Would You Hire Someone to Paint Your Wedding?

One wedding-reception trend that is showing no signs of slowing down — and, in fact, seems to be becoming more of a bona fide tradition than a trend — is live painting. Just two or three years ago, hiring an artist to “capture” your wedding reception on canvas in the form of a painted rendering seemed to be a passing fad, an interesting, trendy way to go beyond the de rigueur photos and video.

Artists who advertise their services for weddings and events continue to pop up all over the country, including here in Westchester and the Hudson Valley, where many artists say they’ve seen noticeable to “dramatic” increases in wedding bookings.

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In addition to more artists advertising their services for weddings, as more couples opt for live painting, their requests are becoming more specific and their tastes more sophisticated. Couples are going beyond the standard art-fair acrylic real-time portraits and requesting different styles and interpretations. Of course, with more customization and more talent come higher price tags.

photos courtesy of Janet Howard-Fatta

Prices are all across the board, but expect to pay $1000 to $1500 on the low end to $5000, $10,000 or more, depending on the talent, experience, and name recognition of the artist, as well as on the size and scope of the finished product. Most painters charge a “package” price, which includes their time (artists generally will remain onsite for the duration of your reception and, depending on how your wedding is structured, the ceremony as well; six hours is pretty standard) as well as the finished painting and, sometimes, framing.

Thinking of hiring a painter for your wedding? Do your research. Visit artist websites, read reviews, ask recently married friends for recommendations, and check out wedding websites and magazines (like, say, Westchester/Hudson Valley Weddings). Think about and discuss with your spouse-to-be the painters and painting styles you like (Impressionism? Expressionism? Cubism? Surrealism? Pop art?), and then make a short list of painters. Interview potential painters and ask:

• How long have you been painting?
• Did you attend art school (if so, which one) or are you self-taught?
• Do you have a signature style?
• Who is your favorite painter?
• What if I don’t like the finished painting?
• Will you work with more than one canvas?
• What materials/paints do you work with (oils, acrylics, watercolors)?

Don’t be afraid to ask to see samples (in person, not just online) and ask for references. Also, find out up front how much “say” you have in the look of the painting. Some painters will work with you and consider the painting a “work for hire.” Other artists, generally those who’ve established a reputation and are well known for a specific style, will think of this as a commissioned portrait, in which case you are paying the artist for his or her own vision.

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Here are a few area artists who do live-event painting; some specialize in weddings:

Dan Angeli
Captured on Canvas

Janet Howard-Fatta

G&C Studios Live Event Painting


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