A wedding is a “once in a lifetime” occasion and as such, you need to make sure you get the fireworks right. Add to the magic of the day with a fireworks display in the evening to see the bride and groom on their way.
Consider a professional wedding fireworks display
Because of the importance of the occasion, this is one fireworks display where you have to be very sure of yourself before taking it on. Here are some reasons why you may, instead, wish to employ a professional wedding fireworks display company:
- If you’re involved with the wedding itself (eg. family, best man, bridegroom etc) you’ll already have a lot on your plate. Are you sure you want to worry about the fireworks AND guest’s safety as well? Can you spare the time in the afternoon to set things up (it can take a few hours)?
- If you’re inexperienced or this will be your first big display, forget it. This is not the time to find your feet!
- Many wedding reception venues do not allow fireworks. Check first. Those that do are more likely to agree to a display only if a professional company is doing it.
- You wouldn’t need to worry about setting up, firing, or clearing up. Having someone else clear up is a major bonus, especially if you’re involved with any other duties on the night. It also leaves you free after the display to join the celebrations, something you couldn’t do if you’re firing.
- If you’re also a guest at the wedding or reception bear in mind you and your firers will not be able to drink until after the fireworks display. This would not be an issue if someone else was doing the fireworks for you.
- Unless you’re a very experienced amateur, a professional fireworks display is potentially more spectacular and fitting to the occasion.
- A professional fireworks display will be fully insured – important when firing on someone else’s property!
A fireworks display is a big undertaking and a big responsibility, even more so on a wedding night. You should only attempt a DIY display if you know what you are doing.
For a professional show you should budget for between £500-£1000 depending on the starting costs of your local display company. As a very rough guide, £800-£1200 would normally buy a stunning display of around 5-8 minutes (beware longer displays as these contain the same value of fireworks but thinned out with smaller items and the effect is worse). Speak to your wedding reception venue first before making any firm bookings. Some venues only allow quiet shows or have other restrictions.
If you need more help determining the difference between consumer (DIY) displays and a professional display, the DIY or Professional Fireworks article might help.
Preparing for the fireworks display
If you really want to tackle a wedding fireworks display yourself, or you have been asked to provide a display for a wedding, you need to make extra preparations over and above what you might need for a private display. Here are some suggestions:
- Check the wedding venue is suitable for fireworks. In addition to checking that the actual venue is safe for fireworks (no overhead obstructions, plenty of space for the fireworks, fall out and spectators etc) you will need to ensure the land owner agrees to you using fireworks. It is recommended that you get this agreement in writing.
- Fireworks insurance is strongly recommended for an event like this bearing in mind you will be displaying on someone else’s land.
- Speak to the bride and groom to see if they have any particular requests for the display (some might like a quieter display etc.) and check what time they want the display to start – check with the land owner that this is OK, especially if it is a late display.
- Make sure you will have access to the venue well in advance, so find out where to get the keys for any locked gates or entrances. Pick a site where you can drive your car/van to the fireworks area too.
- Who will provide rope or tape for any spectator barriers and who will be marshalling the crowd? If the wedding venue cannot provide this, you’ll need to.
- It’s worth informing the local police and fire brigade of your display.
- Get contact details and phone numbers for the venue, the land owner, and someone in the bride or groom’s party.
What fireworks to use for a wedding display
Your firework selection needs to take into account the following:
- The guests: A mixed audience of young and old are best suited to a mixed display of noise and colour rather than all-out noise.
- The venue: Your fireworks must be appropriate for the venue. Avoid large display rockets if you do not have a big fall out area. For big and open venues you’ll need to concentrate on bigger cakes with bigger effects and fan cakes can be very effective in big venues.
- The bride and groom: The display is for them. Ask them if they would like a particular theme or any other consideration (eg. more or less noise).
- You and your firers: The fewer the firers, the more work on the night. Compensate for this by using fewer, bigger fireworks (such as large cakes or displays in a box). Don’t overstretch your capacity.
- The time and date: Late night, out of season displays need to be either quieter, or shorter, to prevent problems (unless the venue is remote).
There are no hard and fast rules as to the actual content of your display. A traditional “start loud and end loud” display would be fine, or you can be more creative with your effects. Some tips:
- Fountains can create a magical wall of fire. Large silver conic fountains offer a cheap way to do this. A line of half a dozen or more, fired together, looks bright and pretty.
- Aim to keep the display short, for maximum impact. Five minutes or so is good. It doesn’t sound a lot but for the same number of fireworks, a display over five minutes looks twice as saturated as a display over ten minutes.
- Double up big cakes and candles. Have one either side of the display fired together (planning and coordination between firers important here!).
- Keep effects rotating well, eg. quiet and pretty, then noise, and repeat. Avoid long sections of just noise (save for the end) and don’t have fountains then wheels back to back, for example.
Consider investing in some “firewriting” such as a heart with the bride and groom’s initials either side. This is a wonderful way of creating a very personal touch at a wedding with fireworks. This video shows an example of this. It can be built to order as a consumer firework (which you set up and let off yourself) or included as part of a professional show:
Don’t bother with sparklers for a wedding display. People will be in smart attire and, by the time of the display, more than likely under the influence of drink. Sparklers would be a liability. Keep the audience away from the fireworks.
Further information about wedding fireworks
If you need any further help feel free to ask in the busy UKFR Fireworks Forum.
When you are ready to buy your fireworks, always give priority to UKFR advertisers and those listed on the Buy Fireworks page (find out why). If you are doing it yourself then once you have purchased your fireworks head over to the Using Fireworks section for expert advice on how to set them up and let them off.