If you read this blog at all regularly, then you already know that I'm a huge fan of sparklers for the big wedding sendoff. They're so festive and dramatic and... well, sparkly! What's not to love?
Sparklers aren't always an option, though. Some localities' fire codes prohibit sparklers except at certain times of year, and some venues don't allow them because they can pose a fire hazard. Even if your city or county and your venue allow sparklers, weather around the time of your wedding might mean a burn ban is imposed, which would of course mean no sparklers as well.
As awesome as sparklers are, it's still good to have a few other really fun options in mind, so here are some of our favorites. You'll notice that none of these are things your guests toss. We'll talk tossing ideas in a future post, but for today I wanted to stick with things that remain in your guests' hands (or disappear, like bubbles) so they don't leave a mess to clean up.
Ribbon wands are just what they sound like: A wand (okay, really a short dowel) with ribbons attached to the end. Like most things wedding-related, they're available for purchase; however, they're also a fantastic DIY project if you're so inclined.
Have your ribbon wands waiting for your guests near the exit of your venue, direct each guest to take one, then have everybody line up along your exit path and wave their ribbons to see you off.
rolls of streamers
I think of wedding streamers as what ribbon wands want to be when they grow up. They're long, narrow streamers -- usually made of tissue paper -- rolled up and secured so they don't unfurl until your guests release them. The best ones have a finger loop attached so they're easy for your guests to unroll without accidentally tossing the whole thing at you.
These are the one item on this list that might require some cleanup, because the tissue paper is of course fragile and will tear off if you or somebody else steps on it. These long tissue ribbons, though, are a lot easier to sweep up than something tiny like confetti or petals.
pennants or flags
Flags and pennants are so much fun, and they're infinitely customizable! Getting married on a patriotic weekend? Give your guests little American flags! Proud of your home states? Use state flags instead. Or flags of your alma maters. Or favorite sports teams. Or... You get the idea!
Not into any of those? How about flags with custom messages like the ones pictured above, flags with your names or monogram, or even just plain or patterned fabric flags that coordinate with your wedding theme? Whatever you choose, your guests will have fun waving them as you exit the reception.
Balloons get kind of a bad rap -- I think they feel more like a prom decoration than like grownup wedding decor to a lot of people -- but used right, they can be charming for weddings too! Massed sculptures of balloons? No. But individual balloons lining your path as you make your wedding getaway? How sweet! Plus, we love that it's so easy to get balloons that will complement your wedding color palette.
Balloons aren't usually a budget-breaker, and recreating this getaway is as easy as having your local balloon company make a delivery of enough balloons that each guest can have one. Tie them down until the end of the reception, then have your wedding coordinators hand one to each guest as they prepare to see you off into married life. Just be sure your guests know not to release them. No need to litter or endanger wildlife.
For an evening getaway where you want to bring in some light, like you would with sparklers, but you need something that doesn't involve flame, glow sticks are a great way to go! They're very inexpensive and easy to operate, and they're long-lasting so the pressure on your photographer to get The Shot before everything burns out is nonexistent.
We prefer the long, bendy kind pictured above to the short stubby ones. Order enough that each guest can have three or four to wave. Your exit will come to life with fun swirls of color popping out of the dark.
Bubbles are such a classic, and for good reason. I have yet to see a couple who doesn't burst into huge grins when they come out the doors of their venue and see their wall of bubbles, and guests love getting them just as much. Plus they make for such pretty photographs of your big exit!
My favorite bubbles are the ones pictured above, which came from Oriental Trading Company. They're inexpensive and the little bottles are pretty enough that they don't need any additional decoration. Just have your wedding coordinator arrange them near the venue's exit for your guests to pick up as they head outside to see you off. Don't put them out too early, or your guests might unwittingly blow all the bubbles before the reception's over!