I LOVE sparkler exits. They’re my favorite way to send a bride & groom off in style, and any time one of my brides lets me know they’re thinking of having one, the first words out of my mouth are always “DO IT!” They’re the perfect way to end a wedding with a bang, and they make for a killer last page in any wedding album. Having the right kind of sparkler can make your grand exit even more idyllic, so I went on a hunt to find “the perfect sparkler” so that you don’t have to!
There are several options when it comes to which type of pyrotechnics you can purchase: classic grey sparklers that shoot gold sparks? Or the kind that are wrapped in multicolored paper? And of those two, what length should you buy?
Let’s start with the basic difference: gold sparks or multicolored paper?
The classic “gold spark” sparklers are typically a bit cheaper than their colorful counterparts, and the effect they give is a bright, short-range spitting of sparks. They’re mostly smokeless, and with a bunch of guests gathered together to see you off, the effect is gorgeous! See what I mean?
Then you have your colorful, paper-wrapped sparklers, called “Morning Glory” sparklers. These ones give off SHOWERS of colored sparks and then shoot off a small flame (a bit like a weak blow torch), so it’s definitely best to have your guests back up a bit so the bride and groom don’t catch any sparks on their clothes or hair. They’re also really smokey! It gives a cool, dreamlike effect for sure (see below!), but make sure that’s the effect what you want before you purchase a bulk order. I do not recommend handing Morning Glory sparklers to kids, since the sparks + torch-like flame eject forcefully enough that pointing the sparkler directly at someone in close quarters could result in injury.
Photographers- if you’re shooting an exit with these particular sparklers, know that you’ll likely have to convert many of the images to b&w because of how extreme the color shift is. The sparks/flames change from red to green to white and do a number on skin tones!
The next variable: length, and as a result, burn time. I bought a bunch of sparklers last July 5th (discount at the local fireworks stand, what WHAT) to test out the burn time for each, and here’s what I found!
10″ classic sparklers: burn time is approximately 37-45 seconds. If you’re purchasing these, you’ll need about three for every guest. Because they’re short, by the time the entire line has one lit and the bride and groom are ready to run through, the folks on the end are already having to light a second sparkler. I don’t really recommend these ones unless you’re having a smaller wedding!
20″ classic sparklers: burn time is approximately 1:30 to 2 minutes. You’ll want to order two for each of your guests, but because they burn a little longer, you’ll have fewer sparklers go out before the bride & groom reach their getaway car! These ones are my favorites- they’re long enough to get the job done, but not so long that you typically need to worry about poking the bride in the eye.
36″ classic sparklers: burn time is approximately 4 minutes. You’ll only need one per guest with these ones, unless you’re having a smaller wedding, in which case I recommend TWO per guests to give off enough light for your photographs! The 36″ sparklers give ample time for the bride and groom to walk beneath, and sometimes there’s enough life left in the sparklers for another run back through if the couple feels like it! They are REALLY long, though, so your guests will need to leave ample room between the two rows to allow the couple to run through without catching sparks on the shoulders.
Small Morning Glory sparklers: burn time is approximately 1:20-1:30. These measure 20″ from tip to tip, but have only 8.5″ of flammable material. Again, be careful with these- the sparks have a pretty long, pretty forceful trajectory.
Large Morning Glory sparklers: burn time is approximately 1:45-2:00. These measure 36″ from tip to tip, but have only 13.5″ of flammable material. These LOOK pretty on the outside with the multi-colored paper wrapping, but they’re frankly kind of dangerous to have in close quarters!
Just from my experience photographing sparkler exits, I don’t recommend the Morning Glory sparklers for weddings. They tend to operate more like fireworks and less like a traditional sparkler, and if your guests aren’t aware of the difference, someone’s likely to get singed.
In the end, my top choice is the 20″ classic sparkler! It gives off plenty of light and is long enough that you don’t have to worry about them burning through too quickly! And look at that beautiful bokeh effect. Doesn’t get much better than that, does it?
I recommend ordering sparklers from Sparklers Online- they have all three varieties of the classic sparklers I used for my experiment!