Tips for making your grand exit one to remember.

This story first appeared in the Spring/Summer 2020 issue of Columbus Weddings, published December 2019.

You’ve said “I do” and shared the last dance; now it’s time for you and your spouse to ride off into a future of wedded bliss. A grand getaway ends the night on a high note, creates share-worthy wedding shots and gives your guests a chance to cheer you on into happily ever after. Local wedding industry veterans share their insights on grand exits and grand exit strategies, from the theatrical to the personal.

“More planning goes into a grand exit than most couples expect,” says Michelle Richey, wedding planner at Devoted to Details. “You have to consider the flow of the party, the venue and logistics.”

For daytime weddings, eco-friendly confetti, fragrant herbs and streamers create a simple and stunning exit. You can minimize clean-up with clutter-free alternatives like ribbons, pennants and bubbles.

“Pennants and ribbons are becoming more popular,” says Angela Rulli, an event specialist with Together & Company and High Line Car House. “They are light, easy and add a pop of color to your wedding photos.”

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After dark, extra-long sparklers, glow sticks and other luminous items guarantee a jaw-dropping photo op.

“Sparklers are really popular, because there is so much you can do with them to get a great shot,” says wedding photographer Hillary Ferguson.

But before you go on a Pinterest frenzy, discuss limitations with your venue and wedding planner. Many venues won’t allow paper lanterns or sparklers for safety reasons; some prohibit tossing confetti and other items. To minimize stress, Rulli suggests leaving coordination of your chosen exit accent to the professionals.

“Let them worry about the setup,” she says. “That way, you can enjoy your day and get amazing photos.”

If you’re more interested in a grand photo than a grand exit, Richey suggests staging a faux exit photo-op. It will keep the flow of the party moving and save money by allowing your photographer to leave before the party’s actually over.

“Gather a few select people for the photo and plan it at the rehearsal dinner. Let the photographer know and get the shot while the rest of the party is still continuing,” Richey says. Your wedding party and immediate family members are a good start; add in other close family and friends to get the desired group size and effect.

If you opt for a staged exit that includes all your guests, you’ll need to get them back into the party mood after you get the shot.

“Announce that a food station will be open or cocktail hour will begin after the photo,” Rulli says. You also could instruct your DJ to play a popular line dance or Top 40 hit to get folks back on the dance floor.

Whether you decide on a grand production or a more personal affair, start your future together with a grand ending to your special day.

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