Whether it's pyrotechnics in the sky, sparklers as décor or confetti poppers as favors, let the Fourth of July inspire a bit of snap, crackle and pop on your special day.
The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge celebrated their vows with fireworks. So did Katy Perry and Russell Brand. Oh, and Chelsea Clinton, to name a few.
But you don't have to be a royal or a celebrity to have fireworks at your wedding.
Starting off with a bang
Ginnie McNamee of Norfolk, Mass., always knew that fireworks would light up the sky at her wedding. "My grandparents' anniversary was the Fourth of July, so I used to think that the fireworks were going off for them," she said.
So it was for nostalgic reasons that she and fiancé Ed Milano chose July 4, 2010, for their wedding at the Omni Mount Washington Resort in Bretton Woods, N.H. With an expansive view of the mountains, the couple and their guests were treated to an awe-inspiring fireworks display before the last dance.
"The fireworks were right over our heads," McNamee said. "It looked as though we could reach out and touch them."
"Wedding fireworks have become popular," said Chris Ong, director of catering and conference services for the Hotel Del Coronado in San Diego, "perhaps because we have the beach as part of our property."
Couples may choose to have a fireworks display as part of the ceremony or reception, Ong noted, adding that for an indoor wedding, "the ballroom also has a panoramic view of the ocean, where the fireworks are set off from a boat."
Do-it-yourself fireworks are not encouraged for legal and safety reasons, but there are many locations and venues that allow professional displays, including some beaches, parks, golf courses and resorts.
Ong advised choosing a company that has insurance and permits. And to make sure they use fireworks that are environmentally safe.
Wedding fireworks don't have to be all red, white and blue — especially when the date isn't July 4. They can be made to match the look and theme of any celebration.
"We just did a wedding with purple and gold, with color-coordinated fireworks," Ong said, adding that some couples request a soundtrack, perhaps a favorite or meaningful song.
For those who want sizzle without the hassle and expense, old-fashioned sparklers can be a festive solution, said Lisa Gorjestani, owner of Details Event Planning in Brentwood.
In fact, Gorjestani used them in a surprise sendoff for her clients Laura Campbell and Mohanad Zahrawi at their wedding April 30 at Shutters on the Beach in Santa Monica.
"While the bride was changing for the after-party, we had all the guests line up on the boardwalk holding jumbo sparklers," Gorjestani said. "The bride and groom ran through the glittering sparklers on to the Viceroy [Hotel] a block away."
The couple gasped in delight. "It makes a really big statement to see a hundred people lined up with sparklers," she said.
For the thrill of the pop without the spark, confetti "poppers" filled with biodegradable confetti can be a festive alternative to rice or birdseed at the grand exit — or a great punctuation mark as the couple is pronounced husband and wife.
Despite the challenges, fireworks of any sort can be a thrilling way to celebrate your love on that special day. The Milanos plan to relive their magical moment this Fourth of July at the Omni Mount Washington Resort, to celebrate their first anniversary.
"It's our new tradition," said the former Ginnie McNamee. "Only from now on, when the fireworks go off, it'll be for us."
—Jennifer Evans Gardner, Custom Publishing Writer