Kristin Banta is a Los Angeles event planner who specializes in weddings, but you may not know this from her past roles.
For a wedding, she designed a gigantic banana peel on the reception floor. In another, she worked with vendors to construct 250 feet of gold nautical rope to serve as the centerpiece. For a third, she had a flock of 5,000 paper cranes made.
The strangest thing, however, was probably the antlers dipped in car paint. Or maybe it was the floating candy cloud accessible via a golden ladder.
“Today’s couples want something provocative, memorable, eventful, tangible and reflective of who they are as a couple,” said Ms. Banta.
Ms. Banta added that while this artistic trend began before the pandemic, she has noticed an increase in new customers looking to incorporate installations into their wedding design.
Throwing a few floral centerpieces on a table, serving a meal, hiring a DJ or band is no longer enough for a couple. Artists are now the newest in-demand provider as some weddings are starting to resemble interactive art galleries.
Dr. Prethee Martina, a 29-year-old plastic and reconstructive surgeon in Chennai, capital of the state of Tamil Nadu in southern India, has been obsessed with Vincent Van Gogh since she was a teenager. When it came to her wedding to Dr. Ram Gautham, an orthopedic surgeon, in Pondicherry, India last November, she wanted her favorite artist to play a major role.
“I ended up studying medicine,” she said, “but I always wanted the first artist I was introduced to take part in such an important day in our lives.”
Dr. Martina asked her wedding planners to recreate the idea of Mr. Van Gogh’s paintings. They installed a starry night abstraction at the gates of their wedding venue in Pondicherry, a small French town in the heart of southern India. Wheat and lavender fields were laid out along the paths to the farm. They filled the courtyard with sunflowers, created abstract sunflower backgrounds and fabric table arrangements, and turned an empty courtyard with a green wall and a massive flower arrangement into the iconic green bridge. The 50-person wedding cost about $ 50,000.
Other couples seek inspiration in museums. Beth Helmstetter, the founder and director of Los Angeles-based Beth Helmstetter Events, hired an artist to create a sketch that would be used on both stationery and the dance floor. For another wedding, Ms. Helmstetter said, she created a rose chandelier installation inspired by a work of art the couple had seen in a museum.
“Art is always a source of inspiration for me and my customers,” says Ms. Helmstetter. “It’s quite common for us to hire artists to create sets, stationary, and more.”
Wedding creations are a relatively new experience for artists. Josana Blue has been an artist in Brooklyn for more than 20 years and was asked to do a large-scale installation at Sound River Studios in Long Island City, Queens, for a wedding last year. In October she realizes her second major installation.
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“As artists, we all find our different venues, our audiences and our patrons,” said Ms. Blue. “We have to be very versatile with our creative abilities in order not only to remain employed, but also to remain loyal to ourselves as artists.”
The weddings she hosts allow her to create massive installations that would otherwise be exhibited in galleries and museums. At the same time, it creates lifelong memories for couples, Ms. Blue said.
After the wedding, the couples are encouraged to keep their art installations whenever possible. If not, they will be broken down by the artist or event planner and reused for other events. Jove Meyer, the founder and creative designer of Jove Meyer Events in New York, discovered that a couple are planning to save a huge canvas backdrop from their wedding for their home.
Artists aren’t the only new entrants being hired for art installations in the wedding world.
Designlab Experience was hired to host a 3,500-person wedding in Dubai in 2014 to create a lucid dream where guests are aware that they are dreaming. To make this work possible, the company has partnered with artists to create ephemeral clouds from Swarovski crystals and three-dimensional magical creatures. The Covent Garden Chamber Orchestra under the direction of Pamela Nicholson was also hired.
“The guests immersed themselves in a dreamlike room, filled with 15,000 glow sticks, 65,000 Swarovski crystals, 4,000 paper cranes, a full orchestra, birds, falcons, gazelles, flowers and fine cuisine,” says Hibah Albakree, the managing partner of Designlab Experience.
Moods can of course also be created on a much smaller scale.
Peter McKintosh, a theater and costume designer in London, spent about $ 2,500 on Harriet Parry, a florist, to turn a gastro pub into “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” for a wedding.
Mr. McKintosh wanted the arrangements to look fancy, so Mrs. Parry placed prickly red roses, moss, and fake butterflies throughout the pub to create the desired effect.
Couples can also create their own murals, display hanging ribbons, or reimagine everything they see in their favorite museum.
It is sure to be a sold out event.