken a lot of sparkler wedding photographs. So I would like to share with you some of my top wedding tips so you can be sure to get stunning sparkler photos. Not to mention have fun at the same time.
Use Long Sparklers
If you want some great sparkler wedding photographs then my biggest tip is to simply buy longer sparklers! Not all sparklers are equal. The longer 16″ or 18″ ones will last longer than the shorter 10″ sparklers. There isn’t a big price difference so I would definitely recommend buying the longer sparklers. I’m sure you’ll all agree with me that there’s nothing worse than the fireworks going off too early 😉
If a supplier is offering you sparklers. Be sure to ask them how long they are. I’ve seen some tiny 6″ ones and these were utterly useless. (ooer!). OK I’ll behave now! lol
Always buy more than you need. Just in case some do not light or guests light them too early. Any left overs can be just used afterwards.
The reason longer sparklers are preferred is because if you have a large number of guests. It will take time to get everyone in the right place and get the sparklers lit.
You can buy long sparklers here
Organising your Guests
On your wedding day, the last thing you want to do is to be organising everyone. You rightly should be concentrating on spending time with family and friends, not to mention enjoying yourselves.
I would recommend finding someone to organise this event on your behalf. That could be your venue coordinator, a trusted family member, someone from your wedding party or even your wedding photographer. If you ask a guest. I suggest it is someone you can trust won’t be drunk.
If you are planning the sparkler exit after your first dance song. You can ask your wedding DJ to announce it and stop the music. The person coordinating can then get everyone outside and ensure everyone is given a sparkler.
Drunk people and fireworks do not mix! Giving very drunk guests white hot sparklers and asking them to wave them around can be risky if the event is not managed correctly. So it is very important the organiser is not drunk themselves and someone responsible.
Keeping their Distance
The biggest mistake I see are guests who are all bunched up. The organiser should choose somewhere with plenty of space so guests can spread out. Liase with your wedding photographer to find a nice spot so your photos will also look great!
Hold them high!
Remind guests to hold their sparklers high. This is so no-one ends up with a sparkler in the face. If they are going to wave, they should do so gently. It’s a sparkler exit, not a duel!
Think of the Children
Not much keeps me up at night but I live in fear of a young child being hit in the face with a white hot sparkler. That is why if I am organising then I insist upon a responsible adult is with each young child. Someone who is able to make sure the child is safe and not drunk or waving a sparkler around themselves.
Please please make sure this happens at your wedding too.
Lighting the Sparklers
The biggest mistake I see when organising the sparklers is using disposable lighters. These are absolutely rubbish at lighting sparklers. They rarely work and often end up burning the guest using the lighter as they keep the flame on too long.
Instead I would recommend buying windproof jet flame lighters instead. These will not get blown out by wind and focus the heat far better than the ones above. You don’t need loads. Just 2-3 is probably enough. Once a few sparklers are lit. The guest can light others using their sparkler.
You can buy the Windproof lighters here
Putting the sparklers out
Once the fun is over, the easiest way to put the sparklers out is to have a couple of metal buckets at the entrance of the venue. You can fill these with water or sand.
Ask if your wedding venue can supply these. Some will insist you provide your own buckets.
Lastly, make sure the buckets are large enough to hold both the water/sand and sparklers. And they are tall enough not to fall over.
For obvious reasons, the buckets should be metal, not plastic!
What does the bride & groom do?
OK, so far it’s all been about logistics. But if it is your wedding day. What do you do?
Well the obvious thing is to have fun! Once your organiser has the guests well spaced out and holding their sparklers up high. Get your own sparklers lit, grab your spouse’s hand and take a slow walk through the tunnel!
Be sure to stop half way down and have a quick kiss with each other. This always makes a fantastic wedding photograph.
Once you reach the end. If there’s time, let your wedding photographer move past you, turn around and go again!
Alternative Sparkler Photographs
In this article I’ve mainly talked about the Sparkler exit but this is not the only type of wedding photograph that have become popular.
If your wedding photographer has the right expertise and equipment. He/she can use long exposure techniques combined with off camera flash to create some stunning wedding portraits.
This sort of photograph does take a little bit of time to set up. And not all photographers will have the skill to pull this off.
Instead if you either don’t have the time or just want something simpler. Check if your photographer can use an overlay. This is the quickest way to create a sparkler photograph. Is it cheating? Perhaps. But if the results are stunning. Do you care?