It's very popular in the US to send off the guests with sparklers at the end of the wedding. The UK wedding schedules are a bit different. This is why I wrote this post for UK couples. If you are interested in a sparkler group shot at the reception, please read on.
There are some things you need to do in order to get the best results. The article also contains useful information for photographers about legalities and lighting.
1 - Forgetting to ask the permission of the wedding venue.
Some venues will not allow sparklers due to insurance reasons. It is best to obtain permission before you start. National Trust venues might require a risk assessment. It's important to speak with both your photographer and the venue well in advance to make sure all paperwork is completed before your wedding. To minimize risk to guests, there will be safety and health precautions. It is a good idea to have a group photo with sparklers at your wedding, however alcohol and fire don't mix well. So bare that in mind when you give them out to your guests.
2 - Buying the Wrong Sparklers
Sparklers that advertise themselves as "Wedding Sparklers" are often quite short ones. However, you will need extra-long, slow burning sparklers. Your photographer will have more time to capture the shot this way, plus the longer length keeps the sparklers away from the dresses. You should look for sparklers that have a minimum burn time of 1 minute.
3 - Forgetting to Talk to Your Photographer in Advance
This is not the kind of photo you want to have your photographer take at 5 minutes notice. Off-camera flash or contact video lights produce the best results, in my opinion. This means that flashguns are attached to the camera with stands or other accessories. Radio triggers are required for this method to work. These are not all used by photographers. It's important to let the photographer know if you would like a sparkler shot so they are able to organise it the best way for the situation and guests you have included.
4 - Using Matches
It is probably not a good idea to light a sparkler using matches. They are not long enough, they don't work well, and they don't heat up fast enough. Not to mention in the winter hands are cold and it may be blowing a gale so doesn't make for easy lighting of sparklers. It is best to have all the sparklers lit at the same time (but not exactly the same), and that the ignition is away from the clothing of guests (and the bride's) wedding dresses. as possible. The best solution to light sparklers is to use a blow touch. Your venue may have one that they use in the kitchen, so make sure that you ask them, or buy one. You should designate two people to help your guests light their sparklers and that shouldn't be you. Children of course should be helped by responsible adults.
5 - Not Planning Your Sparkler Photograph Around Sunset
The final look you want for your wedding sparkler photos will determine the best time. I prefer to take a sparkler photo at dusk rather than after dark. There are a few reasons why this is so! First, I think deep blue skies and ambient light on faces make a great combination. Second, it is safer to take the photo early in the evening, since guest maybe little more sober. My advice is also that sparklers should be shot before the first dance and after the cake cutting. This is because once you have danced, removing people from your dance floor with like the atmosphere of your party, and believe me guests done always take to kindly to be asked to go and stand in the cold. You may want to consider just having your bridal party with you while you do sparklers. Trying to light 120 guest sparklers on a cold November night could end up being deflating. Keep it small and fun! But most of all are sure you guests know what time it's happening.