It has come to my attention that there is quite a bit of misunderstanding and lack of knowledge about sparklers. I would like to address that today.
First, when you are buying sparklers for a wedding send off, buy ones that are at least 20 inches long. You will often see them labeled as “20inch”, 20″, NO.20. Eight and ten inch ones are the kind that you buy in the grocery stores around 4th of July that last less than 20 seconds. Do yourself a favor and please please please do not try to save money and buy these. You will be disappointed.
Typically sparklers that are 20 inches long last 1 and a half minutes (give or take 5-10 seconds). From my personal experience and from what I have been told by wedding venues, planners and photographers, this is ample time to get all the sparklers lit and for the bride and groom to walk underneath them. It does take some organization and someone announcing where to locate the sparklers and where to line up for the send off. Ideally, the person organizing the send off would be the photographer, DJ or a groomsman.
There are also 36 inch sparklers. These last between 3 minutes 15 seconds and 3 minutes 30 seconds. These sparklers are great when you have 100+ people participating in the send off. The more people, the more time it takes to get all the sparklers lit. So the 36 inch ones give that extra time.
Whatever size you choose, always make sure you are getting gold, metal sparklers. What exactly does that mean?
Gold is the natural color of sparklers. This means nothing is added to the sparkler to make it color. Some brides think “it will be fun to have pink, blue or green sparklers”. Those sparklers have added chemicals to make those colors so they smoke really bad. Smoke does not make for great send off pictures.
Metal handle and metal core are ideal for wedding send offs. There are sparklers out there made of bamboo or wood that advertise that they are “wedding” sparklers and they are safer. However, when woods burns, it causes embers and ashes. Those embers drop off and potentially on dresses, suits, veils, etc. The wood also causes a lot of smoke, which again, does not make for good, clear pictures. When the metal ones are lit, only the part that produces the gold sparks burns. You are left with a long 20 inch metal stick. Unlike the wood, the metal does not burn so no smoke. Yes, you do need to be prepared with a 5 gallon bucket that you can collect all the metal sticks and just toss the entire thing after the send off.
Also, make sure you are not buying “Morning glory” sparklers. These are sparklers wrapped in paper. I am not sure what purpose the paper is supposed to serve, but they are the worst sparkler for weddings. Usually they are made of wood, so the combination of wood and the paper make for such a tremendous amount of smoke.
You will be much happier with your send off if you are not worried about your dress or hair catching fire and you are not having to deal with smoke in your face and eyes and crappy pictures.
Confession, when I first started this business, I contacted one of our fireworks distributors. I told my sales rep that I needed 50+ cases of wedding sparklers. I did not realize at this time the huge difference between metal and wood sparklers. They have a product called a No20 Wedding sparkler. When I received all these cases and opened them up, I was in for a huge shock. They were not the gold, metal handle that I was expecting. They were 20 inch, paper wrapped, wood handle sparkler named “No20. wedding sparkler”. Uh oh. I tried one out hoping for the best, but it was a no go. My entire garage was full of smoke and the stick bent in half when the wood was burning. There was no way I could consciously sell these to brides getting married. It was a very expensive learning curve.
I would encourage everyone to do their homework before buying any sparklers. I am here as a resource if anyone needs any help or has any questions. Visit www.utahsparklers.com to contact me or to order any sparklers.