When it comes to planning their wedding day, couples are more focused than ever on creating a unique experience for their guests. With that in mind, they're booking out-of-the-box ideas for wedding entertainment. One that has become increasingly popular is hiring a live artist to paint a scene from your ceremony or reception. Not only can these talented pros serve as a way to regale your family and friends, but they'll also create a keepsake that you and your spouse can treasure for a lifetime.
What's a live painter?
A live artist is a professional who is hired to paint a scene of your special day from either the ceremony or the reception, such as the vows or the first dance. “I love capturing the purest, intense celebration of love. It’s simply beautiful and contagious,” says Nancy Murphy of Yellow Dot Artist.
How do you find a live artist?
A good place to start is with your wedding planner, who might have already worked with a live artist at a previous event. You can also ask your venue and other vendors for recommendations, or simply do an online search for professionals in your area.
What should I consider before hiring a live artist?
Before you book a live artist, be sure to take a look at their online portfolio to make sure you like their work. Every artist has their own style so it’s crucial that they can match the look that you envision for the final product. In addition, ask them for references so you can speak to other couples who have hired them to work their wedding day.
Of course, it’s also important to speak to the artist, either in person or virtually. You want everyone you hire for this special event to be people you get along with and will be enjoyable to work with throughout the day. You’ll want to discuss how visible you want the artist to be throughout the event. Do you want them to hide in the back or be in a busy area where people can easily watch what they’re doing?
How much does it cost?
The price typically ranges anywhere from $2,500 to $8,000. Murphy charges $2,500, with half due as a deposit and the other half after the wedding once the couple receives the final product. You also want to find out if the artist will give you the rights to use the painting for thank you cards, prints, and so on. Some artists charge additional fees to release the rights.
How long does it take?
As Murphy points out, painting is a time-consuming process, so she'll usually paint during the reception—even if she’s hired to capture the vows. “Normally I'll take a video during the ceremony to capture the perfect moment to feature in the painting,” she explains. “I'll do a screenshot of the moment and use it as a painting reference that I use to finish the painting.”
Is there anything you should give the artist beforehand to help with the process?
Murphy likes to have a photo of the bride’s wedding dress before the big day. After all, this will be one of the most important features in the painting so studying the details is important. “I also like to tour the venue in advance or, at least get photos,” she explains, adding that she will often do some sketches before the wedding to capture the essence of a place.
Hero photo courtesy of Christi Martin Photography