We've all seen the photos. Epic, thick, coloured clouds envelop the newly married couple, making them look like literal icons of Greek mythology. But those trendy little smoke bombs are not as simple, straightforward, or even as legal as one might think. But if smoke bombs are a must have for your nuptials, you're not alone.
So we've gathered the best tips from around the internet to make sure you can capitalize on these amazing visual elements on your wedding day.
Photo by Meg Lawson.
Check up on legality
In the States, smoke bombs are considered fireworks. This was the biggest surprise for us! As such, they are restricted in any area which considers fireworks illegal. However, if you request permission and let the necessary authorities know of your plans, you should be fine to use them.
However, like traditional fireworks, they can disrupt the people and environment around you when set off. As such, setting smoke bombs off near a road or another thoroughfare in which vision is necessary, or in any enclosed areas, is probably not a good idea.
Let your venue know
If you set off a plume amid the vines of an Okanagan winery, you will definitely get yelled at. While quieter and less disruptive in some ways than traditional fireworks, smoke bombs bring with them their own specific risks and your venue may be vehemently opposed.
For example, smoke bomb canisters get quite warm, and when set off, they spark. Both of these characteristics make them fire hazards. Your venue will be able to advise if this is a reasonable risk, or if they won't allow it on their property. We recommend using smoke bombs on your own property for this reason—though you would assume full liability, and should have fire extinguishers nearby.
The last thing to note is that smoke bombs are illegal on crown or public land, so whipping a few out at Joshua Tree—while it would look amazing—is illegal. The same goes in Canada.
Photo from Pinterest.
Mind your dress
Did you know that smoke bombs can stain? Because most smoke bombs use a water soluble dye, any colour should wash off most materials—but it absolutely could stain both your wedding dress and your skin! You do not want to wind up with green dye all over you for your cocktail hour and reception following your photo session.
Similarly, smoke bombs can dye the things nearest them—so be sure to be mindful if using them on someone else's property or at a venue. You don't want to get stuck with a huge cleaning and repainting bill if the wind changes and blows your hot pink smoke cloud back into the facade of your venue.
Brief your photographer
Shooting smoke bombs is not as easy as it might seem. Usually, it's done very well—but your photographer should have practice before you set yours off. You'll only have about a minute of burn time, and each bomb can run up to $10 per unit, so you will want to make sure you can get the best possible photos in a very short timeline. Ask to see your photographer's smoke bomb portfolio, and be sure that they're comfortable with the undertaking. Generally, a slight underexposure is best to capture the richness of the smoke bomb colour—especially on a digital camera, which captures ample picture information in the shadows which can then be lightened later.
Photo from Junebug.
Get lots of inspiration
Know what you want. Do your research. Look at tons of photos. And make sure you know exactly the colours you will be receiving! As smoke mingles, it can look muddy, so be sure to opt for complementary colours like pink and red which will swirl together more like a sunset rather than dirty dishwater. Similarly, brief your photographer on exactly the sort of image you want captured—do you want stoic? Fun? Goofy? Epic? With such a quick burn time, you'll need to be clear on your goal. Bring lots of photos to share with your photographer as examples.
Any other questions? Let us know below!