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  • Writer's pictureTamara Merri

Wedding Exit Ideas

Ten Wedding Exit Ideas

couple leaving wedding through tunnel of sparklers

Related Blog: Villa Antonia Wedding

What is a wedding exit?

So you've planned all the elements of your wedding day, but have you planned how you'll end your night?

Picture this: you and your friends have bounced and scream sang on the dance floor for several hours and then the DJ announces that it's the last song of the night.

You probably dance your heart out hugging your people while soaking in the final moments. Then the music stops and the light comes on. The event is over and your coordinator tells you that everyone needs to leave.

How do you get them out? Let me present: the wedding exit.

A coordinated wedding exit is the perfect opportunity to have your DJ ask all of your guests to head out of the reception hall to 1) get everyone out in an organized fashion and 2) have a fun send off to cap the day off with one last special moment.

Many exits are like this: your guests line up across from each other to form a "tunnel" of sorts. Then, you and your partner pass through that tunnel! It can be a fun photo opp if your photographer stays until the end of the night.

Many couples head right to the getaway car from the exit but even if you have an after party and you're not saying goodbye, it's a good way to get everyone from the reception to the afterparty in an organized fashion.

What is a 'fake exit'?

If you don't want your photographer to stay until the end of the night, you can ask for a "fake exit". This is when you'll head outside with your wedding party and immediate family (or, whoever you want) during your reception to take a few fun photos of you running through sparklers or bubbles or rose petals or confetti or whatever you have in mind before heading back into your party. This also a good opportunity to take some nighttime photographs before your photographer leaves!

Ten wedding exit ideas:

  1. Sparkler Exit

  2. Glow Sticks

  3. Rose Petals / dried flowers

  4. Confetti

  5. Rice

  6. Bubbles

  7. LED Balloons

  8. Streamers

  9. Chinese Lanterns

  10. Cell Phone Flashlight

1. Sparkler Exit

The sparkler exit is the most popular, but actually banned in some states due to fire laws. It's cool but it's the most eye catching as it's legit fire. It lights up the night while other exit ideas might not be as sparkly (lol).

While they're cool, they're also the most dangerous! Drunk wedding guests plus fire doesn't always result in the best outcome. I've had people's hair and skin get singed and holes burned into dresses. But hey, if it's done well (aka if you have a coordinator to ensure it runs smoothly) then it's awesome!! Repeat after me: "hold your sparklers UP NOT OUT!"

Pro tip: The sparklers need to be lit at the same time if possible so one side of the "tunnel" doesn't burn out before the couple has a chance to run through. I suggest putting candles along the pathway so guests can light sparklers from the candles rather than using a lighter. Don't forget water buckets to put the sparklers in after they're used.

sparkler exit at wedding

2. Glow Sticks

So your venue doesn't allow sparklers but you still want something that lights up? Glow sticks can be a good option! They're a little harder to photograph than sparklers as it requires a "slow shutter" to capture them well (especially if flash is being used). Make sure your photographer has experience with this if you plan to proceed with this idea!

glow stick wedding exit
new years eve wedding with confetti, glow sticks, and balloons falling at midnight

Related Blog: NYE Wedding

3. Rose Petals

Rose petals are a super beautiful way to commemorate leaving your wedding ceremony as you walk back down the aisle. Having guests throw petals is a fun twist to a flower girl. Not only are they romantic, but they're naturally biodegradable.

flower petal toss at wedding ceremony

4. Confetti

Confetti is such a great exit idea as it is light and wispy and can take on a life of it's own as it falls. Make sure you either have a clean up crew on standby or that you use biodegradable confetti!

confetti toss after city hall wedding ceremony

confetti pop for wedding exit at end of reception

5. Rice

It is traditional in some cultures to throw rice over the couple after their wedding ceremony. this can be a fun one but messy for hairstyles! For the below photo we were picking rice out of their hair all day hahaha. While it makes for a fun photo and experience, please make sure to read rules and guidelines for where you get married to see if this is allowed.

throwing rice over couple after wedding ceremony

6. Flags

Flags can be a cool send-off idea whether the flag represents a country or just has something written on them like "Mr & Mrs" and "Congrats". Below, Jodi and Rob passed out little American flags for their Labor Day wedding. This would also work if the couple had a military affiliation.

American flag send-off after wedding ceremony

7. Bubbles

Similarly to glow sticks, bubbles can be quite difficult to photograph in the dark if you're using them at a night reception. The photographer will need to backlight the scene (behind the couple exiting) in order to showcase the bubbles. Guests can blow bubbles from wands, but in order to have an impressive number of bubbles in the scene I definitely recommend getting a bubble machine! Sometimes those pesky bubble wants can prove difficult to yield good bubbles.

8. LED Ballons

Imagine a pathway lined with gorgeous LED balloons and lit up strings?! SO romantic!

LED Balloons

9. Chinese Lanterns

I have yet to see this at a wedding yet but I think it's a super cool idea. It might not be possible at large weddings since it'd require a LOT of lanterns. But for a micro-wedding it's be such a sweet sentiment to end the night writing a wish / hope / dream on a lantern and either letting it float up into the sky or drift off into the water.

10. Cell Phone Flashlight

Have you ever been in a stadium when all the guests turn on their phone flashlight? It's actually kind of magical! So this could be a cool free option to have all your guests shine light on you as you depart your wedding. OR it could be a cool last dance idea if all of your guests surround you in a circle while you share a romantic "last dance" at your wedding.

Have an idea that I didn't include here? Leave a comment and let me know!

xx, Tam

Tamara Merri Photography


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I'm Tamara!

I'm a Massachusetts wedding & elopement photographer. I'm the voice behind this blog and the girl behind the camera. 

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