Tuesday, May 28, 2013

For the Bride Who Has Everything

Temperatures have been rather unpredictable this month on the east coast, but what is entirely predictable is that the month of May will be followed by the month of June, and June is high-water month for weddings in the US. 

I have two on my June calendar. 

In my lifetime, the American wedding has changed almost beyond recognition.  When I was a child, weddings were considered a grown-up affair and children were not invited.  Then, when I was old enough to attend, the wedding ceremony (usually in a church) was open to the public, but the reception was an intimate affair reserved for family and a few close friends. 

The bride and groom usually began their lives together in a tiny apartment furnished with hand-me-down bits and pieces they were thrilled to get.  As the young couple moved up the financial ladder, they, in turn, passed their hand-me-down pieces along to family and friends; and so it went. 

Today, weddings and receptions are lavish affairs to which the immediate world is invited.  Often, many of the guests are friends or business associates of the parents and may never even have met either the bride or the groom. 

In some cases, the bride and groom may already have started their family…

and be living in their dream house.  Clearly, a cappuccino maker as a wedding gift won’t do the trick.  They probably each had one when they moved in together, kept the most expensive one and donated the other to a cappuccino-deprived relative. 
So, what do you get the bride who has everything?  Nothing?  Sorry, not an option. 

This is where the wedding registry comes in handy.  But, does she really want that antique Russian silver samovar from Christie’s that costs more than your first house?  How often do you think THAT will get used?  

Don’t get me wrong; I do use the wedding registry when appropriate, but I think there is something delightful to be said for that element of surprise…the unexpected gift that wasn’t on the “official” list.

What about hiring a live-event artist to immortalize their special day on canvas?  It’s a brilliant idea for a gift that will truly bring joy to bride and groom for years to come, long after the tarnished silver samovar lies forgotten in the attic. 

Philadephia painter, Joan Zylkin, is just such a live-event artist. 
Following an international career in Civil Service, Journalism and Fashion, this Renaissance woman from Great Britain, found her true calling as an artist after enrolling at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts in Philadelphia. 

Wedding, Cape May, NJ, by Joan Zylkin
When not painting portraits and still lifes in her center city studio, Joan can be found somewhere in the US working her magic at weddings, bar/bat mitzvahs, fund raisers and every sort of venue that celebrates the special moments of life. 


 Wedding in the Curtis Atrium, Philadelphia, PA, by Joan Zylkin
Joan arrives several hours before the event, sets up her easel, arranges her pots of paint and with quick, masterful strokes, she captures the excitement, the colors and the ambiance of the event as seen through the eye of a gifted artist. 
Her work has been featured in “The New York Times.”
Here’s a time-lapse video of Joan at work.


For more information on this exceptional artist, go to her website or contact her directly at joan@theeventpainter.com.   
For a list of live-event artists across the country, go to “The Affluent Bride.”

Now, aren’t you glad you decided against that silver samovar? 


  1. Dearest Marie-Thérèse,
    Great post and it has a lot of truth in it! Often weddings are way over the top, compared to our time... We always pray and hope that at least their marriages will last after all that investment.
    What a great idea this event painter! That would be something precious for years to come.
    Thanks for sharing your classy insights into different lifestyles. Those gone and the ones from present day.

    1. Ma chère Mariette, it's always lovely to know that we are on "la même longueur d'onde." Perhaps it's our shared european heritage and/or a generational complicity. "En tout cas," I always look forward to your wonderful comments.

      Gros bisous, M-T

  2. Such a great idea for a wedding gift - the artist has a way of capturing the mood. Anything original is very difficult to think of and give.

    1. Joan is really a gifted artist, and I was delighted to feature her in my post. It's definitely worth thinking about an event artist for that special occasion. I'm sure there are many such artists in your area. Food for thought.

  3. Bonsoir M-T. A wonderful idea, your friend Joan's paintings. Something to remember, and more fun to look at down the road than some of the traditional "stiff" wedding photos... "Oh, you looked SOOOOOO young!" [Do I look that old now??] etc, etc.

    Mariette raises an interesting question: Are today's extravagant weddings such a good investment when so many end up in divorces? :-) Come to think of it, I am glad mine was not a very elaborate affair. Look where it led me... Ha! Ha! -- Veronique (French Girl in Seattle)

    1. Coucou ma chère. Isn't Joan's work wonderful? I know what you mean about "ancient" wedding pictures. "Did I ever look that young? And why didn't I appreciate it?"

      Mariette a 100% raison. We live in an era of obscene extravagance. I often think "If only the bride and groom had devoted as much time to the marriage as they did to planning the perfect wedding, maybe they would still be together."

      Sad but true: I have a friend who was paying for her daughter's divorce while still making payments on the wedding. Comme c'est triste.

      Big bisous, ma grande, M-T

  4. We were staying at a lovely small resort, right outside Carmel, and there was a small, exterely elegant wedding taking place there. There was a live event painter capturing the reception and I was enthralled. I had never seen that before (this was at least seven years ago) and I never forgot what a perfect gift that would be for the bride and groom. Later, that eventing, in the lounge, we overheard a man 'groan' to his wife and the other couple they were with ,that now, he would have to hire a painter for his daughter's upcoming wedding, as his wife had seen that, also. Lucky daughter.

    Warmly, Kathleen

    1. Loved your comment, Kathleen. Didn't we used to call that "keeping up with the Joneses?" It always seemed to me that the Joneses remained one step ahead of everybody.

      I love the idea of event painting, as well. Having sat for artists in my youth, I know the long hours of sitting absolutely still while they worked. I always enjoyed letting my mind run free while my body remained firmly in place.

      Thanks so much for taking the time to comment.

      Warm regards, M-T

  5. What a great idea! I am always looking for a different twist. Have used a painter a couple of times + must write her name down. Thanks for the tip. xxpeggybraswelldesign.com

    1. Yes, do contact Joan. If she is not available, check the list I mentioned on "The Affluent Bride."

      Let me know how it works out.

      Thanks for taking the time to leave a comment, Peggy.

      Warm regards, M-T

  6. It is a fact for everyone that June is a month for the brides to be. It is a month usually chosen by couples for the date of their forever union. It is a month full of smiles and family reunion. I love the paintings of such a big celebration you just presented here.

    My homepage: http://online-phd-uk.co.uk/

    1. So glad you enjoyed my piece and that you took the time to leave a comment. Thank you.

      Sounds as if you are in the wedding business. What a beautiful business to be in.

      I will be checking out your homepage.

      Regards, M-T


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