Your wedding day is coming up and you’ve been scouring Pinterest looking at all the sparkler exit photos. Now you can’t stop thinking about what your exit will look like, hoping that it looks just as magical as what you’ve seen. Luckily I’ve photographed numerous weddings and know the best tips for creating the perfect magical sparkler exit.
It’s so much simpler than people may think and even just doing a couple extra things can really go a long way to creating an amazing result.
Double Up On Sparklers
I feel like you can probably get the gist of this one without too much of an explanation, but let’s talk about it anyways. The key to the perfect sparkler exit is lighting up the area with as many sparklers as possible. The more you have, the more magical and epic it will be. Especially since by the end of the night (when sparkler exits typically happen) there’s usually a much smaller group of people left that actually attended the whole wedding. Giving some people 2 sparklers instead of 1 makes your exit line look much larger than it might actually be.
Buy the Extra Long Sparklers
If anyone has ever used the short 4th of July sparklers you know just how fast they burn. Obviously that’s not totally ideal for a wedding send off. You want to have as much time as possible to experience this moment and capture all the pictures. Thank goodness they have extra long sparklers now!!
I always recommend a minimum of 90 second sparklers but if you can get even longer ones that is amazing. The longer the better! 😏 Having all this extra time will allow you to make sure you’re not rushing through this moment. You get to say goodbye to everyone and can even run through a couple different times to make sure you do it perfectly! (I’ll touch on this some more later.)
Don’t know where to find these sparklers?? Here’s a link to some 2 minute sparklers that I recommend to everyone! This company even has some that last 3.5 minutes 😱 if you’re looking for something even longer.
Find a Dark Open Area
One of my favorite tips for making a sparkler exit truly epic is contrast! Having a dark background will really make the light from the sparklers stand out. If you do the exit in an area that is already well lit, the light from the sparklers can blend in with the background.
So how can we accomplish this?? It definitely depends on your venue and surroundings. Some venues already have a dedicated area for their sparkler exits that could be perfect. If your venue suggests doing the exit right outside their doors, see if they would be willing to turn off the lights. If that’s not something that’s possible, parking lots of can be a great backup. Parking lots are usually dark enough and if there’s an open area where you can avoid seeing any cars in the background then it can be perfect.
The great thing about sparkler exits is that they really can be so simple. You don’t have to have a fancy backdrop or landscape to be epic. In fact, it’s usually better if you can’t see much of the background anyways. After the two of you, you want the sparklers to be the focus of the photos and eliminating all the background distractions can really help to achieve this.
Not Just for the Guests
Who was the person who made up the rule that your guests were the only ones allowed to hold sparklers?? I’d like to have a talk with them. A fun thing I’ve encouraged some couples to do is grab a couple sparklers for themselves and hold them while running through the aisle. Doing this can help make this moment so much more interactive and brings a little bit of creativity into the picture.
Avoid Mixing Color Temperatures
Things are about to get a little technical, but stay with me, it will all make sense in the end. You may have noticed before that different light gives off different colors. Tungsten is orange, cloudy skies are more blue, florescent lights are more green, and mid day light is usually neutral. That’s because light lives on a scale – on the cool side of the scale light looks more blue and on the warm side of the scale light looks more orange. These are called color temperatures and they are super important to consider when you are mixing lighting. The rule of thumb is that when you have different sources of light, all those sources should be the same color temperature. Doing this helps avoid casting any weird colors on people. Basically, you want things to look consistent.
So here’s where this applies to you. Many times people will want to go bold with sparkler exits and add other elements like fireworks or cold sparks. These can end up looking really cool, but it’s important if doing this to make sure all the color temperatures match. Sparklers are usually very similar to tungsten light – they give off a golden orange hue – so you’ll want to find fireworks that are around the same. If you do this, the whole photo will look beautifully illuminated and consistent; it will be easy to balance the photos and everyone will have perfect skin tones. If you don’t, you’re photographer could have a hard time making sure all areas of the photos match.
Keep the Aisle on the Smaller Side
Safety is always the #1 priority and we should absolutely be cautious with open flames, but sometimes guests are a little too cautious and this can affect the end result. Having a really wide aisle means your guests and the sparklers are going to be really far from you. So far that there’s a good chance they won’t actually get caught on camera. We all want you to have the best photos possible. Organizing everyone in a narrower aisle can bring a lot more sparklers into frame, creating more of depth in the image.
In my experience, 6 – 8 feet is usually a great distance for the size of the aisle. Your guests will feel close enough to be involved, the camera will capture everything, and you’ll have plenty of space to not worry about being set on fire. In the end, it’s usually my job to handle organizing everyone to their places, but it definitely will help you be more prepared to know this ahead of time. And if you’re reading this as a soon-to-be-guest, you can help the photographer and planners out by directing other guests into the right formation at your upcoming wedding event.
From a photography perspective, there are a lot of things to consider when creating the perfect sparkler exit photos. Cameras have a difficult time focusing in low light situations and when you add moving people into the mix things can get a bit iffy. But that’s no reason to worry. If your photographer is truly a professional they’ll be able to handle it with a breeze. However, one way that you can contribute to minimizing this issue is walking slooooowww.
No, I’m not suggesting you walk at the speed of a sloth, but taking your time down the aisle will have a few different benefits. I already mentioned the big one, but the second is that the moment will last longer. You’ll be able to look at the people cheering you on. Take in the moment of being surrounded by your loved ones. Look at your partner and be amazed with how much in love you two are. There’s no need to book it out of there and make it all go by in the blink of an eye. Similar to how I am always telling couples to slow down during their whole wedding day and really be present in the moment, this is no different. Your sparkler send off is definitely one of those moments you will want to take in to the fullest.
Do It Again!
So if you took my advice above and bought the extra long sparklers, you are ready to go for this one. Walk through the aisle multiple times. In most cases, by the time we actually get the sparkler send off most people have left the party. Now this really is not a problem, but something to consider is that the aisle will end up being only 30 ft long. That usually gives you about 10-20 seconds of time actually walking under the sparklers. No no no this will not do.
Like I’ve already said multiple times, we are all about making these moments last a long time. You’ve got 90 seconds of prime sparkler to take advantage of, so you better do it! This is why I recommend people run through the aisle multiple times to get the full affect. You can change it up each time and really have fun with it. Maybe walk through cheering for the first one, dance through the second, and cartwheel down the third. (no don’t do that last one… and if you do, you didn’t get the idea from me…) There’s really nothing holding you back from doing your exit in all the different ways you’ve pictured in your head.
We need some mood music! This is supposed to be a celebration! That means cheering, dancing, clapping, all of it. Keep the vibe up. Avoid people standing around waiting for the moment to shout “WHOOOO” for 10 seconds while you walk through the aisle. Pick a song that always gets you, your partner, and your friends out on the dance floor.
Have Your Car Ready and Leave Directly After
If you don’t leave right now… you’ll be there for another hour. Someone will try to grab and you say hi. Maybe you forgot something in your suite. Maybe you feel guilty leaving cleanup to your family??? No no NOOO.
The point of an exit is for it to be the exit. Call your Uber, book your limo, or organize whatever ride you’re planning so that they are there and ready for take off as soon as you walk through that aisle.
Have Fun With It
Once again, IT’S YOUR FRICKEN WEDDING DAY!!! CELEBRATE! Have Fun! Go wild. Enjoy the moment. It’s not supposed to be stressful or uncomfortable, and if it is then you might have to rethink what you’re doing. Leave your wedding in style by celebrating your love and have the biggest happiest smile on your face. Do your exit in whatever way YOU WANT TO. Because it’s all about you and how you envision your wedding day.