Behind the Scenes with a Live Wedding Painter

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A small island girl turned wedding business guru. I show wedding pros how to grow flourishing wedding businesses. Join me on this journey by reading my blog.

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Seeing a blank canvas transform in real-time to represent a beautiful wedding scene is an intriguing and delightful way to add an extra special touch to a wedding day. 

In this week’s podcast episode, we are slightly moving away from business marketing to take you to the behind-the-scenes of a unique wedding business as we interview Emily Bransfield, an Ontario-based artist and the owner of Emily Paints Events. Emily provides a unique experience by creating a live painting during the couple’s wedding day. Paintings are completed almost entirely on-site at the wedding, combining a live entertainment experience with the sentiment of the couple’s first family heirloom.

For Emily, her passion for creating a live wedding painting is more than just a simple task; it’s also about giving the couple and their guests a one-of-a-kind experience.

How Emily started as a Live Wedding Painter

When I asked Emily what inspired her to become a live wedding painter, she said it wasn’t until she began attending friends’ weddings in 2019. It wasn’t much of an epiphany but it came from a situation where she was always wondering what she could give them as a wedding present. That’s when she thought of painting live at the weddings of her friends. After doing some research, she found that live wedding painting had happened as well before at some weddings. She was hesitant at first, but after realizing that just a few professionals in the Canadian wedding industry do it professionally, she decided to give it a shot.

Emily rolled with it and grew from there without much planning and understanding of the business side of things. Although it may not appear to be an original concept, she realized that the potential and opportunities that come with it have served as fuel for her passion to continue painting live at weddings. She realized that although live wedding paintings offer a unique experience for the couple, it was both a blessing and a curse since not all wedding clients were aware that such a wedding service existed. Competition may not be an issue, but awareness certainly is.

A live wedding painting creates a more intimate atmosphere for these weddings because of how the pandemic has transformed the way couples plan their wedding preparations. She would often insert images of the couple’s pets, as well as deceased family members, in the live wedding painting to make it more special and sentimental.

What is the process of preparing for a live wedding painting?

Have you ever wondered how a live wedding painting unfolds? Emily highlighted that this will be based on the couple’s preferred scene, but usually, it’s the first dance. Prior to the live wedding painting session on the wedding day, she goes over the details of the wedding planning with the couple. This is where they discuss the details of the timeline and floor plans. From there, they try to figure out where in the wedding venue Emily would fit best on the wedding day. 

Essentially, she comes to the wedding a few hours before so she can prepare beforehand. Since this is a live painting, she doesn’t usually need a whole lot of things, she only needs her easel with some paints. Looking at the whole room, she makes sure she is in a really good location where she can see the best wedding scene that she will be painting live. This is also helpful for her so she can clearly envision how her painting is going to turn out when the guests come in. 

When the couple does their first dance, she would also take a lot of videos and photos to capture everything, especially the perfect moment that will translate best into the scene of the wedding painting. She uses these photos and videos only as a reference so she can create the outline. Once she gets the outline of the painting, she proceeds to paint live with the guests in it. When it’s all done, she turns the easel around, has a little spotlight, and does the final reveal for the couple and the wedding guests. 

After the wedding, she takes the painting with her, does her finishing touches, frames it, and sends the final version to the couple after a few weeks. 

How long does the whole live wedding painting process take from start to finish?

Do you want to learn more about how long it takes to complete a live wedding painting? Emily states that it all depends on the canvas size. The smaller size (16X20)  is usually 6 to 7 hours. Whereas, if it is a bigger size (30X40), this is around 10 to 11 hours on-site and would probably be done at 80% at the end of the wedding ceremony. Some guests may be wondering why the painting isn’t finished yet, Emily emphasized that since this is a bigger canvas, it would need more details. This would mean more time to work on the wedding painting after the event so it would turn out really beautiful.

How to deal with anxiety when creating a live wedding painting in front of the guests?

In every live activity, anxiety or nervousness are unavoidable. For Emily, she doesn’t remember a time that she wasn’t nervous. According to her, the first 2 hours are the most crucial and rough part of her live wedding painting process. This is when the nervousness starts to creep in because the painting hasn’t really looked like the beautiful masterpiece she wants to see at the end. This first stage consists of lines, and patchy colors then start to slowly get better as the hours go by. 

Where Emily feels most in her element? When a wedding guest comes over and expresses their curiosity about the wedding painting she is creating. This is partly because she loves showing people what she is doing. She would sometimes have an opportunity to meet and exchange art styles with other artists that also happen to be guests at the wedding where she’s doing the live painting. 

Even with a little anxiety and nervousness here and there, Emily feels different when she starts painting. This makes her feel more excited than anything else since this is really her passion. The kind of nervousness that is not afraid of not finishing the painting, but the nervousness that comes from her own excitement and thrill. As well as the kind that wants to make sure that the painting will not just be done at the end of the wedding day but would also turn out to be a masterpiece.

Who is Emily’s dream client and how does she works with them?

Let’s be honest here, we’ve all imagined our dream client. For Emily, defining her dream client and refining her work style has given her a different type of fulfillment.

Emily realized that in order to provide the highest quality of service to her wedding clients, she needed to focus on a specific type of wedding client. Emily loves working with the type A personalities or those who have chosen to hire a wedding planner. The organized and methodical way of these planners has helped her to work in a more fluid flow, allowing her to focus more on her live wedding painting process.

Finally, Emily highlighted that the magnificent blend of wedding decorations, as well as the love and warmth that the wedding couple and guests radiate, is what makes the whole live wedding painting experience an unforgettable one.

Emily’s Styling mats and make your flat lay photography to a whole other level!

Emily has always painted customized portraits, but introduced painted styling mats to be used by wedding planners, photographers or small businesses who photograph their own products. This ensures that, even if a backdrop isn’t available at some wedding venues, wedding pros will still have a stunning backdrop for their photoshoots. This backdrop is dual-sided, with one side hand-painted in neutral colors and the other side is a complementary style fabric for those who want a cleaner look in their layouts. These can also be rolled up and conveniently packed in bags for optimum efficiency.

Do you want to know more about Emily’s customized artworks, and portfolio, and how she can provide a unique experience of creating a live painting on your wedding day? 

Make sure to connect with Emily on her website and on her Instagram

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