Wedding Fireworks - Behind The Scenes
With wedding display specialist, Firework Crazy.
A look at what’s involved in setting up and firing a professional wedding fireworks display.
Last night I had the pleasure of photographing a beautiful wedding display by Firework Crazy. The groom was UKFR forum member “Signum” so this was a special display and it was great to be there to see his pyrotechnic send-off. Of course being a fireworks fanatic as Signum is – not to mention the fact he fires for Firework Crazy too – means of course that a full-on fireworks spectacular was guaranteed.
The venue was a pretty location in Suffolk just north of Ipswich called All Manor Of Events. Arriving on one of the hottest and sunniest days of the year so far I popped across into the adjacent field to catch up with the team who were already hard at work setting the display up.
This was no ordinary fireworks team however. Signum had drafted in what can only be described as an elite squad of UKFR forum regulars to take on this very special assignment. The first crew member I met on the slightly windswept field was Jeff (Ambientskies) who was doing his best to look like a Navy Seal with his all-black attire and matching head gear and then Marcus (Shedman) sporting some rather nice Ray Bans. Beyond these two and further into the field I could see Pyromania, Venger (sneezing for England with his hayfever), Luvlijub and Phil40.
I thought at first they were setting up just a little too close to the scarecrow then realised it was Firework Crazy owner Mark Priest who had fooled me by standing so very still with his clipboard. Joking aside, Mark had pulled together a huge amount of quality pyro material for this display. Picking my way between the sugar beet I caught up with him and asked about the impending fireworks display.
“We’ve got a mixture of gear from MLE, Absolute and Kimbolton” Mark explained. “There are over 260 shells to see Signum on his way ranging in size from 2.5 inch up to 6 inch, supported by a large assortment of cakes all with at least 30mm bore size. There are also a good deal of candles from 40mm to 50mm bore.”
I could see some wiring across the site so I asked Mark how he planned to fire it. “There are both electrical and hand fired sequences” Mark continued. “We’ll start off with the hand lit sections, which are the cakes and candles, before moving to shell sequences and the finale sections which are electrically fired. I’m using a system called Pyro Sure to do this.”
Looking towards the far end of the setting up area I could see a number of big shell tubes so I asked Mark what kind of finale he was planning. “Something pretty big” he grinned, in that manic sort of way that pyromaniacs do. “We’ll be firing four 4 inch whistle mines, four 6 inch gold titanium willow shells and two 6 inch ghost shells as part of the finale and pre-finale sequences.”
“The display is a combination of Signum’s chosen fireworks and some extra gear added by us” he added. “That makes it quite a bit bigger than your average wedding show so it should be a good one. It’s our first time at this venue and it’s a great place to let off fireworks. Lots of room and the weather couldn’t be better. Unless you have hayfever” he said, handing more toilet roll to Venger to try and stem his weeping nose.
At this time of year in the UK it remains quite light until late in the day. Last night was no exception and even at 9.30pm it was too light to fire. However by 10pm the light was falling away rapidly and the decision was taken to fire at 10.20pm. Mark’s crew did a final run through of their firing sequences and safety routines at which point I set the firing zone camera to remote shooting and retired to my deck chair and tripod on the other side of the field.
The display started with an ominous, quatermass like glow on the horizon. This was a pretty heart and initial item made from ice fountains which Jeff had put together for the bride and groom. From right across the field all I could see was the glow from this which signalled the imminent arrival of the main fireworks. These launched into life with one of the most beautiful fan cakes I have seen with various pretty coloured falling leaves.
From there the display ebbed and flowed with quiet and loud sections with the action going off at both low levels from the cakes and some higher sequences from the candles and some shells. I couldn’t tell it was hand fired, everything flowed so well.
The hand-lit sections were split into three areas, with a firer for each. One firer coordinated these to ensure the right items were fired at the right time from each section, shouting out the next cues from his master firing list.
The end sequences were just amazing. Not just the quality of the fireworks but the imaginative combinations they were fired in. Mark did such a good job designing this and due credit must of course go out to the firing team for pulling off a stunning show.