We’ve all seen those stunning sparkler-saturated send-off images, or the shots of newlyweds riding off in a vintage vehicle toward the sunset...but you may not have realized that so much more goes into executing a wedding send off than just waving goodbye and calling it a night. From ensuring your guests are in the right position to capturing the perfect lighting, if you’re planning on ending your reception with a wedding send off, there are countless details to consider. Below, then, we’re breaking down pro tips for ensuring your goodbye moment is as Kodak-worthy as it is memorable. Read on for our top tips!

 

Consider lighting.


Turns out, capturing the perfect wedding send off requires giving some serious thought to lighting. Josey Meeker Stafford of Sixpence Events puts it this way: "The best time to do a photo worthy wedding send off might not actually be when you're ready to leave. Dusk will be your photographer’s favorite time for sparklers, kabuki streamers, or any car-decorated-drive-away, so think about the timing before you commit. Not only will dusk yield better photos, but your photographer will likely not be staying until last call.”

 

Know what your venue permits.


Some venues won’t allow for anything that could be considered a fire hazard (like sparklers), or decor items that are likely to leave behind a mess for them to clean up (like streamers or confetti). Make sure your wedding planner talks to the venue ahead of time to get a feel for what’s kosher (and what’s not) when it comes to the send off. Had your heart set on sparklers but turns out they’re not permitted? Not to worry! Stafford says, “If your venue doesn't allow sparklers or streamers, I love a last dance wedding send off. Have your DJ announce that all remaining guests should circle up around you and your boo, make the song something special, but something that everyone can belt out the lines to. Once the dance is done, have someone pop on the lights and, gently, kick everyone out to the after party!”

 

Designate the send-off spot ahead of time.


Enlist the help of your wedding planner to designate the perfect wedding send off spot ahead of time. She’ll know to talk to your DJ—and anyone else involved in the send off—to ensure all pros are on the same page when the time comes for the send off. Hayley Luckadoo of Fairytale Pursuits puts it this way: “The most important way to keep a send off organized is by making sure there’s a designated spot ahead of time and that, when the time comes, everyone knows where that spot is. After the last song, the DJ/Band should make an announcement telling everyone where to go, and your planner should already be in that spot ready to hand out the send off items, or direct guests to the table where those are, and then let guests know where to line up.”

 

Use excitement to keep your guests engaged.


By the time you’re ready to execute your wedding send off, everyone may be a bit—shall we say?—boozed up. It’s important to keep their attention, and the best way to do so is by harnessing all of that playfulness and excitement that’s already in the room. Luckadoo says, “Usually, the DJ continuing to get everyone excited about the send off makes people move a little faster, and the faster everyone gets lined up, the easier it is to keep everyone where they’re supposed to be!” Make sure you choose a DJ or band who can really play into the energy of the room and harness that energy to get all of your guests lined up and ready for the send off in a timely manner. (Psst...wondering whether a DJ or a band is the right choice for engaging your guests for the send off? Read our breakdown on weddings bands versus DJs here!)


Photo courtesy Twin Hearts Photography