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Weddings

These Graphic Photos Show How Dangerous Wedding Sparklers Can Be

Third-degree burns aren't exactly Pinterest-worthy.

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"I had a handful of sparklers when the bride and groom appeared in the doorway," Mullins told BuzzFeed Life.

Brian Mullins brianmullinsphotography.com

"Our practice has always been to grab a few sparklers, get the lines formed, hand out sparklers to anyone who needed them, and then help get them all lit," he said. He was holding about 10 sparklers in his hand when they were lit. He can't remember if he lit them himself or someone else did.

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"The only things I remember about it was a very hot and bright flash close to my face and a searing pain in my hand," he said.

Brian Mullins brianmullinsphotography.com

Despite the pain, he was able to keep shooting. "Wedding photographers don't have the luxury of being able to restage a missed photo, so we get the shot first then apologize, cope, or complain later," he said.

Once the couple had made their exit, Mullins ran to the bathroom to put cold water on his hand...and realized that his fingers were charred.

Brian Mullins brianmullinsphotography.com

His business partner — who had already stopped shooting sparkler send-offs after a drunken guest bumped her braid with one, costing her about 10 inches of hair — drove him to the emergency room.

Doctors treated Mullins' second- and third-degree burns and tendon damage by healing and then "debriding" the wounds.

Brian Mullins brianmullinsphotography.com

"I cannot describe the feeling of dread I got when a very pleasant man used a pair of very pointy scissors to cut open the wounds and expose the tissue underneath," he wrote on PetaPixel.

After six weeks of recovery, Mullins was able to start working again. At that point, he could only hold the camera for about two hours at a time.

Brian Mullins brianmullinsphotography.com

Despite nearly losing his hand (and his livelihood), Mullins doesn't blame anyone for what happened to him, and he still shoots sparkler send-offs.

"It was a pretty good mix of factors that combined for a bad result," he told BuzzFeed Life.

Brian Mullins brianmullinsphotography.com

"Like with any accident, any one thing could have been different and that would have affected the outcome," he said. "I am so thankful for the support of my friends, my wife, and my business partner. Without all of them, the story very likely would be 'How Wedding Sparklers Closed My Business.'"

But Mullins does have some advice for couples thinking of doing a sparkler send-off: Get the right sparklers.

Dmfoss / Getty Images

"The sparklers [that caused the injury] burned a blue color and were shorter then sparklers specifically designed for weddings," he said. "Seeing how they burned — like a blowtorch with lots of smoke — I think it’s a safe bet that the intended use was for the 4th of July."

"Wedding sparklers are almost completely smokeless and burn 'yellow' with quite a bit of 'sparkle' and not flame," he said. Their longer lengths — often up to two feet — allow several to be lit all at once, and they make for prettier pictures.

h/t PetaPixel

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