Wedding sparkler send-offs are an inexpensive yet elegant final touch fitting for any wedding style. But, like with most wedding details, there is so much information out there, it can be hard to sift through it all. Planning the perfect sparkler send off is easier said than done!
Luckily for you, I’ve done the work so that you don’t have to. I’ve put together this ultimate buyer’s guide for savvy brides on wedding sparklers to help you learn every last detail there is to know about this classy send-off.
Despite the title “for brides,” this authoritative article can (and should) be used by anyone considering a wedding sparkler send off.
So, without further ado, let’s get started!
Table of Contents
A Brief History of Wedding Sparklers
To look at the history of wedding sparklers, we must first learn more about the traditional wedding send-off and sparklers. Then, we can gain a better understanding of how and when these two worlds collided.
Do you ever wonder about the origins of wedding send-offs? As most brides-to-be know, the oldest tradition in a wedding send-off was historically throwing rice.
Rice has been a tradition passed down for centuries amongst varying cultures worldwide, originating with the ancient Romans, who were known for throwing wheat during their wedding send-offs.
Although this tradition has become so familiar, have you ever stopped to wonder how it all started?
Originally, throwing wheat during the new bride and groom’s departure was believed to be symbolic of fertility, prosperity, and good fortune for the couple.
Wheat wasn’t the only thing at send-offs historically, though. Other items included oats and even corn, which were significant in marking the same symbols to the couple in their future.
The origins of fireworks can be linked as far back in history as the sixth century in China. Naturally, through time and advancements, fireworks evolved in shapes, sizes, and variations.
Callinicos of Heliopolis was an architect who would become known for his invention of the Cherosiphon in AD 670. While the Cherosiphon had more similarities to a modern-day Roman candle firework, this was the sparkler’s origin.
Today, sparklers are widely recognized as additions to celebratory events, including New Year’s celebrations and weddings.
Two Worlds Combine
In the last century of weddings, the age-old tradition of a send-off has exploded, seeing a wide variety of symbolic gestures all designed to wish the happy couples the best in their departure.
Some of the more modern weddings send-off ideas include releasing butterflies, blowing bubbles, or my personal favorite, lighting sparklers in the path of the new bride and groom as they leave their wedding venue and embark as a newlywed couple.
You can take a look at 25 awe inspiring wedding send-off ideas for the perfect exit for more modern twists on this tradition.
Just as quickly as these new-age traditions have become customary in so many weddings worldwide, it’s worth taking a moment to discover why we have veered away from the traditional wheat and rice.
Primarily, many moved away from tossing rice as a wedding send-off due to a myth that the rice was harmful to birds. As rumor had it, the birds would fill up on this uncooked rice, which would expand in their stomachs, and ultimately lead to their deaths.
Thankfully, this silly rumor has since been debunked by scientific research.
Still, the tradition of a wedding send-off is more popular than ever, with creativity flowing amongst the happy couple to decide the perfect ending to their perfect day.
As previously mentioned, my personal favorite is sparklers for wedding send-off. Let’s continue on our journey as we learn everything there is to know about this modern twist on a traditional classic.
Introduction to Wedding Sparklers
First things first, it’s time to do a deep dive into all things related to wedding sparklers. In this in-depth introduction to wedding sparklers, we will cover all of the basics, including what sparklers are, what makes them sparkle, and what differentiates wedding sparklers.
What Are Sparklers?
Generally speaking, there are two broad types of fireworks: firecrackers and sparklers. Firecrackers are designed to make an explosion controlled, while sparklers are meant to be slow-burning with showers of sparks.
What Makes a Sparkler Sparkle?
The components within a sparkler that create that adorned sparkle can be broken down as a chemical reaction. To get to the bottom of this, we’ll have to switch gears into the chemistry behind sparklers.
Components of a Sparkler
Four primary substances make up the traditional sparkler. Those components are: an oxidizer, a binder, a fuel, and a colorant. Together, they produce the safe flame and light we love.
In a sparkler, the oxidizer creates oxygen that allows the mixture to burn correctly. Oxidizers are typically either nitrates, chlorates, or perchlorates. Most commonly, you will see potassium nitrate or potassium chlorate used in sparklers as oxidizers.
As you can imagine, the binder is what holds the whole solution together in the sparkler. Standard binders in sparklers include sugar, starch, or shellac. Sometimes, the binders can also act as a reaction moderator or a fuel.
The fuel, or reducing agent, burns the oxygen that the oxidizer has produced in the sparkler, creating a hot gas. Usually, the fuel you will find in sparklers is either charcoal or sulfur.
Metal salts can be added to the sparkler mixture to provide different color options. Examples of some of the metals used include strontium, barium, copper, calcium, or sodium.
Design of a Sparkler
A sparkler is a chemical mixture that is held together using the binding agent. This mixture is molded on a wire or stick either by dipping or pouring. Once everything has dried up, it becomes a sparkler ready for use.
When the sparkler is lit, the oxidizer produces oxygen. The fuel burns this oxygen that has been made and emits a hot gas. The burning powdered metal from the sparkler creates the magical sparkle we all know and love.
If science is your jam and you want to get into it further, check out CompoundChem for more information.
What Are Wedding Sparklers?
While most of us are somewhat familiar with what a sparkler is, you might not be familiar with what wedding sparklers are. Don’t you worry. That’s what I’m here for. I’m here to tell you everything there is to know about these widely popular wedding touches.
Simply put, a wedding sparkler is a sparkler-type firework that is designed to be used specifically for your special day.
One primary design feature of wedding sparklers that sets them apart from the typical firework sparkler you burn on the Fourth of July.
Wedding sparklers come designed with a steel wire core rather than alternative materials such as wood or bamboo. While this might seem like a minor detail, it plays a significant role in the sparkler’s final product.
This unique design allows the sparklers to burn longer and with a seemingly smokeless burn, making it perfect for wedding guests to enjoy.
While traditional sparklers are short-lasting, wedding sparklers are meant to be long-lasting and endure precious moments of your wedding without you or your guests feeling rushed in any sense.
What Makes Wedding Sparklers Ideal for Weddings?
The unique design of wedding sparklers makes them ideal for those special days for several different seasons, including:
Longer Burn Time
As previously mentioned, the steel wire core design of wedding sparklers allows them to burn slower.
When you choose to use wedding sparklers specifically for your special day, you know that you won’t have to worry about them running short of whatever designated time you have planned for them.
Companies can include chemicals into their wedding sparkler mix to create a more magical glow. Ideally, wedding sparkler companies will have videos available for you to see for yourself before purchase.
Traditional firework sparklers tend to produce ash as they burn. Thankfully, in wedding sparklers, you don’t have to worry about this potentially hazardous side effect.
Whether your guests will be holding wedding sparklers or you plan to use them as a cake topper, you don’t have to worry about ashes running clothing or your cake.
Easier to Photograph
Having a longer burn time allows wedding sparklers ideal for weddings and the photographs of your wedding as well. Having more time means that your wedding photographer has more opportunity to capture the perfect shot during these special moments of your wedding.
Additionally, because wedding sparklers burn brighter, they tend to show up more luminously in photographs.
Wedding sparklers also produce less smoke than traditional firework sparklers, which means the sparkles emitted can be captured that much easier by your photographer, without the worry of haze from smoke.
How to Choose the Perfect Wedding Sparklers
As you can imagine, there are nearly countless options in terms of purchasing wedding sparklers. Because there are so many to choose from, it can become difficult to narrow down your choices.
I want to provide you with a buyer’s guide to figure out how to choose the perfect wedding sparklers for your special day. You want to keep in mind three primary features when selecting your ideal wedding sparklers; quality, size, and quantity.
Often, people mistake pricing for quality. Rather than focusing on either cheap or expensive wedding sparklers, you should shift your attention towards high-quality materials and where to buy sparklers.
While you might pay more for a high-quality wedding sparkler, you can rest assured that the quality is likely to be higher as well. With higher quality, you can anticipate a brighter shine, a longer burn, and a smokeless and ashless burn.
Some of the key features to look out for when considering your wedding sparklers’ quality include details about the core and length.
As I mentioned, wedding sparklers should have a steel wire core. You may be able to find other sparklers that claim to be made for weddings with bamboo or wooden cores, but I promise you it will not be worth the cost savings in the end.
Bamboo or wooden core sparklers will result in more smoke and ashes that will ruin clothing and photographs.
In addition to looking for steel wire cores, you’ll want to make sure that it is strong gauge steel. Some cheaper models are made with less durable steel, but these create flimsy wedding sparklers that can be hazardous to your guests.
In addition to the core compounds, you’ll also want to keep an eye on the length. When I mean length, I am explicitly referring to the length of the flammable mixture.
Long wedding sparklers can be pretty long, but it’s the flammable compound that will account for a longer burn time.
As you begin shopping for different wedding sparklers, you will start seeing that they come in various sizes. While this might make narrowing your decisions down slightly more challenging, this is in your best interest to look into this further.
The answer to the size of your wedding sparklers is not a one-size-fits-all, which is why there are so many different options out there.
When you are trying to determine the size that would work best for your wedding sparklers, you’ll want to consider the number of guests, how long you want them to last, your goals, and the amount of lighting time.
How Long Do Wedding Sparklers Last?
Finding out how long wedding sparklers last is one of the most important things to learn as you shop around. As you will see, different companies have different ranges in terms of their products, but you’ll want to make sure that you find out this information directly from the manufacturer.
Bride Envy offers wedding sparklers in three different sizes, each of which is manually engineered for better photography.
- The 20-inch sparklers have a two-minute burn time
- The 36-inch sparklers have a three to three and a half minute burn time
- The five-minute sparklers are the longest lasting sparklers available on the market
Determining the number of sparklers is going to be similar to the size. It will depend heavily on how you plan to use the sparklers in your wedding.
In my personal opinion, I suggest having more than you think you’ll need to account for any last-minute surprises that might arise on the day of.
Some wedding planners and blogs recommend having multiple sparklers for each guest. While I agree with this, I don’t necessarily think you need to go crazy with the quantity. Have at least one per guest and a handful of extras available for extra photo opportunities.
Luckily, if you happen to have leftovers after your big day, you can always hang onto them for the next big holiday, like the Fourth of July or New Year’s Eve.
Bride Envy provides different sizes of wedding sparklers that all come in boxes of 48.
Best Practices for Wedding Sparklers
Now that you’ve got a better idea of what wedding sparklers are and how to choose the right ones for your wedding, it’s on to some of the day-of details. Let’s get into the best practices for using wedding sparklers.
How To Use Wedding Sparklers
One of the most exciting things about integrating wedding sparklers into your special day is that there are no rules on when and how you can use them. Ultimately, your wedding day is meant to be the day of your dreams, which means decide on how to make your dreams become a reality.
Most frequently, you will see wedding sparklers used to line the path of a wedding send-off, but other happy couples integrate these magical features for moments throughout the reception, including the first dance.
For a modern twist on a wedding tradition, wedding sparklers make a beautiful touch for a flawless send-off. For the guests remaining at the end of the night, have them each hold a sparkler as they clear a pathway for you.
The bride and groom will walk, or run, through this aisle lined by sparklers. The lighting, excitement, and magic brought on by wedding sparklers make this moment one to remember for everyone involved.
You can learn more about how to execute the perfect sparkler send-off in this extensive article.
Another popular way to integrate wedding sparklers into your wedding is to use them for your first dance. Keep in mind that to be able to do this, your venue, or at least your dance floor area, will need to be outdoors for this to remain safe for you and your guests.
Guests will circle the dance floor to enjoy the first dance, as they traditionally do, but with a bonus of holding a wedding sparkler in their hand.
Much like the magic felt with the wedding sparkler send-off, having the addition of wedding sparklers for your first dance makes this moment sparkle.
You will also want to keep in mind that the first dances can be the length, and you will need to find a wedding sparkler that can hold up through the dance. I like the 5-minute radiant wedding sparklers best for first dances because they are the longest lasting.
Wedding Party Introductions
Not all weddings do wedding party introductions, but for those that do add wedding sparklers to this moment can be another beautiful touch. Depending on the size of your wedding party, you’ll have to make sure you find sparklers that will last through all of the introductions.
A fun way to have a lasting moment in your wedding through wedding sparklers is by using them as a cake topper.
The wedding cake is such a magical part of your reception, so why not take it one step further by bringing it with a firework show of its own?
I have also seen people give wedding sparklers away as a favor. While this is a cute touch, it’s not one that I would readily recommend. Especially for those weddings that require travel, keep in mind getting sparklers on an airplane or through customs might be a challenge.
Wedding Sparklers on Display
If you have decided to integrate wedding sparklers in your wedding, I recommend having them out on a display table for your guests to readily accessible when the time is ready. Here are a few essentials that every wedding sparkler display table should include.
A wedding sparkler display table is just one idea. You could choose to have your sparklers on any type of display that matches your wedding theme, including a vintage dresser, bookshelf, or cart.
Holding the Wedding Sparklers
Within your display, you’ll want to make sure you have something to hold the actual wedding sparklers properly, making them easy to grab by your guests.
Details of Event
Most importantly, you’ll want to have some type of signage in place so that your wedding guests are well prompted on the wedding sparklers’ purpose. Include details about what the sparklers are for and what time so that everyone can be on the same page.
Lighting Wedding Sparklers
I can honestly say that I’ve tried every method possible when it comes to lighting wedding sparklers. Matches, grill lighters, you name it, and I’ve tried it. Here is a breakdown of what my favorite method for lighting wedding sparklers is.
Don’t Use Matches
There are several different reasons that matches are not recommended for lighting wedding sparklers. For starters, matches require two hands to light, which makes the whole process instantly more challenging than it needs to be.
Additionally, the flame from matches can be incredibly inconsistent. Trust me when I tell you the last thing you need on your wedding day is for any sort of minor inconsistencies.
Some couples have opted to provide personalized matchbooks as a favor or part of their favor, and while it is a cute idea, it’s not one I best recommend.
Lighting wedding sparklers with matches can be time-consuming and dangerous for your guests. Save the matchbooks to be favors and provide your guests with a different lighting source for your wedding sparklers.
Don’t Use Traditional Lighters
Traditional lighters are one baby-step up from matches, in my book. While they take less time and effort to ignite, the flame can still be quite inconsistent.
Wedding sparklers require high heat to burn correctly, so your guests might experience rogue sparking on their extremities before they can get the sparkler lit perfectly and move it away from their body.
Grill Lighters are Okay
Another step up in terms of lighting wedding sparklers comes from grill lighters. These types of lighters allow more distance away from the flame, allowing your guests to be able to hold the flame over the sparkler longer.
While it is not my favorite method, I’ll admit that grill lighters are probably the second-best alternative in lighting for wedding sparklers.
Butane Torches Are Best
Above all options, I’ve found that the easiest and most effective way to light wedding sparklers is with a butane torch. Not only are they easy to use, but they are also very safe for you and your wedding guests.
Butane torches are designed with a long handle which allows more clearance from the sparkler and your guest. Also, because the flame is much higher and consistent, your guests will be able to light their sparklers much quicker.
One essential element to remember if you choose to purchase butane torches for your guests is that they rarely come filled. Keep a close eye on this and make sure you are buying enough butane fuel along with torches for your wedding.
Maximize Burn Time
The goal of lighting your wedding sparklers is always to maximize the burn time. That way, the sparklers last through all of the special moments without a sense of being rushed. It will also allow for more photo opportunities for you and your guests.
To maximize burn time, it is best to choose one of the recommended lighting options for your wedding sparklers I have mentioned.
As a rule of thumb, you will want to purchase one lighter for every six wedding guests. You can also encourage guests, or have someone do this on your behalf, to light each other’s sparklers with a lit sparkler.
Disposing Wedding Sparklers
Let’s not forget about safely disposing of the wedding sparklers once the moment is over. The safest, most effective way to dispose of wedding sparklers is by having buckets of sand or water readily available.
Don’t worry. We’ll get into all of the finite details of wedding sparkler safety later on in this article.
Photographing Wedding Sparklers
Wedding photography is a detail that should not be overlooked. After your wedding, you will look back on the day as a blur of love and happiness that went by far too quickly. Luckily, we have photographs to reflect on our magic moments and bring us back to these moments throughout our present and futures.
These captured moments can come in all ranges of styles and looks. You can learn all about the essence of stunning wedding photos in this detailed infographic.
That being said, while wedding sparklers add a magical touch to any moment, what’s nearly equally as important is being able to capture that moment through photographs.
Here’s all I’ve come to learn in my experience of photographing wedding sparklers.
Getting Sparklers to Show in Photos
Most professional wedding photographers you will hire will have a good idea of getting wedding sparklers to show in pictures. But, if your wedding sparkler moment is beyond your photographers’ time or you’re looking for some pointers, I’ve collected some of the expert secrets.
Using a Traditional Camera
The Think Make Share blog put out by Hallmark is a tribute to everything in the creative realm. Luckily for us, they have put together some easy-to-follow pointers in shooting wedding sparklers from traditional cameras.
Any professional photographer will tell you that the shutter speed is one of the most crucial elements, especially in terms of wedding sparkler photography.
If you are responsible for picking out the camera for your wedding, make sure you find one that allows you to adjust the shutter speed. This feature shouldn’t be hard to find since it is such a critical element of photography.
Once you have the camera, you should play around with the shutter speed on your own. First, begin by using a shutter speed of three seconds. If the picture is too bright, try two seconds instead. If the picture comes out too dark, try adjusting the shutter speed to four seconds.
Since the shutter speed will need to be longer to perfect the long exposure for the perfect wedding sparkler shot, you will need to have a steady surface to rest your camera.
Although you may not realize it, any slight movement in the camera will cause the image to come out blurry. Movements could be caused by anything even as subtle as the heartbeat of the photographer.
If you cannot find a stable surface, you can always have a tripod ready to go.
When it comes time to focus the image, you’ll want your photographer to focus on the sparklers and not the individuals holding them. Focusing on the wedding sparklers will ensure the image to be crystal clear in the end.
Use a verbal countdown to when you will take the picture. The countdown will help the person or people involved in the image to start at the right moment.
Using a Phone Camera
If purchasing a new camera is out of the question, don’t worry. You can easily use a phone camera to capture some excellent wedding sparkler shots.
Today, a wide range of apps allow you to adjust your smartphone camera’s shutter speed.
Like how you would handle a traditional camera, start with a larger shutter speed and then adjust as you need.
You’ll still want to steady your phone on a flat surface or with a tripod if you are able. This step is not one you want to skip. Trust me on this.
Writing with Wedding Sparklers
You can write or draw out different things with wedding sparklers to make for not only a good time but some spectacular wedding photo opportunities as well.
Here are some of my best recommendations for you if you want to try out some shots with writing or drawing.
Face the Camera
Make sure you are facing the camera directly for the optimal shot.
When you spell out your word or words, make sure you do so in mirror images or backward. When you spell from right to left, the word will come out correctly in the photo.
Write in Cursive
If you are writing out a whole word yourself, it will be easier and faster for you to write in cursive.
Make it a Group Photo
Rather than being rushed by writing out a word on your own, opt to get a whole group involved. When you have a group writing, you can assign one letter to each person for optimal results.
Make sure your hand is in the right place before you get started. This way, you don’t have to worry about any blurred lines in the final picture.
Have a Designated Lighter
Last but not least, whenever you can, designate a person as a lighter. This technique will help you to keep your proper position and align for the most precise image.
All You Need to Know About Wedding Sparkler Safety and Legality
I cannot stress enough the importance of being well educated on wedding sparkler safety and legality. While you want to create lasting memories for you and your guests, most importantly, you want to ensure their safety while they are at your event.
Here are a few pertinent questions you should have the answers to.
Are Wedding Sparklers Safe?
Firework sparklers have been around for hundreds of years, so it’s safe to say that if they were significant safety concerns, they would likely not still be on the market.
Wedding sparklers, in particular, typically have a design that is safer than traditional sparklers, including longer and slower burn times and further distance from the spark to your hands.
That being said, sparklers can be dangerous as they can burn up to 2,000 degrees Fahrenheit. Because of this, it is essential for anyone using a wedding sparkler to do so with caution. It is not recommended for children to use sparklers of any kind.
Can Wedding Sparklers Be Used Indoors?
Some wedding sparklers are entirely smokeless and made with a steel core that can be used indoors. You should never use sparklers with wood or bamboo cores indoors.
Check with your venue and your wedding planner before banking on the ability to use wedding sparklers indoors. Another reason send-offs are a great way to integrate wedding sparklers into your special day is because this can often, this can easily occur outdoors, which is the safest option for everyone.
Can Wedding Sparklers Burn You?
There’s no sense in hiding the truth. Yes, wedding sparklers can burn, which is why they should always be used responsibly by adults only.
A few quick tips to avoid any types of burns associated with wedding sparklers include making sure your guests only hold them by the wire handle and one at a time. Additionally, they should never be lit in another guest’s direction and should be disposed of properly once they are no longer in use.
Can Wedding Sparklers Start a Fire?
Wedding sparklers can start a fire, which is why I stress the importance of handling them with proper fire safety, especially when it comes to their disposal.
Are Wedding Sparklers Legal?
Today, the only state that bans sparklers is Massachusetts. Vermont and Illinois only allow the purchase of sparklers with bamboo or wood cores, which are not recommended for wedding sparklers.
To check if sparklers are legal in your state, you can check the American Pyrotechnics Association website for a complete directory.
The Department of Transportation considers wedding sparklers to be a novelty item, which is why they can be sold and distributed throughout the United States.
In terms of using wedding sparklers in venues, it is best to consult with the venue directly or your wedding planner, just to be sure. Most wedding venues encourage wedding sparklers for send-offs because they are much easier to clean up than some of the other options out there.
Safety Tips for Wedding Sparklers
In my experience and research, these are some of the best safety tips I’ve encountered when it comes to using wedding sparklers:
- Ensure adults are carefully supervising any children
- Make sure everyone has ample space
- Only purchase high-quality wedding sparklers
- Never wave, throw, or run with wedding sparklers
- Always dispose of wedding sparklers properly
Proper Disposal of Wedding Sparklers
The best and safest method for disposing of wedding sparklers that are no longer in use is by submerging them in designated buckets filled with sand or water.
Although you might think that your wedding sparkler is no longer ignited because it is not readily producing sparks, it can still pose a fire threat.
Having the designated disposal buckets set up around the area, you plan to use your wedding sparklers to make it easy for guests to dispose of their sparklers safely.
Wedding sparklers are an excellent way to add a fun and exciting memory to your wedding. Whether you choose to use wedding sparklers at some point during your reception or as a send-off, they serve their purpose and make for magical photo opportunities.
While they can be magnificent additions to your wedding, it is always important to remember to handle them properly and always opt for high-quality sparklers, ensuring the safety of all of your guests.