Wedding Sparkler Exits

What’s really involved in planning a wedding sparkler exit


Weddings are already the prettiest of events to capture, what with all the amazing outfits and dresses, the flowers and gorgeous details and, of course, the happy, smiling faces of the couple and their friends and family. A real show-stopper, though, has to be the fabulous sparkler exit, and plenty of couples do ask me to stay and capture this quite regularly. 

But I think it’s important to prepare you for what’s really involved in planning a wedding sparkler exit because it’s not as simple as buying a few sparklers and lighting them when it gets dark!

It’s worth remembering the consequences of what can go wrong when couples don’t properly prepare for a sparkler exit – there are plenty of stories of wedding dresses catching fire, severe burns to the skin and worse. The combination of over 1000 degrees Celsius, a ton of hairspray, tulle and plenty of alcohol is not the greatest mix! 

That being said, there are lots of reasons why you should have a sparkler exit. Maybe you’re getting married around Bonfire Night, in which case a sparkler exit seems quite apt. Perhaps you saw and loved the grand exit your friend had and loved the photographs she showed you afterwards. Or it’s possible you’ve seen all the impressive examples of sparkler exits over on Pinterest; in which case I certainly couldn’t blame you for wanting to create your own fabulous exit as well. 

So, then, how do you go about preparing for this? Here are my top tips for planning a safe but spectacular sparkler exit on your wedding day!


What you will need

Before buying anything, make sure you speak to your venue first! Check if they allow sparklers and, if so, where they usually recommend a sparkler exit takes place. But if your venue declines your request, then please do respect that. It’s usually for a good reason. If the answer is yes, then it’s time to do some shopping…

 Short sparklers just won’t do for this kind of shot! Unfortunately, I’ve yet to see the super-long sparklers favoured in the USA for sale in this country (and don’t bother attempting to order from America either unless you want an interesting conversation with Customs), but you can purchase longer length sparklers usually marketed especially for weddings. 

While the longer sparklers will burn for longer, I would still recommend you supply two per guest. This will ensure more time the sparklers will be lit making it easier to spend a little more time getting some great photographs. 

Safety first folks! An important thing to remember when you’re planning a sparkler exit is the trusty old bucket of sand where finished sparklers can be safely deposited. 

And finally, you will require a foolproof means to light that many sparklers in one go. The options here are, usually, lots of matches (although these aren’t much fun on a windy evening) or lots of lighters but, in this plastic-conscious day and age, this is certainly not a very eco-friendly option. Another excellent method is a blowtorch, but I would also recommend this is handled only by a sober member of your party otherwise things could get dangerous very quickly!


On the night


Timing is everything and the best time to capture these images is usually around twilight, or what photographers sometimes call the ‘blue hour’, where the sky goes a very dark blue but hasn’t got as far as total darkness just yet. Check with me for the best times and I’ll be happy to advise you on this. 

Given that this will take place at the end of the evening, the likelihood is that most of your guests (and perhaps even you) will be the worse for wear. Do you have a non-drinking friend? Or find out who the designated drivers are in your group. Basically, having some fairly sober friends to help co-ordinate a sparkler exit is a big help to me, although I am more than happy to take charge. But, be advised, given the time of night and how long the alcohol will have been flowing for by that point, this will be extremely challenging, and I will get pretty bossy with my megaphone in order to get this done! Believe me when I say there is absolutely nothing natural about this kind of shot – but it will look fabulous, I promise you! 

No sparklers get lit until everyone is in place – this is VERY IMPORTANT! It’s also very important to not try and light all of the sparklers in one big bunch. All that will happen is you’ll get one big burst of sparks and, most likely, a trip to the local A&E for someone. 

I like to create an arch with people on both sides holding and waving their sparklers up in the air as you walk through. Hopefully, I won’t get burned whilst walking backwards and taking photographs of you walking towards me. And I usually have my assistant crouched behind you with a flash for a little extra wow factor. I mentioned that nothing about this would be natural, didn’t I?! 

You should allow around half an hour for all of this so plan it into your schedule and make sure everyone you want to be there knows the time! With this in mind, you don’t need all of your guests to be there. Around 40 people is plenty. Any more and it just becomes much harder to control the situation and there’s a greater risk of something going wrong. 

Finally, there’s also a good chance we’ll need to do it twice to make sure we get the shot so be ready for that too. 

My absolute No-No’s

Some photographers will actually refuse to shoot a sparkler exit for some of the reasons I’ve already mentioned. I’m not one of those photographers but capturing this moment for you does include some strict rules from me if we’re going to make a shot like this work without injury. 

  1. I absolutely will not do this type of shot when there are children around. It’s just too risky. Sparklers, alcohol and children simply don’t mix, in my opinion! 
  2. I won’t do sparkler exits in the rain or combined with bubbles. Wet floors are a hazard and the last thing I want someone to do is slip holding a burning firework in their hands – that’s a recipe for disaster!
  3. I won’t do a sparkler exit when it’s still light outside. It’s a lot of effort for very little reward if it’s still too light to see the sparklers. Make sure you’ve booked me for long enough so that I’m there till after dark if a sparkler exit is what you really want.
  4. Most importantly, I absolutely will not take responsibility for any accidents occurring – including, amongst other things, slips and falls, burn related injuries or something hideous like your veil catching fire (think of all that hairspray!). Please, please, please do this responsibly and also consider wedding insurance. 

– so, to summarise  –


Ask your venue before you plan anything! 

Buy the biggest, longest burning sparklers you can find and make sure there are plenty for everyone!

Talk to me about it so I can advise you on best times to do the exit and I can chat to you about an assistant if needed. Also, we can make sure you’ve got me booked for long enough to cover this! 

Make sure you’ve got plenty of matches/lighters/a decent blow torch and someone responsible enough to use it! And don’t forget that all-important bucket of sand for safe disposal. 

And then you are all good to go! Your grand exit awaits as well as some awesome photographs of it all! 

If you’re still looking for a photographer who can take fantastic sparkler exit photos, get in touch

If you want to plan a fabulous sparkler exit and you’re already booked with me, just give me a shout. And if you’re still looking for a photographer who can take fantastic sparkler exit photos, get in touch. I’d love to hear all about your plans. Have a look at another fabulous wedding I shot at The Manor House Hotel; Jessica and Merv had a perfect sparkler exit.


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