Planning Your Wedding Send-off

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Your wedding send-off can be one of the most memorable moments of your wedding day, and the perfect way to go out with a bang…sometimes literally. They’re also a great way to get some pretty epic photos—we’ve all seen those amazing shots of couples running through a line of sparklers at night. There’s a reason it’s one of the most iconic wedding photos.

There’s more to the wedding send-off than just sparklers, so I’ve decided to jot down a couple of my favorite send-offs, along with some things you should definitely take under consideration when planning your big exit. I hope this helps!

Types of Wedding Send-off

They type of wedding send-off you choose can depend on a variety of factors, such as the weather, the time of day, and venue (we’ll get to this later). The middle of the day might not be the best time for sparklers, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t a bunch of other, equally great, options.

Keep in mind that these work for both the exit from the wedding ceremony, as well as the reception. However, some are more traditionally meant for one or the other. Also, just because I’ve said something works best during the day, doesn’t mean it’s not the perfect nighttime wedding send-off for you!

Daytime Wedding Send-off Ideas

  • Birdseed or Rice (the more traditional options)
  • Balloons
  • Confetti or confetti poppers
  • Ribbon wands
  • Bubbles
  • Flower petals
  • Flags
  • Leaves
  • Streamers
  • Wedding bells or cow bells
  • Glitter
  • Butterflies
  • Smoke bombs
  • Silly string

Nighttime Wedding Send-off Ideas

  • Sky lanterns
  • Glow sticks or LED light sticks
  • Sparklers
  • Fireworks
  • Sequins

Wedding Send-off Considerations

There are a lot of things that can impact the type of wedding send-off you choose. As you can tell from above, time of day is one of them. Sparklers look best at night, and you wouldn’t be able to see butterflies in the dark. Some send-offs—like wedding or cow bells—work just as well no matter the time of day.

But the time of day isn’t the only thing that can impact your send-off, so be sure to consider all of the factors below:

The Venue

I don’t just mean which send-off might look best with the venue, or fit your theme better (although this is important). Sometimes venues and cities have rules against certain send-offs, such as sparklers or fireworks. And honestly, if you think your entire wedding party might be drunk by the time you leave, maybe it’s best to leave the explosives at home.

Additionally, you should definitely check the venue’s opening hours. According to this article by Wedding Wire, “One thing couples often forget to check is their venue’s shut-down time. Find out when the event needs to be over, as well as when all vendors need to be packed up and off the premises…Then count backwards from there to ensure your reception ends in time to accommodate your send-off.”

The Photographer

Half the point of having a grand exit is the photos. If the photographer isn’t there, did it even happen? Most photographers contracts don’t last the entire night, and many will leave halfway through the dancing. To ensure you get those photos, you may need to extend the contract (although this can be fairly pricey). Another option is to do a “fake” send-off halfway through the reception, and then go back in to enjoy the rest of the party. It’s a bit anticlimactic, but it will save you a ton of money.
Also, according to the same Wedding Wire article, “If you have pros capturing the moment, make sure they know what to expect. Share what will be happening, where, and when so your photographer and videographer can scout the area and determine the best way to capture it.

The Environment

Some send-offs aren’t great for the environment. If this is something that matters to you, then maybe lanterns aren’t the best choice for your wedding send-off. In fact, many venues will prohibit send-offs that aren’t eco-friendly (which is why checking with your venue is the first thing you should do).

Certain send-offs, such as glow sticks and ribbon wands are much easier to collect after the party is done. Glitter? Not so much.

Do you have a creative send-off that I didn’t mention in this article? Comment below!

Tired of constantly having to make decisions while planning your wedding? Check out this article about fighting wedding planning fatigue.