I ran across this great blog from Open Aperture Photography and asked if I could repost it here. Bob and Amanda Mackowski are a husband and wife photography team in Eastern NC. I was so impressed by their portfolio and their creative flare when it comes to taking photos! They have a true talent when it comes to capturing unique, beautiful pictures!!!
Here is what they posted on How to Execute a Wedding Sparkler Exit:
Sparkler exits have been around for a few years at weddings, yet very few people seem to understand how to execute them. We always coach everybody on how to do it two minutes before it needs to be done.
We certainly don’t mind helping (after all, that’s what we do) but I wanted to spread our knowledge so that other people can be prepared.
Buy Extra Long Sparklers – The longest sparklers appear to be 36 inches based on a quick search. You want long sparklers because they’ll stay lit longer. Short sparklers will burn out before the bride and groom get to the end of the line.
Bring a Lighter – This sounds obvious but you’d be amazed what can get overlooked in the chaos of a wedding.
Have One or Two People Walk the Line – Select one or two people to get their sparklers lit first. They can then walk down the line using their sparklers to light the sparklers of every third or fourth person.
That last part is important. Do not light every single person. It’ll take too long. By the time your person gets to the end of the line, the beginning of the line’s sparklers will be burnt out.
Have the Lit People Light their Neighbor – Now that every third or fourth person has been lit, they can light the people around them. This is much more time efficient than the alternative.
Bonus points if you do what they did in the example below: One lit person held out their sparklers and the unlit people near them all lit theirs at the same time. It’s almost like a sparkler bonfire!
Make Sure the Couple is Waiting to Walk Through –The bride and groom should be waiting behind a door/curtain/tent or something else and be ready to go. If it takes time to find them and the sparklers are lit, they won’t be lit by the time the couple starts walking.
Send the Couple –Once everybody’s sparklers are lit, it’s time to send the couple walking down the line.
You Can Also Do It Walking Into the Reception – While it’s called a sparkler exit for a reason, you can also do it going into the reception. The reason that most people do a sparkler exit instead of an entrance is because it typically isn’t dark at the beginning of a wedding reception. If your entrance will be dark, do both! That’s what Jon and Hannah (below) did.
DON’T Make the Walkway Narrow – Brides are flammable (or so I would assume). Puffy dresses and hairspray don’t play well with fire. Give the couple room to make their journey through the line.
Levi and Sandy (below) didn’t have that option because they did their exit on a footbridge. You can see Sandy ducking for cover (and saving her hair) while walking.
DON’T Hold Your Sparklers Out – Sparklers should be held up, not out in front of you for the same reason as avoiding the narrow walkway. Brides are flammable, mmmkay?
DON’T Walk Too Fast – Some photographers (like us) don’t use flash when shooting sparkler exits because it allows you to see the sparklers glow better. That also makes it significantly more difficult to photograph.
Walking too fast will cause the couple to look blurry while they walk toward the photographer. You can see that below with Rob and Kristin and also in Jon and Hannah’s entrance two images above.
Take your time and enjoy it – don’t run.
Be Safe – Please don’t injure anybody by doing something dumb. Brides aren’t the only thing that’s flammable – so are the other guests. Don’t throw your sparklers while they’re still lit. Believe it or not, I’ve seen this happen. In Phoenix. In July. In dead grass.
Don’t forget about Smoky the Bear – Only you can prevent forest (and grass) fires.
Thank you Bob and Amanda for sharing such great tips and allowingBuySparklers.com
to repost your blog!!! It is so nice getting this perspective from a photographer’s point of view.