Lighting sparklers is a task that many of us have done before. Perhaps you’ve lit them for a backyard 4th of July party; or just out when you’re camping with friends. However, it can get a lot trickier when you plan to use them at a wedding. Typically, there is a lot of commotion and excitement at weddings, and that creates a bunch of new challenges. Fortunately, there are some simple steps you can take to ensure a smooth process and wonderful experience. Here is everything you need to know about how to light sparklers at a wedding.

Basic Steps of How to Light Sparklers at a Wedding

Fortunately, the basic steps to lighting sparklers are exactly the same for weddings. However, I’ll take a moment to refresh your memory before moving onto wedding-specific tips and methods. Here are the overall basics.

  1. Location choice is everything. Choose an area free from obstructions and sheltered from wind.
  2. Use a device with a reliable flame such as a lighter or torch. Items like matches work, but only if you are lighting 1 at a time.
  3. Hold the handle end of your sparkler firmly in one hand and the lighter in your opposite hand. Reach the hand that is holding the sparkler out away from your body. Be careful to hold it away from all people and objects at all times.
  4. Use the lighter to light the tip. It may take a moment, but you’ll know once you have it lit.
  5. Maintain a safe distance from your body for the duration of the performance. Once completed, be sure to properly discard of the spent remains.
  6. If lighting more than one at a time, take extra care. The initial discharge of several at once can be unpredictable. When possible, it is safest to light only one at a time.

Best Device for Lighting Sparklers at a Wedding

There are several different ignition sources out there that work to light sparklers. However, there are factors that make certain choices better than others for a wedding. Here is a breakdown of each way to light them to make your decision easier.


Image of a Torch Lighter Igniting SparklersBy and large, torches are typically accepted as the most efficient way to light sparklers at weddings. Additionally, there are several varieties available on the market. Typically, you will see people using propane torches with a large tank attached. However, you can get much smaller butane sparkler torches that create a flame that is just as large and hot. No matter which type you choose, they are windproof and provide the best conditions for getting it done quickly.


Lighters are one of the easiest and most cost-effective ways to get the job done. They are very affordable, and you can find them at nearly every store. Additionally, there are several types available from handheld versions to lighters designed for barbecue grills; even windproof lighters. However, if you want to know how to light sparklers at a wedding efficiently, lighters are not the best method. Unfortunately, the flame is much too small to light several of them at once.

Furthermore, they overheat after about 30 seconds; so you’ll have quite a bit of time investment getting over a hundred of them lit. Of course, you could do a lot worse than choosing a lighter as your ignition source. However, there are also better methods as I’ll outline in the sections below.


Candles are a bit more unorthodox than other methods, but they actually work quite well. You can easily light several sparklers at once; primarily due to the stationary design of the base. Several people can gather around a stationary candle at once to light their tips. However, windy conditions and lack of convenience hinders their viability. I suggest candles as an option only if you are planning a small event with fewer than 50 guests.


Matches are a very popular choice for couples, but sadly it is for all the wrong reasons. Custom matchbooks look lovely on your tables. However, lighting sparklers with matches is problematic and cumbersome to say the least. If all goes well, you may be able to light 2 of them with each match. Unfortunately, that is far too slow to be a viable option for most activities at a wedding. As beautiful as they look, I would avoid matches at all costs.

Use Other Sparklers

Image of a Groom Using a Sparkler to Light Other SparklersAnother unorthodox concept is to “jump start” other tips after lighting the first one. Surprisingly, sparklers burn very hot and can instantaneously ignite anything near the tip. Typically, you’ll need to sacrifice a few of them by the time you have a few hundred lit at once. However, it’s a simple way to use an ordinary lighter but receive all the benefits of a much hotter ignition source.

Electronic Ignition

Skipping the open flame all together is another option for couples. With the right equipment, you can ignite your sparklers with a small electric charge instead. Unfortunately, the equipment is typically very expensive; making it cost-prohibitive for the average consumer. Additionally, this method is better suited for sparkling centerpieces rather than activities that involve your guests holding them. Between the high price and lack of versatility, it’s not an option most people should seriously consider.

Best Way to Light Sparklers for Each Wedding Activity

Knowing which device to use is only part of the battle; you also need to determine the best method for your activity. For instance, guests casually lighting them at their own pace won’t need a large flame to do it. Conversely, a send-off line requires several sparklers to be lit at once; so you need something very large to do it. Here is a quick breakdown of how to light sparklers at a wedding based on your chosen activity.

Wedding Exits

If you know how to perform a sparkler send-off, then you already know that everyone needs to get lit as quickly as possible. Since speed is critical, using a torch is the only viable option that I encourage. There is simply no substitute for their speed and reliability.

Favors, Photos, and Casual Use

Many couples place their sparklers on the tables as a wedding favor for their guests. The intent is for them to be used in photos and other casual moments throughout the celebration. Since only one or two will be lit at a time, it’s okay to use attractive items like custom matches in this scenario. However, I still suggest handheld butane lighters since they are easier to work with.

Sparkling Centerpieces

Image of a Sparkling Centerpiece with Lit SparklersIf you want to do something really big, consider having sparkling centerpieces on your tables. The concept is to have each centerpiece ignite remotely for a spectacular effect. For this purpose, an electronic ignition system is always the best choice. However, as I mentioned, they are extremely expensive. So, make some calls to local rental shops to see if there is one to be had. If you can get a fair rental price, a sparkling centerpiece may be within your budget.

How to Properly Dispose of Used Sparklers

Of course, knowing how to light sparklers at a wedding is great; but it’s also important to dispose of them properly, too. Once discharged, they can remain hot for several minutes after they’ve completed; so you need a plan to be safe. Luckily, properly disposing of your used sparklers is a pretty simple process.

Ideally, I always suggest a large bucket of water for guests to toss them in at the end of your activity. This is the best way to make sure they are 100% extinguished. However, any metal receptacle should contain a fire if one were to occur. Additionally, a bucket of sand does a great job if water is not a viable option.

How to Stay Safe When Lighting Sparklers at a Wedding

Safety is important when you are lighting your sparklers. Obviously, using them in the first place presents a tiny amount of risk. However, the risk is highest when you are in the process of getting them lit. Fortunately, there are a few simple things you can do to ensure the process is safe and efficient.

First, make sure to test out your ignition method ahead of time. That means actively using your lighter, torch, or matches a few times to get the hang of it. Additionally, you should do a few “dry runs” so you have the process down pat before the real moment arrives. Lastly, make sure you have water and fire extinguishers on hand, as well as follow all wedding sparkler safety guidelines. By preparing for the worst, you can enjoy the best part of your wedding in a safe and stress-free manner.