Good To Know: What Are Wedding Venue Open Fire Laws?

If you’re planning a wedding, the last thing you’re probably thinking about is open fire laws. However, it’s an extremely important consideration before you book any venue, especially if an open flame is essential to your ceremony, as is the case with traditional Indian weddings. You don’t want to plan a meaningful ceremony or the perfect table centerpieces at your reception, only to discover that open flames aren’t allowed.

As you’re doing the fun parts of planning, like shopping for a dress and tasting cake, it’s equally important to understand wedding venue open fire laws. Here’s what you need to know.

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Every Venue Is Different

The good and the bad news is that every venue is different. That means one venue may allow open flame with certain precautions and restrictions in place, while another may flat-out refuse.

One venue may require that every candle is placed inside deep hurricane vases, while another may require you to hire a fire watch security guard throughout the duration of your event. It’s important to speak with the venue you’re interested in before signing any contracts to ensure you are able to comply with their policies.

When wedding venues with open fires are allowed, they must all follow open fire laws. However, the open fire law in New York State is going to be different than open fire laws in the UK.

For example, Los Angeles has very specific rules that must be followed. No more than four candles can be used in the centerpiece, each one has to have its own candle holder, and the flame must be at least two inches below the rim of the candle or container.

It’s important to do research on the local laws in your area, as well as talk to your venue to make sure you aren’t fined for not following the rules on your big day.

If Open Flames Are Allowed, You’ll Likely Have to Get a Permit

If you are able to find an open fire wedding venue and you’re prepared to follow all the rules set forth by the venue and local fire authorities, you will likely still need to get a permit.

Weddings that take place in large cities will likely require you to apply for a permit. If you’re in a rural area and celebrating in the family barn, you may not need to acquire a permit. However, it is important to be aware that you are responsible for any damages that may occur. If you’re celebrating on private property and you want to use candles, you may want to speak to your insurance about how you can ensure you’re covered should the unthinkable happen.

Don’t Assume You’re in the Clear If You’re Planning an Outdoor Wedding

If you’re planning an outdoor wedding, you may assume you’re in the clear, but that’s not always the case.

Your venue may not allow open flame candles for indoor celebrations, but welcome them at outdoor celebrations. Just make sure you have a backup plan in place. If it rains and you have to bring the festivities inside, how will you decorate if all of your candles aren’t allowed? It might be best to rent a tent so you can do everything according to plan, regardless of the weather.

In some areas of the country and during certain times of the year, you may not be allowed to use open flame candles outside. For example, Denver open fire laws take wildfire season into account. Your venue may allow candles outside in April or November, but not during wildfire season that starts in June and runs throughout the summer.

Certain parks may not allow open flames at all, while others may allow them with certain precautions in place. As is the case with indoor venues, it’s important to speak with outdoor venues about their policies before you sign a contract.

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Alternatives to Traditional Candles

Spending so much time, energy, and money figuring out how you can light a few candles at your wedding can start to feel like it’s more trouble than it’s worth. If there are no religious reasons to have candlelight at your ceremony or reception, you may want to consider having a no open flame wedding instead.

After all, there are plenty of great alternatives to open flame candles!

Lighting is important, so don’t scrap it altogether, but there are many other options that are just as romantic as traditional candlelight. Edison bulbs can give your wedding a funky edge, fairy lights are perfect for romantic garden weddings, and chandeliers are perfect for classy affairs. If you just can’t forget about the idea of candlelight altogether, consider flameless tealight candles and flickering light bulbs.

When it comes to centerpieces, you have tons of options! Skip the lights and candles and consider branches and naturals, like pampas grass, at an outdoor celebration, while traditional candle holders can be used to hold things like sliced fruit and candy without the need for a single flame.

No matter what vision you have for your wedding, if you’re considering candles, make sure you consider the open fire laws where you live throughout the planning process. It will ensure you comply with any local laws, rules, and regulations so you can focus on what’s really important on your big day.


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