Originally published April 2015 // Updated February 2021
There are a few common questions we hear during the planning process with our brides, and brainstorming send-off ideas is definitely one of them! For a long time, sparklers were the most popular wedding send-off strategy. With more and more venues nixing permission to use sparklers with their guests, brides are looking for exit alternatives.
Brides often ask us what will photograph well. That’s such a great question! For us, we use our own lighting system that allows us to create well-lit images outside after dark. Even if you’re using bubbles or confetti, we’ll be able to capture it. You don’t want it to be pitch-black outside for the sake of both your guests and your photographers, but even just the ambient light from street lights or your venue will be enough.
Whether you want classic or creative, there’s a send-off design out there for you! Here are some of our favorite send-off ideas through the years. Browse through these creative exits to find the perfect fit for your wedding day vision!
Bubbles are classic. Glimmering, incandescent, and dreamy, they’ve been a send-off go-to for a long time. The best thing about bubbles is that they’re very inexpensive, easy to use, and leave nothing to clean up afterward.
Want to level up your bubble game? Try out these light-up LED bubble guns. If you hit the season just right (think spring), you can also order inexpensive bubble guns from Target or other discount stores.
2. Ribbon Wands
Also known as streamers or wedding wands, these make a fun and festive way to head off toward your honeymoon! They are completely customizable with color, size, and length. They are a fun bonus wedding favor for your guests!
Consider these popular ribbon wand ideas:
You could also use a twist on this with customized mini flags or pennants. The options literally are endless in this category.
Lavender send-offs are so romantic! Just fill little sachets with the sweet aroma of delicate purple lavender blooms. It makes the air smell amazing! They’re soft and blow away nicely in the breeze.
Not a fan of lavender? You can toss any dried flower or herb! If we had to go back and do it again, I’m pretty certain Joel would vote for rosemary.
If you’re planning a fall celebration, using leaves is an out-of-the-box idea for you! Not only are the leaves totally free to collect, but you’ll also be free from the hassle of picking them up afterward. And who wouldn’t enjoy tossing a handful of leaves?
Tip: Make sure your leaves are completely dry before you pack them up.
Glow sticks add a whole lot of fun! They’re bright and full of life. Colors are customizable, so you can either mix and match or stick with a single color. If you go for glow sticks, we recommend finding some that are at least a foot long. The short glow sticks are less fun for your guests to wave around.
If you don’t love the idea of sticks waving, have your guests turn them into circles with the little connector piece and toss glowing circles your way.
These are a unique alternative to the classic sparkler. There are all kinds of shapes and styles to check out. Along with various wand styles, there’s a whole collection of LED-lit products out there to consider. If you want something unique with a nod to the sparkler glow, this is one of my favorites!
Another classic, flower petals fill the air with color and scent! You can opt for traditional rose petals or whimsical snapdragons. If the petals aren’t heavy enough to toss far, instruct your guests to blow the delicate petals like confetti instead.
Want to level up? Toss whole flower blooms instead! You might not want to be bombarded by a few dozen full-size roses, so scout out a more delicate flower bloom to toss.
Most venues no longer allow you to toss traditional confetti, but there are some great biodegradable options out there! From snowflake vibes to dried floral lookalikes, there is no end to amazing confetti options that won’t hurt the environment.
Read more: The 9 Dos and Don’ts of Eco-Friendly Confetti Tosses by catalyst wedding co.
These lanterns are one of the most romantic send-offs we’ve seen. They float away in fairy tale magic, like whispers of light floating off to forever. Not all venues allow these, so definitely check with your venue coordinator before ordering a hundred of these. Know that there are environmental and fire concerns with some lantern types, so just think this one though if you want the romance of floating lanterns!
Something else you may want to consider is limiting the lanterns to family or bridal party. Give your guests bubbles, confetti, or something else to toss while the lanterns float up in the air. As romantic as lanterns are, simple is the way to go here.
Tip: Have a couple of your bridesmaids and groomsmen practice with these beforehand. They can be a little tricky to set up and light if you’re not familiar with how they work! Have enough practiced people to help your guests get theirs set up and lit.
None of our couples have done this (yet), but I think it would be such a unique idea. They’re easy to pick up afterward and won’t be too uncomfortable as they come whizzing toward you. Intimidated by the thought of hand-crafting 200 paper airplanes yourself? You can find customized ones on Etsy.
If you are going the sparkler route, here are two things to remember! You want to choose long-lasting sparklers, not the standard 4th of July style. The short ones risk burning out before the last of them are even lit! You also want to be sure your guests have enough space in your exit location to leave enough room for you to walk down without getting too close to the flames.
Our friends at Metropolitan DJ light up the night with their special effect options! From cold spark effects (see below!) to confetti cannons, they’ll be your dream team for adding flair to your grand exit.
Layer these effects with your bubbles, flower petals, or paper airplanes to make an impact that lasts!
Flower petals, whirly-gigs, sequins, beach balls, dried herbs, rainbow sprinkles…..the options are endless! Whichever way you decide to make your escape, you’ll be on the way to the rest of your lives together. Savor these amazing ending memories of your wedding day!
Have any of you seen a brilliant send-off idea? Tell us about it in the comments below!
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