15 Tips for the Best Sparkler Exit Wedding Photos

Sparkler exit wedding photos in Northern Virginia | Virginia Wedding Photographer | Megan Rei Photography

As your wedding day comes to an end, it’s always a fun idea to leave in style with a sparkler exit! It’s the perfect way to get some memorable photos at the end of the night, and to get all of your guests involved. Before you start planning your sparkler exit, check out these helpful tips for making sure your send-off goes as smoothly as possible!

Do your research

  • Check the sparkler rules with both your venue and your city/county. There are several jurisdictions in the DC area that don’t allow sparklers at all (like the city of Alexandria and Montgomery County), and DC only allows sparklers that are under 20 inches in length. You can find more local laws for DC, Virginia, and Maryland here.

  • Have a backup plan. Even if sparklers are normally allowed, bad weather or wind/fire advisories could prevent you from getting that perfect sparkler send-off. Glow sticks are my usual recommendation for a weatherproof backup option!

  • Purchase the right kind of sparklers for your exit. I recommend sparklers that are 20 inches long, burn for about 2 minutes, and are smokeless in order to get the very best photos. Shoot me an email if you want to know my favorite brand of sparklers.

  • Before hiring them, talk to your photographer and videographer about your planned sparkler exit. You’ll want to make sure you book professionals that have experience with sparkler send-offs, and that you see examples of this type of work!

Tips for getting the best sparkler send-off photos at your wedding

Get Organized

  • It usually takes a few minutes for all the guests to leave the dance floor, get lined up, and light their sparklers, so plan to have the last dance end 15 minutes before your planned exit time!

  • Put a couple people in charge of handing out sparklers to everyone, and directing them where to line up.

  • Before anyone lights sparklers, make sure you two are ready and waiting to exit. (I’ve seen eager guests start the sparkler lighting too soon, and the sparklers burn out before the wedding couple has even started to walk out!)

  • Designate 2-3 people with lighters (the longer, BBQ kind) to walk down the lines of guests to start the sparkler lighting. Once they get a few of them going, people can light sparklers with sparklers. They'll usually light faster off of other sparklers than off of lighters.

  • Remember to WALK, not run! Enjoy the moment and give your photographer more time to capture photos. And you don’t have to just smile straight at the camera - you can look at each other, at your guests, stop and kiss, or do a dip/lift/something fun!

  • If there’s time and the sparklers are still burning, you can walk back and out again to get more pictures.

Creative sparkler wedding pictures | Northern Virginia Wedding Photographer | Megan Rei Photograph

Stay Safe

  • Don't let anyone hold a handful of lit sparklers - they can explode!

  • Leave enough space between the two lines of guests for you to walk safely through - we don’t want anyone’s hair catching on fire!

  • Don’t put sparklers in the hands of anyone who can’t safely hold them (namely small children and those drunk wedding guests who can’t stand up straight).

  • Have buckets of water and buckets of sand prepared BEFORE starting your exit. Instruct your guests to put the burnt sparklers in the sand buckets when everything is finished.

  • Designate someone to do a sweep of the exit area afterwards to be sure no sparklers were left behind and there are no small flames still burning.

Sparkler exit after a DC wedding at the Loft at 600 F | DC Wedding Photographer | Megan Rei Photography

And all that’s left is to do is to HAVE FUN! Enjoy those last few minutes of your wedding day surrounded by all the people you love!

Bride and groom holding LOVE sparklers on their wedding day
Wedding sparkler send-off in Northern Virginia | Virginia Wedding Photography