Wedding Fireworks 101: Everything You Need to Know

Celebrate your nuptials with a bang!
Lauren Dana Ellman - The Knot Contributor.
by
Lauren Dana Ellman
Lauren Dana Ellman - The Knot Contributor.
Lauren Dana Ellman
The Knot Contributor
  • Lauren is a contributor for The Knot covering topics such as music, cakes, venues and speeches.
  • She has been published in a wide array of lifetsyle-oriented publications including SELF and Allure.
  • Lauren is a proud graduate of Syracuse University's SI Newhouse School of Public Communication.
Updated Oct 12, 2023

Looking for ways to make your nuptials all the more special? For a truly memorable wedding celebration, consider wedding fireworks! The festive and colorful display of light makes the perfect addition to your festivities—and it's sure to bring a smile to everyone's face. So, if you're interested in learning more about wedding fireworks, we've got you covered: Keep reading for a full breakdown of need-to-know information, according to experts.

In this article:

How Long Should the Fireworks Show Last?

If you're planning on having a wedding fireworks display, consider keeping it short and sweet. All of the pros we spoke to recommended keeping the show under ten minutes. The sweet spot, says Samantha Leenheer, creative director at House of Joy in Ohio, is four to seven minutes. "It is a long enough time frame for the show to build and get more interesting before ending on a big finale without being too long that guests get tired of the show."

How Much Are Fireworks for a Wedding?

Wondering how much wedding fireworks cost? According to San Francisco Bay Area-based destination wedding planner Jamie Chang of Mango Muse Events, they are usually charged by the minute. While exact pricing can vary depending on the venue and location, the pro tells The Knot that "the average range is about $1,000 to $2,000 per minute." Here's a more in-depth breakdown:

  • Two-minute fireworks show: From $2,000
  • Five-minute fireworks show: From $5,000
  • 10-minute fireworks show: From $10,000
  • 15-minute fireworks show: From $15,000
  • 20-minute fireworks show: From $20,000
  • 30-minute fireworks show: From $30,000

Keep in mind that these are just the starting prices. Ian Ramirez, co-owner of Madera Estates in Conroe, Texas, says that "you may also be required to cover the cost of a permit from your county's fire marshal's office." Similarly, adds Leenheer, "You will want to check with your local production team as rates can vary by location, and permit fees will depend on local jurisdictions."

How to Have Fireworks at Your Wedding

If you have room in your wedding budget for fireworks—and love the idea of putting on a show for your guests—keep scrolling! Ahead, we're breaking down everything you need to know about having fireworks at your wedding, including several important factors to consider, according to experts.

Venue

First thing's first, says Ramirez, "You will want to connect with potential wedding venues to determine if they even allow fireworks and what rules are in place." Additionally, says Chang, "Fireworks tend to work best over water, so a venue by the ocean or a lake would be ideal." (Shameless plug alert: Check out a few of our favorite waterfront wedding venues across the U.S, for some serious destination inspo!).

However, you don't necessarily have to have your wedding on the water to have fireworks. In fact, both Chang and Ramirez tell The Knot that fireworks can be done in some remote locations not on the water—so long as there is a considerable amount of land and space. This, says Ramirez, ensures the fireworks can be done safely, thus avoiding trees, buildings and other structures.

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Legality

Per Chang, "Every state and county can have different laws," which can vary based on specific dates and holidays, most notably the Fourth of July. With this in mind, it's essential to make sure that fireworks are allowed in your destination before proceeding.

Even if your wedding destination does permit fireworks, you'll need to determine what policies have been put in place to ensure you're not breaking the laws. For example, says Leenheer, depending on your destination, "there will be different restrictions on the locations that fireworks can be shot from and the downwind range that needs to be considered." She also advises researching the noise ordinances in your destination to avoid fines. Last but not least, she says, most locations will require a special permit and a fire marshall to be on-site.

Ultimately, says Ramirez, if you're unsure of the laws in your location, it's best to consult your local fire marshal's office or a pyrotechnic professional.

Wedding Timeline

Before diving in any deeper, Leenheer tells The Knot that if you want "a true fireworks show, you will want to have it start after dark." Both Chang and Ramirez echo these sentiments, with the latter adding, "Shows should take place no earlier than 30 minutes after the sunset time for your date and no later than 10:00 p.m. (state and county dependent)."

That said, when organizing your wedding reception timeline, Leenheer says you may consider having the fireworks show "at the end of the evening as one last hurrah," as the live band or DJ plays your exit song. Another option is to have the display during an entertainment transition or break from the band. After all, she adds, fireworks make "for a great transition."

Alternatively, says Chang, you can also opt to have the fireworks display "right after or as a part of the first dance," which could make the moment all the more memorable for the two of you and your guests!

Weather & Seasonality

"With fireworks shows, you will want to consider any weather as well as time of year," explains Leenheer. For example, says Chang, "The ideal weather for fireworks is a clear, cool night with a light wind, which is why summertime tends to work really well." Both Chang and Ramirez tell The Knot that most fireworks shows can continue in light rain; however, they're also quick to note that inclement weather may result in having to cancel the show altogether. So, if you're having an outdoor wedding in a place like Florida, where the rainy season lasts from mid-May through October, it may be worth coming up with a backup plan.

What's more, says Leenheer, "Due to rain and the nature of fireworks, they don't mix well." Similarly, Chang explains, "wind is a big factor in terms of the smoke—too little or too much can both be problematic." While she says that, "in theory, all seasons are fine for fireworks as long as the fireworks can be kept dry and the sky is clear enough that you can see it," it's also true that winter weddings can be tricky. Per the pro, more overcast can occur during the cold weather season, "making it much harder to see the show."

Guests With Noise & Light Sensitivities

While a fireworks show seems like a fun way to celebrate your nuptials, those with disabilities—specifically noise or light sensitivities—may feel otherwise due to how light and bright they are. What's more, says Chang, "Fireworks can be startling for some people and cause sensory overload."

To ensure an inclusive environment and positive experience for all, Ramirez advises including a section on your RSVP cards where guests can indicate any light or noise sensitivities. You and your future spouse can utilize this insight to accommodate your guests. To start, Ramirez, Chang and Leenheer all recommend incorporating quiet zones or alternative viewing areas so guests can take a break from the show and/or avoid it entirely. If you have room in your wedding budget, you may also consider supplying earplugs to block out the sound of the fireworks shooting off.

How to Find Fireworks Display Vendors

Interested in incorporating fireworks into your special day? We've got you covered: The Knot Marketplace makes finding fireworks display vendors all the more stress-free. Find decor vendors near you using this easy-to-use platform, which allows you to comb through user reviews and sort results based on location, budget and more.

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