One enhancement that we love and is very popular with couples is our Dancing on the Clouds effect.

Think Top of the Pops (if you are old enough) or more recently X factor or Britain’s Got Talent. This is when there is the effect of a rolling cloud lapping your feet with a thick blanket of dry ice clouds.

It is a stunning effect and you can see it first-hand at our Instagram page:

So, unless you really understand the variety of machines on the market, to the untrained eye, they all appear to do the same job AND more importantly, what do/have your venues said about using the Dancing on the Clouds at their establishment?

We have first-hand experience of venues telling our couples that they can’t have it for their first dance as their health and safety policy don’t allow it or it will set off fire alarms. To us, this is because other suppliers have come in with something that doesn’t use co2 capsules and it has set off the smoke alarms. This causes massive headaches for the venues and quite rightly, puts up a barrier to not allowing any effects like this.

However, there are massive differences between them all and please allow us to explain. Perhaps you can pass this on to your venue to put their mind at ease!?

There are three effects that use different solutions for creating a “clouds” effect.

Firstly, which is the one that we use, is dry ice. 

In 1924, Thomas B. Slate applied for a US patent to sell dry ice commercially. Subsequently, he became the first to make dry ice successful as an industry.

 In 1925, this solid form of CO2 was trademarked by the DryIce Corporation of America as “Dry ice”, leading to its common name. That same year the DryIce Co. sold the substance commercially for the first time, marketing it for refrigeration purposes. Nowadays, it’s used for tv, film and amongst many other uses…weddings!

Dry ice uses a solid form of carbon dioxide which turns straight into a gas instead of going into a liquid. We use pellets that allow a quicker way of dissolving into the water, creating a faster, more powerful output.

The dry ice we receive from professional manufacturers is -78.5 degrees celsius and the water is heated to 80 degrees celsius, which is the optimum temperature for the dry ice to create the clouds effect and once it hits the water, the pellets go straight to gas from solid, skipping the liquid state. This is called sublimation. 

Sublimation is most often used to describe the process of snow and ice changing into water vapour in the air without first melting into water.  The machine we use is the Rolls Royce of dry ice machines, The ADJ Entour Ice. This literally is a tour-grade machine which means that rock and pop stars use this machine for tours.

The gas hits the floor as the carbon dioxide is heavier than air and it lasts around 5 minutes, which is ideal for a first dance. 

The most important aspect of dry ice is that it is completely safe with fire alarms as it is a gas and not particles in the air like a smoke machine and to a lesser extent, a haze machine. What this means is that it is scientifically impossible for the dry ice to rise any higher than waist height. Given that smoke and heat alarms are way above heads, you are COMPLETELY safe with dry ice. Venues are most concerned about this issue over anything else but please be reassured that scientifically, alarms can NOT go off!

The only downside is that to heat the 25 litres of water to 80 degrees takes around an hour but, as an Irish man once said, good things come to those that wait!

The other methods of trying to create the clouds effect, which many suppliers state are safe are firstly a smoke machine.

A smoke machine uses a water-based fluid which is passed through a massive heater block and dispersed like a cloud in the air. The smoke fluid is relatively cheap and the heating time is around 15 minutes. It is quick to fill a room but is the most likely to set off fire alarms. It evaporates into the air quickly as it is water-based and after it heats up, it evaporates into the air creating a nightclub look. This is horrendous for fire alarms and can make your first dance photos look amateur and really impact the photographer’s quality.

The third and final method is a low fog machine

A low fog machine (similar but not exactly the same as a dry ice machine) produces a thick, opaque fog that remains close to the ground to create a ‘walking on air’ effect. Fog machines create this effect by cooling fluid to liquid particles. A low fog machine usually creates an intense burst of fog rather than a subtler diffusion, like a hazer. 

The effect of a low fogger is similar to that of a smoke machine– they are both designed to create a visual effect/impact, whereas a haze machine is designed to emphasise other effects such as lighting beams or lasers. We found that if the room is warm, the clouds don’t stay low and start to evaporate. The machine cools fluid to liquid particles and it is these particles that can set off alarms, unlike our machine. 

We hope this helps you (and venues) understand the massive difference between a professional-grade dry ice machine and the others.

Please have a look at our Dancing on the Clouds page.