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Entertaining by Paintbrush: Live Wedding Paintings Explained

Have you ever heard of Live Paintings? Live Wedding Paintings to be exact. Just a year ago, my answer was surprisingly no, but today I can proudly say my life has changed because of them. I was a graphic designer, marketing specialist and custom watercolor home portrait artist looking for something bigger to be a part of. I wanted to share my artistic skills on a more grand level. It wasn't until a friend asked me if I'd do a live painting at her wedding, that I began to research the concept!

What is a LIVE Painting?

Live painting is a form of "plein air" (outdoors) painting used to capture a special moment during the wedding. A professional live painter or artist brings his or her own canvas and art supplies to paint a scene in real-time at the wedding.

LIVE Wedding Paintings have become a most unique form of entertainment for guests in attendance, but most importantly, the painting ends up being a favorite keepsake or heirloom for the couple. It's a truly authentic way to capture a special moment of a day to be cherished for years to come. It's a once-in-a-lifetime experience—one that you, your partner, your family, and guests will be able to witness firsthand.

Whether you're hearing about this unique wedding idea for the first time or are looking to book your very own live wedding painter, I've put together a comprehensive guide to help answer all your questions.

Live Wedding Painting Cost

There are various costs to factor in - including travel, the size of the canvas and the number of pieces commissioned - you can expect to spend upwards of $1,000 for a live wedding painter.

The most important part of booking a live wedding painter is finding someone who has the availability and who fits your style. While live wedding painting is growing in popularity, there aren't many of us out there to choose from. So, take your time researching your choices, look through the artists portfolio and read reviews from other clients and couples. Once you and your partner have decided that you want to hire a live painter for your wedding, don't delay. Wedding season dates fill up quickly! Hiring an artist eight months to a year and a half prior to your wedding date is often necessary to get the artist you love!

Style of Live Paintings

There are three primary painting types to know before starting your search. Each live wedding artist definitely has his/her/their own unique style of painting that tends to fit into the following categories:

Realism: painting is such a reflection of real-life it could be mistaken for a photograph

Impressionism: not quite realism, but an 'impression' of the people, light, and atmosphere

Abstractionism: using shapes, forms, and colors to create a composition

While some artists may dabble in multiple painting styles, it's super important to allow the artist to 'do their thing' in their natural style that comes quickly and easily to them. Trying to execute a different style of painting may result in a final piece that neither the couple nor artist loves. No one wants that!

Work one-on-one with the live painter prior to the wedding day to come up with a composition that brings your vision to life. Whether there's a portion of the room you want to be highlighted or a floral display that you definitely want to include, be sure to relay that information. Discuss how many people you'd like to be in the painting, which can also be a major factor in the total cost of your painting. And, whether or not you'd like each face to be painted in, or if you'd prefer some or all of the faces to be left without detail.

Questions to Ask Before Booking a Live Painter

From general questions about pricing and setup to the style of live painting and the exact moment you want to be documented (such as the first dance or walking up the aisle), there's no shortage of details you'll want to flesh out beforehand. For example, is it important for a couple to have their completed painting in hand by the end of the night? Or, are they all right with allowing the artist to take it home for additional touch-ups?

Ultimately, as mentioned above and worth bringing up once more, it comes down to the style of painting you and your partner envision for your special day. Art is incredibly personal, and artists want our work to be cherished. If you don't love an artist's portfolio, move on to someone else. Or, in other words, don't try to get the string quartet to play mariachi at the wedding, it won't turn out well.

CA-Milleworks is currently offering half-off to any couple getting married in these last few months of 2021. If you are interested in having a live painting at your wedding, reach out for's a unique experience to be cherished!

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