A Photographers Perspective:  The Sparkler Send-Off

This is the first in a series of posts aimed at helping not only my own clients but anyone planning a wedding to get the most from their photography.  Of course, hiring a great photographer is a good start.  But there are certain things you can consider well before the day to help things go smoothly and create the best opportunity for your photographer.  First up is the sparkler send-off.

You’ve no doubt seen images on Instagram, Facebook and wedding blogs around the web, showing these enchanting moments that look like they’re straight out of a movie.

The secret is these moments are anything but spontaneous!  It takes a little planning to nail the perfect sparkler send-off.  So, here are some tips on how to do precisely that.


Buy Big & Good Quality Sparklers

With sparklers, size is everything!  Bigger sparklers burn for longer, which means you get more time to enjoy your sparkler send off.  It also means your photographer gets longer to capture some fantastic images.

Also, not all sparklers are made equal.  Some of the cheaper examples you can buy online are of poor quality, meaning they produce far less light, smoke a lot and even smell terrible.

I’d recommend ordering 16-inch or 18-inch wedding sparklers from a reliable source, such as Sparklers.co.uk

Buy More than you Need

I always suggest buying two sparklers per guest.  One in each hand is twice the amount of light, and photographers love light!  Buy a few extra if you want to partake in some fancy sparkler message writing, just the two of you.


Don’t Forget Lighters

One thing that often gets overlooked is how quickly you need to get everyone’s sparklers lit.  There’s no point buying extra long sparklers if all your guests will be fumbling around with matches for three minutes.

You can either order some sparkler flares which light several sparklers very quickly or just buy a box of disposable lighters to hand out.

Check with your Venue

Some venues are understandably concerned with the safety of using sparklers, so check if and where they allow them to be used.  Of course, common sense prevails here, and you’re unlikely to set anything on fire with one or two sparklers. But you can’t always account for that one drunken guest that lights 50 at once and drops them next to your marquee.  Or on a bale of hay.

Timing your Exit

One reason I advise my couples to consider doing their sparkler send-off earlier in the evening is that the more drunk people get, the more difficult they are to organise! Doing your sparkler send-off earlier in the evening, of course, means it’s not really a ‘send-off’ anymore!  However, it’s still a fun thing to do with all your guests. If you have a band play at your reception, they will likely play 2 or more sets. Time your sparkler send-off between these and ask the band to announce it.


Organising People

Now you’ve got everyone outside, sparklers in hand, it’s really down to your photographer to speak up and get everyone where he/she wants them. Discuss with your photographer beforehand how you want guests arranged.  Either two long lines of guests for you to run through, or just a big group of people around you. Both look great, and I don’t think I have a preference either way.  The traditional sparkler send-off would be two long lines, but a large group of people all around gives off vast amounts of warm, soft light and probably lends itself to more visually stunning images.

If you do go with the longer sparklers I linked above, you’d likely have time to combine the two. Run the full length of your line, then ask guests to follow you down to the end.


And Finally

Keep everything above in mind when planning your sparkler send-off, but when it comes to it on the day, just enjoy it!  It’s all too easy to get caught up in managing everything.  But if you’re having fun, your guests will be too!

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