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The “Grand Exit” is essentially the time when the reception has come to a close, and the guests line up outside to wish them well on their honeymoon and life to come, usually symbolizing their goodwill in the form of throwing something at their faces, such as rose petals or confetti. I have seen a lot of interesting grand exits, ranging from kazoo playing to sparklers (a big favorite here in Texas) to bubbles to wands with long ribbons tied to the end. I love these grand exits because they give the night a sense of “conclusion” and allow everyone to feel like they said goodbye to the couple without all having to line up and actually say goodbye.

Unfortunately, most grand exits come at the very end of the night, around 11-12, after most of the guests have grown tired and headed home. I’ve seen more than a few weddings where the only people left to send off the couple were their parents, wedding party, and a few intoxicated guests. Even worse is when there isn’t a grand exit planned at all, and the reception just fades off into the night, with tired guests wondering whether they should stay and wait for a big send-off that they expect but may never come.

The best way to ease this situation, other than having a short reception, is to do your grand exit earlier in the wedding day. Here are a few different options you can consider:

The first option is to have your grand exit as you walk down the aisle. Up north, it’s common for small paper cones filled with rose petals to be tied to the backs of the chairs during the ceremony, so that guests can shower the couple with the rose petals during their first walk as man and wife. This is great because the flower-filled cones serve as pretty decorations, as well as serving a more utilitarian purpose.

Another option is to have your guests gather outside of the church after the ceremony and line the pathway to your car, so that as soon as you are done with family photos, you can walk out the church and be showered with (fill in the blank with your favorite throwable party favor) from your nearest and dearest. Obviously, this option works best when you do the majority of your photos before the ceremony, so that your guests don’t have to wait too long.

Finally, there’s always the old standby, the “fake exit.” Usually couples who do this option choose to do all the major reception events – first dance, garter/bouquet toss, cake cuttings and toasts – as soon as dinner is over. Then the guests line up and do the “fake exit” just as they would normally do it, except that the couple doesn’t actually leave for good. Typically they go up to their room and change into something a little more comfortable, and come down to dance the night away with their more party-oriented wedding guests.

For those of you who want the experience (and awesome photos) of a grand exit, but don’t want your guests to have to wait until midnight to send you off, these suggestions might help ease the burden on you, your coordinator, and your guests. Enjoy! :)

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