Don’t you love those amazing exit photos you’ve seen?
What you might not know is that they can be really hard to pull off. When you’re dealing with a large group of people, uncontrollable lighting situations, and in some situations metal sticks lit on fire and handed to a group of people who have had large amounts to drink all night (more on that later)… can be… challenging.
The good news is that it really doesn’t have to be. Often times couples can get stuck with not really knowing where to start when it comes to an exit or what the options are.
When it comes to exits, Pinterest has a few fun things to say and can be a great place to go for inspiration when it comes to exit ideas. Occasionally I find that brides see all of these super cute images that seem oh so fairy-tale that what bride wouldn’t want to include that in their wedding day, but what Pinterest doesn’t give you is the full story and what to consider as you think of wedding exits.
A cautionary tale | Just call me Smokey the Bear
First, if you sit a group of wedding photographers down and say “sparkler exit”, you’ll hear immediate sighs, groans, and three or four heads hitting hands. This is not because we are people who don’t appreciate a great exit, this is because things can go VERY wrong without proper planning. And by training, I do need to disclose here the if you do decide to include this beautiful tradition on your wedding day I will at some point turn into “fire marshal Sam” and begin a fire safety speech somewhere between the exit buddy speech in Finding Nemo and a Smokey the Bear commercial.
So here are a few things to know. Sparkler exits are fun, yes, but they can also be a little scary if done badly. Sparklers are sticks on fire, and although everyone reading this just said “uh, duh” while that may be obvious to you now, when you put a ton of people together, who have been at a great party all night long, especially if there is a lot of alcohol involved, this obvious fact becomes less obvious…
Add in there a gorgeous wedding gown, a fair amount of hairspray, and the two of you running through the fire sticks. Forgive me if I have a speech prepared. I love you too much to let you catch on fire.
Here are some thoughts from your safety-conscious Dragonfly friends on how to do a wedding exit really well.
Wedding Exit Planning Tips
Plan your epic exit for after the ceremony, not the reception. This really makes for great images and opens a ton of possibilities up. Usually, the lighting is better and sometimes the backdrop as well. Think super cool and bright confetti with your historic church in the background. Yaaaassssss.
If you are set on a reception exit, instead of saving your exit until the very end, you can plan a faux exit with just the members of your bridal party and a few family members! This allows us to have more control over these shots, keep everyone much safer, and the party NEVER has to stop! In most cases, no one even notices that the bride and groom are missing for a few minutes.
If you are going to do a full exit at the end of your reception make sure to note it on your wedding evening schedule so guests know when the fun will happen. If you’re going to do a sparkler exit at that point plan on an extra few minutes for us and your wedding planner to get all of your guests set up and have a bit of a safety talk!
When you’re planning your exit, think outside the box. What represents you as a couple? Are you a very traditional couple? Try the classic look of rice. Love modern bright color? How about multi-colored parasol umbrellas. The sky is the limit, so really have fun with this.
Below are some ideas to get you thinking or a list to chose from. We’ve seen all of these look amazing!
- Sparklers (if done safely!)
- Fly Paper Airplanes
- Throw Sequins
- Set Off Confetti Poppers
- Toss Whole Flowers
- Release Biodegradable Balloons
- Have a Balloon Toss (if indoors)
- Plan a Second Line Parade
- Toss Artificial Snow (for a winter wedding)
- Throw Leaves (for a fall wedding)
- Release Sky Lanterns
- Toss Flower Petals
- Join a Parade Procession
- Ribbon Wands
- Release Butterflies
- Release Doves
- Confetti Cannons
- Large glitter
- Ring Bells
- Wave Handkerchiefs
- Champagne Showers
- Wave Flags
- A Getaway by Sea (que the getaway boat)
- A Land Getaway (think classic car)
Remember, as you’re choosing your exit, consider biodegradable options, or plan for someone to clean up after your exit. Some venues have strong policies on what you can and cannot do for an exit (they too have seen exits go terribly wrong!) So be sure to check in with the venue as well as, in some cases, the city or country itself.