Sparklers are fun at weddings and make great photos but you’ll need to include them in your wedding planning. Sparklers fall into the new wedding planning category of ‘experiential lighting’ They’re fun and certainly interactive. Here are our wedding sparklers tips and tricks to help you get fizzly.
For those of you with a wedding to arrange in a hurry, here’s a summary of all that good stuff!
Start by checking with your venue to be sure they’re ok with the concept and certainly let your photographer know the plan so they’re ready for the big sparkly moment.
Before the big day, buy some sparklers, all sparklers are not created equal. You’ll need them quite long so they don’t burn out quickly, or by the time you’ve wandered from one end of your sparkly line to the other, loads of them will have gone dark. With that in mind, something like 18 inches is a good size. Our favourites are from Chorlton fireworks. The lovely Darren at Chorlton recommends these Gold 18″ sparklers by the award winning Celtic brand. We like the look and performance of these Gold coloured sparkles rather than the Silvery ones. Gold coloured sparklers make less smoke and give a warmer glow to peoples faces. Don’t skimp on cost, a little extra investment makes all the difference here. Also, get a few more rather than a few less.
We’d really suggest not leaving the sparkler supply to your venue. Not all venues are clued up on this malarkey. We’ve seen that before and it was a horror. One measly packet of short cheap sparklers between 30 guests made us sad.
Right, about Sparklers, they get awfully hot, like 10 times as hot as your kettle. Safety has to be the number one consideration. Have your venue provide metal buckets (Ice buckets would work too) of cold clean water so if anyone gets burnt they can plunge the injury immediately preventing further damage. You can put out a fire with a bucket of water and drop your finished sparklers into it to leave them safe and cold rather than hot and laying around on the floor! If the venue staff, or anyone else suggests buckets of sand, ignore them. Insist on water. Nobody needs a burn injury compounded by having a bucket of sand thrown over them…
Children and drunk people, with sparklers? We recommend leaving the little ‘uns to do that pre-first dance spinning and sliding on their knees they always do at weddings. If you have little helpers determined to be involved they’ll need one sober adult assistant per sproglet. No drunk children allowed.
Ok, so linked to the safety thing is how you arrange your family and guests to achieve fun and great photos without anyone catching fire. Wedding guests, especially post-dinner, will have had a bit to drink. Drunk people are amongst the least reliable in terms of firework usage. We’d suggest you identify a couple (or four for best effect) folks that you trust and can be relied on to help make all this happen safely. These are the folks who’ll ensure the water is present before you start, will hand out the sparklers and do the lighting up. They’ll also clear up safely after the event.
You might find, especially in a very large wedding that it’s better and easier to limit the numbers getting involved in all this malarkey, it’ll be a lot safer and quicker. Sometimes it’ll be Mums and Dads, Bridesmaids and Groomsmen for instance but we’ve done line ups with 60 people before – it just needs a lot more attention and responsible peeps to ensure it all goes off well.
To arrange the sparkler lineup it’s best to have two straight lines of guests and family either side of the Bride and Groom. The happy couple then walk through the sparkly avenue. Bear in mind that you’ll want a decent gap between the couple and the ends of the sparklers. If we add up all the bodies, arm lengths, length of sparklers and suitable gaps etc you’re going to want a width of around 4 meters across. Here’s Maz and James managing that rather nicely below.
One of our most useful wedding sparklers tips and tricks is about lighting all those sparklers. It’s tricky if everyone is trying to use Uncle Brian’s plastic ciggy lighter in a breeze.
Lighting a sparkler with another sparkler often welds the two together. NEVER bundle sparklers together to light them, that’s a hospital visit guaranteed.
You’ll need a swift and reliable windproof lighter operated by a non-trollied person. We suggest something like a Chef’s torch, the ones they use to caramelise Sugar with etc. If you don’t think you’ll get much use from one of those after the big day get one of those long tipped ones used to light gas hobs and BB’s as a second best option and also cheaper.
The gold standard would be to have one lighter operating on each side (and at either end) of the line up so the sparklers all get lit around the same time. In any case it’s best if your guests stay still and just the lighter wielding helpers move about with flames in their hands!
We’ve chatted recently to some folk who prefer lighting their wedding sparklers from the bottom rather than the top. The idea being that the hot part is further away from your hands when the sparkler goes out and there’s less of a feeling of doom as the hot sparkly bit approaches your hand in the traditional set up. So long as nobody gets hurt, we’re not fussed which you do.
As for timing? We find the best results are around dusk where the light is lower but it’s still not quite dark. Trying to organise lots of guests in the dark after they’re a bit tiddly is awkward. Fun, but not hugely efficient! Dusk means people can see what they are doing and we can all see the sparklers, leave the tech camera stuff to us, we’ll make it look magical! If you go later in the evening you might be interfering with your own dance floor, that’s always a mistake! If the timing does fit better for later on though, maybe have the sparklers whilst the evening food comes out?
Ok, so now we have all your best peeps lined up, sparklers all lit and you guys are ready to walk through all the sparkles, well played. Here’s some stuff to consider. DO NOT RUN. There’s probably a wise saying about running with sparklers (scissors too). It isn’t safe and it doesn’t make for a good photo either. Hold hands (the non-sparkly ones obvs) and wander slowly through. Ideally take a pause at some point and do that dramatic kiss you’ve rehearsed in your mind for the ‘Gram. This would be the time to deploy it.
If your reliable helpers have pointed out where the water buckets are before you start, they’ll also have told people where to leave their burnt sparklers. Dropping them in the buckets makes everything safe and the venue staff won’t hate you for making a spikey hot mess of the floor too. Result!
*Quote used without permission – Maude Flanders – The Simpsons.