Today I wanted to share a few tips about something I've never really talked about... the wedding exit! Traditionally, the wedding exit is all the guests lining up to send off the bride and groom at the end of the night. But I've noticed that sometimes the exit doesn't go according to plan. Here's why:
- Many guests have already left. While wedding invitations list a start time, they don't usually give an end time for the event. So guests just leave when they get tired or when the party is over! And often times, the guest count has dwindled down to less than half the original group by the time the bride and groom are ready for their exit.
- Sparklers can be dangerous. At the end of the night, many of your guests have probably had a good bit to drink, and the last thing you want to do is hand them fire (aka sparklers). Many venues forbid sparklers for (I'm assuming) this very reason. They don't want to be liable if someone is injured or if someone's property is damaged.
- Other exit items aren't easy to see at night. Most venues don't have a lot of exterior lighting, so it can be difficult for guests to see or for the camera to capture the exit. This is why photographers recommend sparklers and why so many brides want to have them.
But here's a new idea...
A couple of my brides have actually planned their 'exit' for the ceremony time, and I thought it was a great idea! You could either have your guests throw bubbles/confetti/rose petals right after your first kiss (have them pick this up before the ceremony with their program) or have your guests line up on the stairs of the church to send you off.
I love this idea for several reasons. First, all of your guests get to take part, because the ceremony has just taken place. That means your 4 year old flower girl and elderly relatives will still be there. Second, you can choose any exit you want (as long as the venue permits it). Rose petals and confetti will look beautiful in the daylight. And if you don't want things being thrown at you, you can give guests bells to ring or ribbon wands to wave. (Megan and Ryan even had monogrammed towels for guests to wave which gave a nod to their love of sports while still fitting the formality of their wedding.) And from a photography stand point, we can take advantage of both the natural light and the fact that everybody still looks beautiful (and hasn't been on the dance floor for the past three hours)! This is also a good option if your photography coverage will end before the reception is over.
If you decide to have your exit at the end of the night, I recommend having a sign near the bar or seating chart that says what time the exit will be. Now if the exit is at 11 pm and your grandma was planning to head out by 9:30, she probably won't stick around another hour and a half. But a sign will prevent a good number of guests from unknowingly leaving 20 minutes before your exit, and you'll have more people to help send you off.
What's the best wedding exit you've ever seen? I'd love to hear about it in the comments!