If you’re considering using sparklers for your wedding exit, you’re not alone. When I decided to use sparklers for our grand exit at my wedding in place of a more traditional item, there were very few places that I found to give me guidance or inspiration. Not very many couples were using sparklers at their wedding at the time, so all I could really find were a few photos of a grand exit being performed while the guests were holding lit sparklers. It took me hours of planning to come up with a strategy and game plan to make sure that everything went just right, but the good news is that we had a wonderful experience in the end.
When I decided to start a business that sells wedding sparklers, I made a personal vow that I would make the process as simple for couples to follow as possible so they didn’t have to endure the same struggles that I went through. With that in mind, I’ve created this definitive guide to using sparklers for your grand exit to eliminate any mysticism or confusion and help you get back to planning the rest of your wedding.
What is a Wedding Exit?
Though most people are familiar with the concept of a wedding exit, I feel that running through the basics will be helpful for those who are just being introduced to the concept. Though wedding exits go by many names including a send-off line, a grand exit, or a farewell line, they all mean the exact same thing.
If you’ve ever seen a movie that has the classic wedding scene where the bride and groom exit a chapel with music playing, doves flying away, and guests tossing rice or birdseed into the air as they make their way to a car adorned with a “just married” sign and tin cans dragging behind it, then you know the most sensationalized version that there is. But in reality, a wedding exit is usually much simpler than how they are portrayed in the movies and only involves one or two of the things that I mentioned above.
Choosing the Right Sparklers for your Exit
Now that you’ve decided to have a grand exit at your wedding and that you’re going to use sparklers during it, you need to choose the right sparklers for your needs. There are a few different sizes of wedding sparklers available, and since you’re probably not an expert on sparklers in general, knowing which size to choose can seem a bit overwhelming. Fortunately, it essentially breaks down to how many guests you will have at your wedding and how long you want the sparklers to burn.
The average wedding these days will have 250 or more guests in attendance, and 36 inch sparklers are perfect for large weddings. Since they burn for nearly four minutes, they give you plenty of time to make your way through your exit line without having to feel like you’re rushed. Keep in mind that you need to account for the time it takes for everyone to get their sparklers lit and make your way down the whole exit line, and 36 inch wedding sparklers will give you plenty of time to accomplish both.
Some couples prefer to have smaller and more intimate weddings, and 36 inch sparklers can be a bit of overkill in those situations. If you’re only planning to invite 150 guests or less to your big day, 20 inch sparklers are ideal for smaller weddings. Since there are fewer people trying to light their sparklers and the exit line will be much shorter in length, their one and a half minute burn time should be more than ample for that type of scenario. I don’t recommend choosing a smaller size wedding sparkler than 20 inches regardless of how many guests will be attending your wedding because they will usually burn up before you start walking down the exit line.
Where to Have Your Wedding Exit
Choosing the location for your wedding exit is a very important step, and all too often it is considered an afterthought until the day of your wedding. Some venues will only allow couples to use sparklers in certain designated areas, and that can make your decision a whole lot easier. Other venues will be more flexible with where you can have your wedding exit with sparklers, and that’s when more consideration is in order.
The most common location to hold a wedding exit is at the main entrance of your ceremony location. If you say your vows in a chapel, this would be right outside of the front doors. However, many couples have their ceremony at the same venue as their reception, other applicable places would be in the parking lot or in an open nearby field. The main goal is to do it in an area that is free of obstructions or safety hazards, so make sure you remember that your guests will be holding an item that is on fire in their hands before you make a final selection.
Coordinating Your Guests and Getting Them in Position
Once you have a location picked out, you need to plan out where everyone is going to be positioned. Typically, you create two rows of guests separated by an aisle where the bride and groom will walk down the exit line. Make sure you keep the two lines separated by at least eight feet or so you can comfortably walk down the center without needing to worry about bumping into the lit wedding sparklers that the guests will be holding in the air.
It’s also a good idea to have a person delegated to be in charge of your wedding exit. Their job will be to get everyone in position, hand out the wedding sparklers, and coordinate when everyone start to light them so everything is in sync. You may also want to have a certain order of people along your route; usually your wedding party and immediate family positioned at the beginning of the exit line so you can greet them first.
Lighting the Sparklers for your Wedding Exit
One of the most important parts to get right when using sparklers for your wedding exit line is getting them all lit in a timely fashion. The moment that the first sparkler is lit, the clock is ticking before they start to fizzle out. You need to have plenty of time to make your way down the exit line, and every second that it takes to get all of the sparklers lit eats into your timeline.
The two most efficient ways to light several wedding sparklers in a hurry are candles and blowtorches. The large open flames will allow several people to light their sparklers at the same time so you can make quick work of it and make your way down the line as soon as possible. Other ignition sources such as matches or handheld lighters are very time-consuming and inefficient, so they should be avoided at all cost. Your delegated person in charge of the wedding exit should help your guests get the sparklers for your wedding lit so the fun can began as quickly as possible.
Basic Safety Guidelines
Safety should always be your top priority when using sparklers for your wedding exit, and a grand exit can be a recipe for disaster if you don’t properly prepare ahead of time. Always make sure you have at least one fire extinguisher on hand just in case, and having one at both the front and back of the exit line is ideal. Also, you need to make sure you have a place for your guests to safely dispose of their used sparklers after your exit is complete. I suggest a few large buckets of water so you can make sure every sparkler is completely extinguished.
It’s also imperative that you have first aid supplies on hand in the event of an injury. A proper kit will include items such as bandages and burn ointment in case someone has an accident and needs immediate treatment. Lastly, you want to make sure that you have your wedding exit between your ceremony and your reception; you definitely don’t want to serve drinks to your guests before they have to be responsible and the sparklers for your wedding safely.
A Quick Recap
Since all of this may be a lot to take in at once, here’s a quick recap of how pull off your wedding exit using sparklers:
- Make sure you choose the right size sparklers for your wedding exit; I suggest either 20 inch sparklers or 36 inch sparklers depending on the size of your wedding.
- Choose a location for your wedding exit that is convenient and makes sense.
- Have a plan in place for positioning your guests for your wedding exit.
- Provide plenty of ignition sources with which your guests can light their sparklers. Candles and torches work the best, and you should avoid matches or handheld lighters.
- Exercise good judgment and take safety precautions. Make sure you have a fire extinguisher on hand and that you provide a place to safely dispose of the used wedding sparklers.
And two more tips:
- Place one person in charge of the sparklers and ignition devices for the wedding. This person has the responsibility of making sure the sparklers and materials are ready and in the right place for the lighting.
- Inform your wedding photographer well in advance of your plans with the sparklers. Your photographer may have some ideas for particular photos that you’ll want to consider.
I hope that this definitive guide to using sparklers for your wedding exit will take the guesswork out of it for your big day. These tips are not only based on my own personal experiences, but also from the trials and errors of countless couples who have used sparklers during their wedding exits as well. I want to personally wish you the best of luck on all of your wedding planning endeavors, and I hope I could help to make your wedding exit a sparkling success!