Tips Archive

DIY vs. professional wedding fireworks – how to make the best choice for your big day

Weddings can be expensive, no matter how hard you try to keep costs down. One of the most popular ways to save money is to handle some parts of the planning yourselves.

But does this DIY approach work for your wedding fireworks?  Let’s take a look at a few of the key things to consider ahead of your big day.

The venue

The first roadblock to your plans of throwing your own fireworks display could be the venue. Many venues will insist that you use a professional display organiser. DIY fireworks may not meet the requirements of their insurance policies, and venue owners may also be concerned about safety and potential damage to property – as well as the clean-up afterwards.

The benefit of using a professional company such as 1st Galaxy Fireworks is that we can liaise directly with the venue on your behalf. This means handling all of the communication about site plans, firing zones, setup and logistics. So you can get on with the other million or so items on your list!

On-the-day management

If you are getting hitched in a venue that permits DIY fireworks, consider carefully who will manage the display for you on the day. You’ll be relaxing and enjoying your big day, and your friends and family will want to do the same. The person (or ideally, the team) running the display will need to be responsible, safety-conscious and above all, sober. They won’t be able to have a drink until the display is over, which could be quite late on as your fireworks will be set off when it gets dark.

The quality of the display

When you work with professionals, they can use their expertise to plan a custom, pro quality show just for you. It’ll be well-paced, personalised and use the very best quality fireworks.

Will you get the same effect when you let the best man and groomsmen loose on a bunch of fireworks you’ve bought online? They may be good quality pyrotechnics, but will the display actually be any good? The last thing you want after spending money on fireworks are huge, excitement-dampening pauses, before a confusing cluster of firings, or even a smoky scene as fireworks are inexpertly lit.

This won’t be a great way to top off the best day of your life, and it’ll look terrible in your wedding photos.

Safety

The last but just as crucial thing to consider is safety. It would be catastrophic if something were to go wrong, or if someone was to get hurt. It could be worth spending just a little more on your wedding fireworks for the peace of mind that your display is being taken care of by trained, experienced professionals.

If you have any questions at all about wedding fireworks or are ready to start planning the big bangs for your big day, just give the 1st Galaxy team a call on 0115 8559000 or email sales@1stgalaxy.co.uk.

 

Powerful fireworks and fallout zones – 6 tips for display organisers

Planning something really big for your next fireworks display? If you want to bring out the big rockets and powerful pyrotechnics, you’ll need to do a little extra planning. This is to firstly ensure you can carry out the display safely, but also so that your fireworks make maximum impact.

Here are 6 of the most important things to remember if you’re planning to use powerful fireworks:

  1. You can only use Category 1, 2 or 3 fireworks

Category 1 fireworks are for indoor use, Category 2 are for garden use and Category 3 is where you’ll find some of the largest fireworks on retail sale. These are display fireworks, and you’ll have plenty of big, loud and impressive products to choose from. There is a level above this, Category 4 fireworks, but you aren’t permitted to use these unless you’re a professional fireworks display operative.

  1. Your site needs to be large enough

The bigger and more powerful the firework, the more dangerous it could potentially be. If you’re using Category 3 fireworks, your site needs to large enough to accommodate a safety zone of at least 25 metres between the firing zone and the spectators. You’ll also need to leave room for a fallout zone.

  1. Plan a large fallout zone

Fireworks like display rockets, which come down to earth at speed and sometimes with some of the stick, casing and parts of the head still attached, can be dangerous. If you’re planning to use these, you’ll need to leave space for a large fallout zone – at least 50 metres or more. The fallout zone is where you expect fireworks to land, so should be clear space where the debris can be caught safely.

  1. Keep a close eye on the wind

Where you position your fallout zone, and the orientation of your whole site in fact, depends to a large degree on the wind. Keep a close eye on the forecast for the wind direction and speed ahead of your event, and be prepared to make last minute adjustments.

  1. Put the larger fireworks at the back

If you put the most powerful fireworks at the back, near to the fallout zone – and keep an eye on the wind direction – this gives you extra space between the big guns and the audience. You should also aim to angle the position of big fireworks like rockets slightly so that they will fly over the fallout zone, accounting again for the wind.

  1. You’ll need to keep your neighbours on side

If you’re planning something big, there’s the risk that you may annoy or upset your neighbours. Always, always inform them in advance, and perhaps invite them along or provide a small gift to apologise for any inconvenience. After all, it’s hard to be annoyed when you’re tucking into a complimentary box of chocolates!

If you need help planning a large fireworks display, consult the professionals at 1st Galaxy Fireworks – our experts will be happy to assist.   

How to spring a fireworks surprise

Want to throw a surprise fireworks display for a loved one? This can be a memorable way to pop the question, celebrate a wedding or simply give the gift of an amazing experience.

We’ve got all the tips you need to plan your surprise, keep it secret and make it truly special.

Check that the guest of honour likes surprises!

With any surprise party, there’s always the risk of it back-firing. Before you start your planning, make 100% sure that the person doesn’t mind surprises and that they won’t freak out if fireworks suddenly start going off. Surprised and a little awed is fine, mildly traumatised is absolutely not.

Get an accomplice

You won’t be able to pull off your surprise without a partner in crime. This important person will distract the guest of honour so they don’t see the surprise coming, as well as making an excuse to get them to the right place at the right time.

Keep your guests in the loop

So many surprises are spoiled because someone didn’t know it was supposed to be a secret, and accidentally let something slip. You need your guests on side, but you also need them to keep tight-lipped about your plans.

Concoct a cover story

You need a convincing reason for your guest of honour to be somewhere at a particular time. If it’s your wedding, this isn’t a problem. However, if it’s a surprise birthday party or you’re popping the question, you’ll need your accomplice to persuade the person that they’re actually going somewhere else for a different reason. They’ll need to believe it for the surprise to work.

You can even pull a little bluff. For example, tell your new bride that you know she wanted fireworks but you just couldn’t afford them – so you have just one symbolic firework to set off. Light the fuse, and watch her face as the whole sky erupts with light and colour as the real display starts. She’ll love it!

Get the venue on board

We’re afraid you’ll need even more conspirators if you want to pull off your big surprise. It’s very important to let the venue know what you’re planning, but you’ll also need their help to plan and execute it.

Bring in the professionals

It’s not impossible, but it is incredibly difficult, to pull off a secret fireworks display on your own. It’s recommended to consult a professional display planner like 1st Galaxy Fireworks, who can create a personalised show and plan it for you. This ensures that it looks gorgeous and crucially, professional – you don’t want your big surprise spoiled by amateur mistakes.

A team like 1st Galaxy can also sneak in and set up the display for you, starting it on your signal. Fireworks can be a difficult thing to hide, so it can be very helpful to have a professional team who’ve done this kind of thing before. We don’t mind hiding in the bushes if it means bowling your loved one over with a special surprise!

Get in touch on 0115 8559000 if you’ve got a crafty surprise plan in mind, we’ll be happy to help.

10 things you absolutely need to know if you’re planning wedding fireworks

Having fireworks at your wedding? Excellent choice, as fireworks are the perfect way to top off an amazing day. If you’re in the middle of wedding planning chaos though, you’re going to need to get up to speed fast if you want to plan an epic display.

To help, here are the 10 things you absolutely must know if you’re planning wedding fireworks:

  1. You need a venue that allows fireworks

Before you do anything else, check with your wedding venue that they allow fireworks. Not all do, or some may place restrictions on their use (more on this below).

  1. Your site needs to be the right dimensions

If you’re planning on setting off fireworks, you need a display site that is large enough to keep a safe distance between spectators and the ‘firing zone’. A site that is 50m x 25m should be adequate, keeping your guests around 50-75m away from the fireworks. Don’t forget to look up, as some fireworks can reach heights of 100m – so you don’t want any overhead power cables or trees in the way!

  1. It’s against the law to set fireworks off after 11pm

You’ll need to factor this in when planning the schedule of the day. It can be tricky for summer weddings to find a time when it’s dark enough, but don’t leave it too late. You don’t want to upset the venue, the local authority and other guests.

  1. It absolutely makes sense to use a professional display organiser

Using a professional team will mean you get the very best professional display, where you don’t have to worry about a single detail. Everyone can enjoy a drink and relax while a crew like 1st Galaxy Fireworks handles every part of the planning, firing and tidying up.

  1. You can get a professional display from as little as £600

It isn’t actually that expensive to get a professional display, and it is well worth it. Choose an off-peak time (i.e. midweek) and 1st Galaxy Fireworks can offer a fabulous wedding package for just £500 plus VAT.

  1. If the venue doesn’t allow fireworks, consider quiet fireworks

One of the benefits of using professionals is that they can liaise with the venue on your behalf. If the venue initially says no to fireworks, you may be able to compromise with special quiet category fireworks which won’t create as much disturbance.

  1. Fireworks display packages can be customised

In many cases, you can add personalised touches to wedding fireworks packages such as your choice of colours, fire writing and much more. Some extras are even free.

  1. You can even set your fireworks to your favourite song

That’s right, choreographed fireworks perfectly timed to the pacing of the song of your first dance, or the tune that was playing when you first met.

  1. Fireworks displays are best when they last 5-10 minutes

Don’t make the mistake of spending a fortune on a 20 minute plus display. The best displays are much shorter, more dynamic, better paced and crucially, don’t cost the earth.

  1. If you’re doing DIY fireworks, safety is crucial

If you’re planning on running the show yourself and the venue is happy for you to do so, make sure you only buy certified fireworks from a reputable supplier and you follow all safety instructions down to the letter.

8 tips to help you snap the perfect NYE fireworks pic on your phone

When those fireworks go off at midnight on 31st December, phones and cameras throughout the UK will be snapping away trying to capture the moment. Unfortunately, many attempts to capture this special, magical moment come out as indistinct blurs.

This is because fireworks are notoriously difficult to photograph. They travel extremely fast through the sky and it’s this motion along with the lights and colours makes it tricky to get a clear shot. Don’t worry though, you don’t need to splash out a fortune on a professional camera. Simply follow these top tips for snapping amazing Instagram-ready shots of 2018’s NYE fireworks, right from your phone.

  1. Enable HDR

This is the best way to get a great quality fireworks shot, so switch it on if you have it. This is because HDR takes many photographs at different exposures and combines them into a single image for more detail, light trails and more.

  1. Get some people in your shot

This is what sets your fireworks pic apart from all those others you see on Instagram, and what gives you a really memorable shot of a personal moment. If you’re really skilled, you’ll snap a great fireworks selfie this NYE!

  1. Take loads of photos (or cheat and enable Burst mode – on iPhones)

To boost your chances of capturing the perfect shot, it’s a smart idea to take absolutely loads of photos. So that you don’t spend the entire display snapping pictures, you can always enable what on iPhones is called Burst mode (although there are similar functions on other smartphones). This mode means that your camera will take many photos in rapid succession, which is great for moving objects like fireworks. Simply set it to Burst mode and point the camera in the right direction.

  1. Try an app

There are a number of apps out there that can help you to boost the capabilities of your smartphone’s camera. For example, Slow Shutter Cam for iPhones, which lets you take motion blur and light trail photographs.

  1. Get a better camera!

If you’re worried about blurry NYE photos and have been meaning to replace your phone anyway, why not snap up a new one with a great camera in the January sales?

  1. Get a mini tripod

Smartphones come with all sorts of accessories these days, like mini tripods so you don’t have to worry about shaky hands when snapping away. Set up the tripod, set it to record or automatically take photographs and enjoy the show!

  1. Make sure you have enough storage

Before NYE, make sure you clear out enough space for all of those HDR fireworks photos – you don’t want to leave it until the crucial moment and miss everything.

  1. Make sure you enjoy the display

Last of all, make sure you aren’t so caught up in trying to snap the perfect NYE fireworks image that you don’t actually enjoy the show! Do your best to capture the moment, then live it – give your nearest and dearest a squeeze and drink in those lights and colours.

From everyone here at 1st Galaxy Fireworks, have a wonderful, safe and firework-filled New Year’s Eve!

Celebrating Christmas with fireworks? Why not!

This time of year is all about tradition. We all have our own traditions, within families and friendship groups, but there’s one that many people have in common – fireworks on New Year’s Eve.

But are fireworks just for NYE? Have you ever considered giving Christmas itself some extra sparkle with pyrotechnics? This isn’t as unusual as you may think, as lots of people are starting to shake up their Christmas traditions.

Livening up that post-Christmas dinner slump

Some people love it, the time just after dinner when everyone’s had loads of food and drink and we’re all a bit sleepy. For others, the slump around the TV signals the start of the magic and excitement of Christmas being over too soon.

So, here’s an idea. In between the turkey and your Christmas pudding, why not hold a fireworks display in your back garden? It doesn’t have to be anything complicated or expensive (unless you really want to push the boat out), but it could be amazing. A sky full of sparkles and crackles could be just what you need to blow the cobwebs off, and the kids will absolutely love it. This could be your new Christmas tradition.

Christmas eve fireworks

Whether you want to try this one or not very much depends on whether you have children. If you set fireworks off on Christmas eve, when the kids are already the most excited they’ve ever been all year, you will absolutely never get them to go to sleep.

If you don’t have little ones and you’re instead enjoying a Christmas eve gathering with friends, fireworks can be the perfect way to ring in the start of the holidays. Wrap up warm, grab some sparklers and set off a handful of beautiful fireworks. Just make sure you have enough space to keep fireworks away from any spectators and that you don’t set them off too late as to disturb neighbours (see the tip below).

A note about timings for Christmas fireworks

Remember, Christmas isn’t the same as New Year’s Eve when it comes to local authority rules on when you can set fireworks off. NYE gets special treatment as everyone sets fireworks off at the stroke of midnight, to ring in the start of the new year. On this night, you can use fireworks up to 1am.

However, normal rules apply on Christmas Eve, Christmas Day and Boxing Day. This means you can’t set off fireworks between 11pm and 7am, so make sure you don’t fall foul off the law. It’s also nice to consider the neighbours, who may prefer to have their sleep at Christmas!

Another important thing to remember at this rather boozy time of year is that you shouldn’t go anywhere near fireworks if you’ve had a drink. The person responsible for setting off the fireworks should stay sober, obey all safety instructions and handle fireworks with caution. The last thing anyone wants is a Christmas injury!

If you need help planning your Christmas fireworks, just give the friendly team here at 1st Galaxy Fireworks a call on 0115 8559000.

 

The big dilemma: what to do for Bonfire Night this year

Bonfire Night, or Guy Fawkes Night, is rapidly approaching, so it’s time to start planning your fireworks fun. You may face the same dilemma as you do every year – stay at home and plan your own celebrations, or head out to an organised event. Which to choose?

Here are some pros, cons and things to consider for each to help you decide:

Visiting a local fireworks display

For many people, this is the easiest way to get their fireworks fix on Guy Fawkes Night 2018. You don’t have to worry about any of the planning, safety or logistics, or spend any money on fireworks. You simply need to grab the family and turn up, and you’ll often find other attractions such as food stands and fairgrounds at local displays too. You’ll get the benefit of a professional display, which could be truly spectacular.

Planning your own display

There are many benefits to planning your own fireworks, such as avoiding the crowds and not having to pay an entrance fee. You also won’t have to struggle with finding a place to park if the event is popular.

When you run your own fireworks display, you have complete control. You pick the fireworks you want and have fun creating your own unique display. You can even have a go at setting it to music if you like, although be warned – it’s very tricky!

However, there are a lot of things to consider if you’re running the show yourself, including:

  • Safety – not having a professional running the display means that you will be responsible for the safety of all involved. Fireworks can be extremely dangerous in the wrong hands, so you’ll need to read all the safety instructions in advance and follow them to the letter. Some people find that this can spoil their enjoyment of the evening, as you need to be on duty (and not anywhere near alcohol) at all times.
  • The quality of the display – professional fireworks experts such as the 1st Galaxy team have decades of experience in the art of crafting sensational fireworks displays. An expert knows which fireworks to choose, how to put them together, how to create tension and excitement and can even set them to music.
  • Space – you can only set off fireworks at home if you have enough outdoor space to do it safely. You need to leave the right amount of distance between the ‘firing zone’ and where the spectators will stand, as well as considering where the spent pyrotechnics will fall.
  • Your neighbours. Make sure you inform your neighbours well in advance, or even invite them along. This reduces the chances of annoying them and upsetting their pets!

Remember, if you’re buying your own fireworks – do it right. Only buy from trusted suppliers with certified, safe, quality products such as 1st Galaxy Fireworks. If you need any advice or help from the professionals with planning your display or choosing products, please don’t hesitate to get in touch.

5 things you can do to ensure everyone enjoys your fireworks

If you’re organising or going to a fireworks display, you will absolutely love all of the effects, colours, booms and bangs. But what about your neighbours? And their pets? Unfortunately, fireworks can be seen as an annoyance for some – but there are ways that you can be more considerate and ensure that everyone has a good time.

Before your next fireworks display, make sure that you tick off these five important steps off your planning list:

  1. Inform your neighbours. This is the single most effective way to prevent complaints about your fireworks. Go around everyone in your street or neighbourhood to inform them of the display, including what time it will start. This gives them time to adjust their plans, whether it’s preparing to comfort pets or delay children’s bedtimes. Apologise in advance for any inconvenience and you’ll be amazed at how much happier that makes everyone.
  2. Hold your display at a considerate time. This means within local authority rules, so not between 11pm and 7am. However, you can do more than just stick to the rules with consideration for your neighbours in mind. Avoid Sundays if you can, because people need to work the next day. It’s best to start your display just after it gets dark so that you’re finished nice and early, when hardly anyone is in bed yet.
  3. Consider quieter fireworks. If you live in a densely populated neighbourhood with a lot of neighbours living close by, you may need to adjust your display to minimise noise and disruption. There are many quieter types of fireworks you can buy which offer the same beautiful effects but without the ground-shaking noise of a massive rocket, for example.
  4. Invite the neighbours! This is another simple but remarkably effective way of getting the neighbours on board. Bill your event as a display for the neighbourhood, and invite everyone along. Not everyone will come, but they’ll appreciate being asked. The more the merrier!
  5. Run your display responsibly. The last thing you want is to put yourself, your guests or your neighbours in danger. With this in mind, make sure you:
  • Avoid drinking alcohol if you’ll be running the display
  • Read all safety and firing instructions first
  • Make sure you have more than enough space to set off your fireworks a safe distance from spectators and neighbouring properties
  • Wear safety equipment such as eye goggles and gloves
  • Bear in mind that during hot, dry weather conditions, it may be dangerous to set off fireworks due to a risk of fire – you may want to postpone to a different day
  • If you aren’t confident of using fireworks yourself, don’t use them. Consult a professional or appoint someone with experience of using fireworks to manage your display.

If you need any more help to be a safe and considerate fireworks display organiser, feel free to get in touch with the team at 1st Galaxy Fireworks. Remember – it can only be fun if it’s safe!

What can a professional fireworks crew do for you?

There’s a world of difference between setting off some fireworks in your garden and hosting a professional managed display.

For most occasions, the former is all you need to mark a special event or host a party with close friends and family.  Professional displays are significantly more expensive than buying fireworks online and firing them yourself, but they do offer a huge number of benefits.

For occasions such as weddings, corporate events and those really big celebrations, it can be well worth spending extra to get the professionals in. But what do professional crews provide that you can’t do yourself? Here are just a few things for starters:

  1. Comprehensive insurance. So many people forget about insurance when planning fireworks events. But what happens if one of your fireworks damages a neighbour’s property, or if someone gets hurt and holds you responsible? These are the kinds of things that a good insurance policy can cover, and which comes as standard when you use a professional crew.
  2. A 100% safe display. Peace of mind is right up there with the top reasons to use a professional fireworks company. You can sit back, relax and enjoy the show in full confidence that an experienced, highly trained team is managing the display safely.
  3. Exceptional quality fireworks. The fireworks a professional crew use in their display won’t necessarily be the same ones that you can buy online. Professionals can use higher grade fireworks in their shows, some of which have simply incredible effects.
  4. Site management. A lot of work goes into site management, from choosing the site and planning a safe layout to supervising safety on the day. The professionals can handle all of this for you.
  5. Keeping an eye on the weather. Did you know that the weather can affect the quality of a fireworks display? Too much wind in the wrong direction can create an overly smoky show where the effects of the pyrotechnics are lost. A professional company use state-of-the-art resources to keep a close eye on the weather, so you can focus on planning other aspects of your event.
  6. Personalise the show. Want to choose the bride and groom’s favourite colours, include a favourite piece of music or use company branded colours? A professional designs the display from scratch, so they can include pretty much anything you like.
  7. Computer programming for split-second precision. This is technical work and requires a lot of skill, but it means that your show runs like clockwork.
  8. Make fireworks perform to music. You need time, experience, skill and a certain amount of specialist editing equipment to design a display that ‘dances’ to music, but the effect is spectacular.
  9. Create something truly unique and spectacular. Above all, a professional fireworks specialist can create that wow factor. If you really want to impress, it has to be a professional.

Need help with an upcoming fireworks event? Get in touch with the expert team at 1st Galaxy Fireworks, we’ll be happy to help.

Wedding fireworks – a guide to planning picture-perfect pyrotechnics  

Summer wedding season is here, which means a flurry of sunset fireworks displays marking the close of a thousand special days. If you’re currently hunkered down planning your own big day, fireworks are an important consideration.

Here are 6 crucial points to remember when planning your own show-stopping wedding fireworks display:

  1. Consider the season

If you’re holding a summer wedding (in summer 2019, for example) you’ll need to keep an eye on what time it gets dark. A sunset fireworks display can be extremely beautiful, but you may also want to wait until it gets properly dark – without it being so late that you fall foul of local authority rules. Timing is crucial with this one!

  1. Will your guests be able to appreciate your fireworks?

This is another point about timing. If you stick with tradition and wait until the end of the night for your display, will your guests (and the happy couple themselves) be in a fit state to really enjoy them? If you’re concerned about spending money on entertainment that may not be fully appreciated, perhaps hold your display earlier in the day. It can be an unusual surprise to have fireworks in the daytime, such as when the newlyweds are first announced to their guests or following a reception toast.

  1. How long should the display be?

This largely depends on budget, but you should also think about value as well as the comfort of your guests. For example, if you’re planning a December wedding, you don’t want to keep your freezing guests outside for too long.

  1. Is your venue happy with fireworks?

Not all venues permit fireworks so you should always check very early in the planning process, especially if you’ve chosen a more unusual venue in which to tie the knot.

  1. Check in with your photographer

Capturing fireworks on film is not as easy as you may think, and most people who try end up with blurred, over-exposed images unless they have the right experience and equipment. Professional wedding photographers should be able to do a decent job though, so have a chat beforehand so that your photographer can make their plans. You may even want to shop around for photographers with this in mind.

A final point to consider on this is that not all photographers stay into the night, with many clocking off after the first dance. If you’d like the photographer to capture the display, you’ll need to make arrangements (and set some budget aside) in advance.

  1. Who will manage the display?

We’d always advise getting someone in to manage the fireworks display if it’s a wedding. You and your guests will want to relax and have a drink, and it goes without saying that people who’ve had alcohol shouldn’t be anywhere near fireworks.

It’s usually best to leave the responsibility of running a beautiful, safe display to the professionals. Just give the 1st Galaxy team a call on 0115 8559000 if you’d like to discuss options for your wedding fireworks.