When Sparks Fly: The 411 on Fireworks at Your Wedding

By Ariel Okin | Photography by

Brian Dorsey of Brian Dorsey Studios

Kylie Gattinella Fireworks

Much like the beginning of a hot and heavy relationship, fireworks also start out with a bang. A gorgeous (and exciting) metaphor for the new life you and your spouse are going to share together, fireworks are a fun and unexpected treat for your guests. Yet with safety risks and town permits looming as snafus waiting to happen, they can also become a bit of a headache if you’re not prepared. Below, we gathered tips from a few top wedding planners on what to keep in mind when lighting up the night sky.

“There are a lot of logistics and planning that go into pulling it all off, but if executed properly, a stunning fireworks show can be a magical cap to the evening,” says Francie Dorman and Britt Cole of 42 North. First and foremost, Dorman and Cole recommend checking with the local fire department before even contemplating a fireworks display. “Some towns have special restrictions or rules around noise ordinances, wildlife protection areas, etc.,” so make sure to start local before thinking big.

“Seek the advice of a trusted professional pyrotechnics company in the area who may be able to assist with getting all the permits you need. Also, most towns require a fire engine to be onsite. This is a key factor when deciding where the display will be produced—no one wants a fire truck driving directly through their cocktail hour!”

In addition to being exciting, a fireworks display can also be personalized to represent you and yours as a couple. “One thing that makes them even more special is when the display is set to music,” says international wedding planner Jennifer Zabinski of JZ Events. “We try to get a range of songs from the client, both slow and upbeat, that are meaningful to them; that way, the fireworks show isn’t just fantastic—it’s emotional too.”

While a personal fireworks show at a wedding can be pricey, often starting upwards of $10,000, Zabinski recommends “big, grounded fountain sparklers synchronized to the couple’s exit at the end of the night,” as a way to keep costs down. Since grounded sparklers aren’t aerial, they don’t require permitting—therefore the cost is much less, while still packing the same amount of drama.

And while you might be tempted to go all out with a ten minute extravaganza—heed Dorman and Cole’s advice and keep it short and sweet. “Sometimes our clients have been tempted to upgrade to a longer display, but we advise against this. People lose interest pretty quickly—anything longer than four minutes is overkill!”