You grasp hands, grin at each other, face your cheering guests, enter the tunnel of glowing sparklers before you run away to your long-awaited honeymoon. It's a fantastic end to a wedding!
I love sparkler exits, and while they have a spontaneous feel to them in photographs, well-planned exits make sure you get the best results. Here are five tips for your planning:
1. Put Someone Loud in Charge
If you don’t have a wedding planner, find a responsible/loud friend and put them in charge of the send-off. They will need to know where people should line up, understand the overall goal, and be able to dictate the lighting plan (see below).
2. Choose Bright Sparklers and Test Before the Big Day
Some sparklers can be dim (if they just burn gold on a metal stick it’s a dead giveaway), and will sometimes be down to the last bit by the time everyone is able to light properly. Getting the larger, multi-colored variety from a fireworks store will make for brighter and longer-lasting displays. They also look amazing as they change colors and give off smoke. If you’re getting married after July 4th, remember to check out the fireworks stands for sales. Test your sparklers to see how long they burn, how bright they are in a dark space, and that they look the way you wish (you may be surprised).
3. Have a Lighting Plan
It takes awhile to light dozens of sparklers — longer than you may think. Make sure you have several lighters, like the plastic ones used for barbeques. If you can, break your lines up into groups and have them gather around designated lighter-bearers. You can also have your bearers go up sections of the line to light. The larger your guest list, the more you’ll need to break this up.
4. Make a Tunnel
In fear of lighting the bride and groom on fire, we’ve seen the two lines stand way back from the couple. You really want people to come close so your faces and your guests’ faces are well-lit, and we as photographers can come close-in to get everyone. Obviously, we don’t want your dress to catch on fire, but people can get cozy and still be safe. You can also direct people to cheer and close in behind you as you go through, framing and safely lighting you even more.
5. Consider a Jog Instead of a Mad Dash
Gently jogging through your tunnel is great for two reasons: your guests get to see you well, and your photographer will love you. We will be able to get more photos of you, and more are more likely to be in focus when you aren’t dashing/running/galloping to your car.