Wedding Wisdom Wednesday: Hiring a Live Painter for Your Reception

Local wedding pros share insight and tips for planning your wedding.

Rachel Vaught
A couple reacts to their live wedding painting by Rachel Vaught (left).

Central Ohio couples are learning the benefits of hiring a live wedding painter, which is growing in popularity to compete with caricature artists, photo booths and other forms of non-musical entertainment.  With colors mixed and paintbrush in hand, your live painter provides a captivating experience for your family, friends and of course, you! Even better, your painting is a one-of-a-kind keepsake infused with the love and excitement of your wedding day, meant to be enjoyed for a lifetime.

What is Live Wedding Painting?

Live event painters capture a moment of the couple’s choice—such as the first look, kiss at the ceremony or first dance at the reception—in a painting. Artists typically paint on-site for between four and seven hours during your event, offering up a memorable experience for you and your guests and an heirloom keepsake to remember your big day.

What’s great about live painting is that it is highly customizable, and you can use your imagination. For example, if your fur baby Fido has to stay home on your wedding day, your artist can paint them in as if they were there, too!

A scene painted on-site by a live wedding painter.

Guest Entertainment

When was the last time you saw a work of art come to life before your very eyes? Live painting is a unique form of entertainment that wows your guests as they watch the painting take shape over the course of the event. Most artists are happy to chat with guests and answer questions about their painting process. Some will even let your guests add a few brushstrokes to the painting, making this activity a perfect alternative for guests who  aren’t into hitting the dance floor!

An Heirloom Keepsake

Live event painter Rachel Vaught works on a piece.

After your wedding, the painting is yours to enjoy. Some artists will take the painting home to add finishing touches before adding varnish and shipping or delivering the painting to you. Other artists will finish your painting on-site and leave it with you on your wedding night.

If your painting was created on a canvas, it will be ready to hang as soon as you receive it, although you can get it framed if you would like. If your painting was created on paper, such as with watercolors, you will want to frame it as soon as possible. Be sure that the glass in the frame has UV protection to ensure the piece won’t fade.

Even if your artist varnishes the painting for protection against dust and UV rays, it is recommended that you display your painting out of direct sunlight to avoid color fade and ensure its longevity.

Live event painter Rachel Vaught works on a piece.

Choosing Your Live Painter

The most important thing to keep in mind when choosing your live painter is to ask yourself if their style of painting fits your taste in art. Live painting styles can range from abstract or cartoon-like to impressionist or even photo-realistic. There are also a range of mediums an artist can use, although the most popular include acrylic paint, oil paint and watercolor. Artists often have their portfolios on their website or Instagram; it’s important to check out past work to help determine if their painting style suits your vision.

While live event painting is often dubbed as “trendy,” humans have been creating art from life for hundreds of thousands of years. The creation of art during a day filled with so much love and joy just makes sense!

A couple reacts to their live wedding painting.

Rachel Vaught is the owner ofRachel Vaught Art, specializing in live event painting and custom portraits in the Midwest and beyond. Rachel’s painting style is based in realism with a soft, impressionist touch. She cherishes the opportunity to connect with so many wonderful couples and vendors in the wedding industry, drawing inspiration from the special people and moments she paints. Find Rachel on Instagram at @rachelvaught.artist to follow along with her live painting journey.

A scene painted on-site by a live wedding painter.