By www.beachpeopleweddings.com and Margo Sears, The Wedding Whisperer:Couples are asking about using Chinese Sky Lanterns at their beach weddings. However, they are also banned as fireworks in North and South Carolina, due to the serious hazards they present.
Cheryl Turner, researcher in South Carolina, wrote this: "Lately, I’ve been asked about releasing Chinese Sky Lanterns. After much research and phone calls to State and Local Fire Marshals, these are under the category of Fireworks. Fireworks are not legal in Horry County (Myrtle Beach). The State of South Carolina has banned them. They are not safe for the environment. They say they are biodegradable, but they are not. They carry a fuel cell that supposedly extinguishes in a few minutes, however, they have been known to stay lit as long as 10 minutes. They can fly into trees, vegetation and drop into oceans, rivers and ponds. The lanterns have been attributed to starting house fires and a lantern falling into some trees in Myrtle Beach, SC was attributed to burning 900 acres on July 3, 2011.
"They also contain small wires and different types of paper that wildlife and sea life try to consume. Not a nice ending for those poor creatures. You have no control as to which way the wind will carry it. Because it is fire, a burn permit would be required because it is a burning hazard. They may be cool and beautiful to see, but they are dangerous. Even countries that make them have banned them because of the fires being set and homes destroyed." North Carolina bans fireworks statewide too.
Want alternatives? Big and small ideas:
- hire an professional pyrotechnic company to set off fireworks and THEY get the necessary permits (may not be possible at all locations). Ask a nearby baseball stadium management who does their fireworks.
- Hire a lighting company or DJ with colored, moving dance lights/a mirror ball
- Hire a balloon drop or a biodegradable confetti drop.
- Hire a dove release with at least 6+ birds.
- Hire a butterfly release service... not good in cool or cold seasons... they just fall down.
- Give out sparklers to your guest as the sun sets! Set out several lit candles FIRST so all sparkler sticks can all be lit at one time....its slow going otherwise. Caution: sparklers burn tiny holes in your nice clothes.
- Hang strings of paper Chinese/Japanese lanterns and streamers for decor....with or without light bulbs.
- Use electric flickering "candles" in cool, mirrored containers for room decor.
- Post tall, colorful, flapping Bali flags around your ceremony site for skyward movement and flash.