How to nail those wedding sparkler photos
So maybe you’re looking around for some cool things to do to involve your guests on your wedding day. If you are using pinterest to help design and plan your big day then i’m pretty sure you will have seen ‘sparkler exits’ and ‘wedding sparkler photographs’.
They are great fun for everyone involved and amazing to shoot. I’ve listed some suggestions below that will help you have the perfect sparkler moment.
Shots can be staged like writing words or making hearts, this takes a bit of time to set up and everyone involved has to concentrate on what they are doing in order for it to work, there’s only a short time to do it and after a few beers the spelling can go a little ‘wonky’. Personally, I feel guests lined up with sparklers is a more stress-free experience
In the UK it’s not often that a couple will make a late-night grand exit and if they do, most photographers have long gone. So what has become popular in recent years is a point in the evening where the couple will have fun wedding sparkler photos with their friends and family, it’s also a nice way to get evening guests involved in your day. It doesn’t have to feel overly staged or complicated and the reactions can still be caught naturally.
Guests randomly lighting sparklers is a natural way to catch people just enjoying themselves, that’s great, I love that, here are some natural shots caught as they happened. Personally, I feel it’s best to have some control when it comes to those large group line-ups with sparklers. 40 or 50 maybe slightly drunk people left to light their sparklers, all at once, and get into some kind of organised position! It’s something that can only really happen once so there needs to be a certain amount of direction. I’ve listed some of my tips and suggestions further down this page.
Check with your venue that it’s okay to have wedding sparkler photos. Also, check if there is anywhere in particular you must use them and check if your photographer knows. Definitely not indoors (obviously!!)
Best wedding sparklers
These are the ‘event’ type, up to 18 inches which are the largest sparklers legally allowed in the UK. (Amazon is a great place to buy them) They don’t burn as aggressively and don’t give off as much smoke. Your average bonfire-night sparkler lasts about 30/40 seconds, the event type lasts longer maybe a minute and a half or more, so you have time for everyone to light them and take lots of pictures.
Lighting your wedding sparklers
I always recommend lighters and not matches, they are quicker, safer, and easier to use in a group. (cooker/candle lighters are best)
Provide (or arrange with your venue to provide) a way to dispose of the used sparklers, usually a bucket of water or sand is best.
By all means, display your sparklers, Pinterest shows many ways to label and present them. But also it’s a good idea to display a time when they will be used, so guests know not to take them too soon. Or you can keep them out of sight until the moment arrives.
Ask your wedding coordinator and photographer if they will direct the whole event. This for me is the most important part. If guests help themselves and have no direction you will find someone will light their sparkler too soon, then someone else will, and so on, and it can become chaotic.
My top tips for wedding sparklers.
- I find the perfect time in the UK for wedding sparklers is during the evening buffet, which means some guests may prefer to eat their food and not take part, this makes the number of people more manageable. Doing it at this time also means you are not going to interrupt your band’s set, if you have one.
- Ask the band or DJ to make an announcement, something like “Could all guests wanting to have wedding sparkler photos with the couple please make their way outside” I ask the couple to hold back, continue their drink, or chat with the remaining guests while I organise everyone, but be ready to come out when needed.
- Once the group is positioned I hand out the sparklers and lighters often with the help of venue staff, making it very clear NOBODY is to light until we are ready. I’ll give the word to go and once most sparklers are lit I’ll call out the couple. Usually, I ask them walk through and just stop halfway and enjoy the moment. There is no posing and I’d rather them just hold hands or hug and enjoy the experience with their family and friends around them.
- Afterwards, while everyone is still in a group I remind everyone to put their used sparklers in the bucket provided.
I hope my suggestions help make perfect wedding sparkler photos.
Here’s a great example of using sparklers near the end of the evening at Rebecca and Aled’s King Arthur Hotel wedding