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Sparkler Exit Alternatives

One of the really cool things about planning your own wedding is being able to personalize it however you’d like. This sometimes means taking existing trends and adapting them to make them your own! After shooting over 125 weddings I’ve seen tons of really neat ideas that couples have used to put their own stamp on their wedding day and today I wanted to share some ideas for turning the popular sparkler exit on it’s head!

Reasons you might consider an alternative to a sparkler exit:

  • Your venue doesn’t allow sparklers
  • Sparklers are actually illegal in your county (this is true…some counties consider sparklers to be fireworks and have laws against them)
  • You don’t want to stop the party or have a set end time to your reception
  • A lot of your guests probably won’t stay until the very end, when the sparklers happen
  • A lot of your guests may or may not be pretty inebriated by the end of the night
  • You love the look of photos taken with natural light
  • Your photography coverage doesn’t include enough time to fit a sparkler exit
  • Your wedding is ending earlier in the day

An epic ceremony recessional
I love it when our couples plan an epic ceremony recessional because it means that we get to take advantage of the beautiful available natural light! Photos from the ceremony recessional are some of my all time favorite images because there’s nothing like the joy you feel when you’ve finally just been pronounced a newly married couple and everyone you love is standing around you cheering! There’s just a really electric energy in the air! This is already such a great moment, but adding a little something (petals, birdseed, confetti, bubbles, ribbon wands, sprinkles, lavender, etc) is such an awesome way to add a little something extra to the photos and create an extra special memory.

A church exit
If you’re getting married at a church, there’s nothing more classic than the church exit. Think about all of the wedding movies you’ve seen…I’ll bet half of them feature a grand exit where the couple runs out of the church through their cheering guests! The pros to a church exit are similar to the pros of the ceremony recessional, however, if you are getting married at a church, you can still take advantage of the natural outdoor light by doing an exit right out of the church. (This works best when you plan to do portraits at another location since you can just leave immediately. If you don’t plan to leave immediately, we can always coordinate a place for you to sneak off too while guests depart after your “exit”)

A sparkler (or other) reception entrance
I have actually only seen this implemented once…at a wedding I helped my friend Jen photograph in North Carolina last year! It was such a genius idea that I thought it was worth sharing again…especially because it was so unique!! Right after portraits and cocktail hour ended, the coordinator and bridal party helped line up all the guests in a line outside of the entrance of the venue in a similar manner to the way they’d line up for an exit and the bride and groom entered into the reception through a crowd of excited guests! It was the PERFECT way to get the party started and meant that they could literally party all night long without interruption if they wanted to!

A parade
When John and I got married, our wedding venues were close enough together to not have to drive between the two. In fact, the parking situation really made it to where it would have been more trouble to get in the car, move, and re-park. Instead of a traditional ceremony exit, we had a parade instead! Our guests were given kazoos and ribbon wands and we led a parade to the reception venue! One of those photos became one of my all time favorites because it really captures the spirit of how much fun the entire day was!

Photo by Jodi & Kurt

Whatever type of exit (or entrance) you choose to do, here are a couple tips to help to make them go smoothly:

  1. Let your guests know what’s happening. Whether that’s a note in the programs, a sign that you set up somewhere, or an announcement that’s made, be sure that they know that there will be an exit outside of the church following the ceremony or that they should toss the petals or blow the bubbles right after you say I do! Often guests haven’t been to or planned a wedding in some time (or ever) so they don’t always know what’s expected of them without prompting.
  2. Designate someone to organize it. Whether or not you have a planner, you’ll need someone to be in charge of organizing the masses and handling the logistics of your exit! Especially if transportation is involved!

Whether you can’t have a sparkler exit because your venue doesn’t allow it or you’d just like to do something different to spice things up, these are some great alternatives. Happy wedding planning!!

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