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Everything You Need to Know About Having Fireworks at Your Wedding

Here's how to plan a show or incorporate other pyrotechnic details on the big day.

Senior Associate Editor
patriotic party fireworks
Photography by: Kate Headley

Sparks flew when you first met, so what better way to celebrate your love now? Dazzling special effects, including fireworks and sparklers, make exciting additions to any wedding. Before you feature them in yours, though, get educated on pyrotechnic devices. Here's what to keep in mind as you plan to light up the night.

 

RELATED: 29 Festive Fourth of July Wedding Ideas

 

Pyrotechnic details aren't always allowed.

Some states are okay with consumer fireworks, while a few have even banned sparklers. The American Pyrotechnics Association has an online directory of state laws that will help you figure out exactly what's allowed in your area. Not all wedding venues permit fireworks, sparklers, and the likes, though—even if they're legal in the state the venue's located in. You'll have to get all necessary permissions if you want to use them.

 

When it comes to fireworks, you have options.

There are as many kinds of fireworks as there are oohs and aahs, but these are some of the most common.

 

Peony: The colorful classic.

Crossette: Crisscrossing sparks, loud crackling sound.

Roman candle: Dramatic upward stream of sparks.

Salute: Bright burst, then a loud bang.

Palm tree: Rising comet flaring into trailing stars.

Strobe: Flashing stars.

 

Certain types of sparklers are best for your celebration.

If you're using sparklers, look online for 20- or 36-inch ones designed specifically for weddings. They give off a golden glow, produce less smoke, and tend to burn for at least a few minutes, making them perfect for photos.

 

It's possible to bring the fun inside.

Consider asking about close-proximity pyrotechnics, which are cleaner and safe to use indoors (like something at a concert). "Setting them off during the first dance adds a special touch," says Brendan McKenney, a pyro-show producer with Pyro Spectaculars, in Rialto, California.

 

Pyrotechnic special effects may be pricey.

The starting price for a three-to-seven-minute fireworks show (the ideal length for a wedding, pros say), is about $5,000. Of course, alternatives like sparklers can be cheaper.

 

If you're throwing a holiday affair, be prepared.

Planning to wed on or near July 4? Fireworks are a no-brainer, but you'll have competition. Book your vendor at least six weeks ahead of time—and the sooner you can finalize your plans, the better, advises McKenney.

 

In case you were wondering …

The earliest explosives date to 800 C.E., when a Chinese alchemist accidentally created gunpowder while trying to discover the secret to eternal life (yes, really!). However, the elaborate, colorful style of fireworks we know today was invented in Italy in the 1830s. Another big moment in the history of fireworks? January, 2016, when a church in the Philippines set off 810,904 fireworks, earning a Guinness World Record for the biggest display ever.