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Today we are talking about a pretty uncommon topic, and one that is often an afterthought in the planning process. How will you end your wedding day? 

After a beautiful ceremony, a delicious dinner, and before your guests (and the photographer) start filtering out, there’s one more thing you want to capture – your final send-off!

But what should your send-off look like? Is rice too old-fashioned? Are sparklers too dangerous? Do we need the photographer to be here the whole night just for one last picture?

Here are some ideas for creative send offs, and a few things to keep in mind. 

Home » Blog » Podcast » The Big Finale – 6 Ideas for Your Wedding Day Send Off!

Our personal favorite!

A private last dance before a big send off is, in our opinion, a beautiful way to end the evening. 

How it works is: you ask all of the guests to line up outside for the big send off, then shut the doors so you and your new spouse can enjoy one last perfect moment together. 

All the stress of planning is gone, you are still dressed up, and you can enjoy the final bit of the day where you either dance to your first dance again or you have another special song that you love. 

It’s a really special moment that ends in all of your guests sending you off to start your life together! Also, the private last dance and the send off outside are both excellent opportunities for some beautiful photos!

For even more ideas for your wedding, check out this post – Fun Wedding Ideas From Start to Finish!

wedding last dance
Photo by Jeff Kweba on Unsplash

 Send off idea #1: Sparklers

Sparklers are by far the most popular option for a send off, and with good reason. Not only do they make for absolutely fantastic photos, but they are a relatively inexpensive and simple way to add a glamorous touch to the end of your night.  

Sparklers also work great because they show up beautifully in dark photos!

How to use them: 

Your photographer can catch a photo of you walking through them with all of your family and friends surrounding you, or even get you to stop mid aisle and do a quick “dip and a kiss” shot.

Whatever you do, sparkler photos always look so joyous and are the perfect way to capture the moment. 

What to watch for:

Before settling on sparklers, check with your venue. Because they are a potential fire hazard, some venues don’t allow the use of sparklers. It’s usually not an issue because they are pretty mild as far as pyrotechnics go, but it’s worth double checking. 

When choosing sparklers, we recommend at least a 20 inch sparkler to make sure they burn long enough for all of the photos to be taken. 

Lighting the sparklers: Traditional lighters and matches don’t always work great for lighting the sparklers. The butane torch lighters work great, and when you have the person at one end light theirs with a lighter, they can go down the line, lighting the sparklers using the already lit ones. 

Sparklers do take a bit of orchestration for the best results. This can be difficult at the end of the night when guests are tired and possibly tipsy. Have your wedding planner or a trusted friend get in the middle of the crowd and shout the instructions to make sure everyone is on the same page:

  • Don’t light your sparkler until the orchestrator says so
  • Hold your sparkler up and out, away from everyone’s hair (especially the couple!)
  • Don’t play with lit sparklers (no flaming sword fights!)
  • After the sparkler send off, place all of the sparklers in a metal bucket with sand to safely put them out and cool them off
spakler send off
Photo by Fábio Alves on Unsplash

Send off idea #2: LED wands

These fantastic little wands look like a little pool noodle. They move and dance different colors, have 3 settings, and the best part is, you don’t have to wait until the send off, you can bring them out earlier in the night during the dance party!

LED wands are different from the glow sticks that you have to crack and shake. Instead they have a tab that you pull out to get them glowing. They are just a lot of fun and everybody loves it when they come out!

What to watch for:

Once you bust these babies out, you will probably get mobbed if you try to hand them out. We like to just put them in baskets or buckets like these, and set them where people can easily access them.

To help save time and effort during the reception, take them out of all their packaging beforehand so that all you have to do to get them glowing is pull the tab. 

Send off idea #3: Bubbles

Bubbles are a classic, wonderful choice for a send off, especially if it’s during the day. 

If your send off will be in the dark, bubbles can still work though. Most photographers know how to get creative with the lighting so they show up well in photos. 

What to watch for: 

Some venues ban bubbles because of the hard to clean mess they can cause

If you are doing your send off indoors, bubbles will make the floor really slippery, so just check with them first to make sure it’s ok to use them. 

The tiny little bubble containers that are made for weddings tend to create microscopic little bubbles that won’t be seen very well in photos. Consider getting a bubble machine to help supplement the amount the guests produce. It just helps give that really dramatic bubble effect. 

Send off idea #4: The faux send off

The faux send off is when you stage the send off photos before the end of the night, and then get back to the reception after. 

Couples opt to do a faux send off for a couple of reasons:

  1. The photographer may have to leave
  2. They want to get the photos before certain guests leave or get overly tired

What to watch for:

The dance party runs on momentum, and it can be difficult to restart the dancing and get that level of energy back once everyone has left the party for the fake send off. 

There is a happy medium though! We like to grab a group of the guests that you really want in the send off photo: parents, bridal party, etc, and take the faux send off photo with just them. That way, the DJ doesn’t announce it, the party doesn’t have to stop, it’s easier to organize, and you still end up with gorgeous send off photos!

Send off idea #5: The ceremony send off

Instead of, or in addition to doing an end of the evening send off, some couples opt for a ceremony send off!

This works well, especially if you are using bubbles or flower petals for your send off photos, because they can be seen more easily in the daylight. 

Add a special touch to the decor by setting the bubble containers on individual chairs, or have a basket of them at the entrance for guests to grab on their way in.  

What to watch for: 

Have your DJ or officiant make an announcement before the ceremony starts so that guests know what the bubbles are for and when to use them. “Please don’t blow bubbles during the ceremony, we will make an announcement when it’s time”, for example. It’s also a good time to let them know whether you will be blowing bubbles/throwing petals for the recession down the aisle or waiting until you get outside. 

Be prepared to clean up if you are using fake or real flower petals. Hire or assign someone to clean them up as soon as possible after the ceremony so they don’t get smashed into the floor. 

Send off idea #5: Balloons or streamers

Balloons and streamers are popular choices for send offs. They can be really fun and make for fantastic photos when done right! 

ballon send off
Photo by Álvaro CvG on Unsplash

What to watch for

Both balloons and streamers have the potential to make big messes. One of the biggest things to keep in mind is to not use helium balloons that will get released into the sky. 

Some couples are using LED balloons recently. They are a bit more expensive, but they look really cool in photos. 

To keep the streamer mess a little more under control, you can use streamers on a stick, or try streamer shooting  sticks or rings that keep the streamer attached for easier clean up after they are set off. 

Send off idea #6: Tortillas

Ok, now this one is definitely silly. We don’t know the exact backstory, but it started at Texas Tech football games and basketball games, where they would throw tortillas. One day it  just migrated over to their weddings as a bit of a tradition that is always a good time!

Do you to the max as best you can

We understand that planning your wedding is overwhelming at times, and we hoped that these ideas would help make your decisions easier. 

As much as you can during the planning process, try to block out all of the opinions that are coming at you, look at your fiance and the two of you figure it out. Do you to the max as best you can. We know it’s easier said than done in some scenarios, but in the end, it is your day and you will not regret staying true to what you and your partner want. 

wedding last dance
Photo by Gavin Penor on Unsplash

If you would like some unbiased guidance as you go, we offer virtual wedding planning services and resources for every budget on our website and would love to help! You can also find a wealth of tips and ideas on your blog, like this post, 10 commonly asked wedding planning questions, answered.

Happy wedding planning! 

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The Big Finale – 6 Ideas for Your Wedding Day Send Off!



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