I only have “ice” for you. Ice sculptures always add a welcome note of drama — and often, elegance — to a wedding reception.
Some couples display their sculptures in the foyer, on the gift table, on one end of the bridal table, or alongside the cake. The size and layout of the room should also influence where you set your sculpture. All told, your chilly work of art could weigh approximately 150 to 200 pounds, so you’ll need a sturdy table to support the weight.
How to Get Started
A great place to start when looking for ice sculptors is by gathering referrals from your family and friends. You might also be able to track down an ice sculptor in your area by browsing The National Ice Carving Association, which lists some of its members by state. The site includes international members as well as those in the United States.
Ice carvers suggest that you give them call as soon as you decide to have an ice sculpture at your reception (most sculptures will ask for at least four weeks’ lead time). Once you do, they’ll request a deposit to secure your date on their calendar.
Sometimes they’ll ask you to choose between either a hand-carved sculpture of crystal-clear ice (remarkably for its fiery, diamond-like sparkle), or one of the more affordable molded types, which can be tinted to suit the room or reception theme … and include beautiful embedded items, like roses. But for weddings, most sculptors prefer the superior clarity of hand-carved creations.
What It Costs
Typically, a sculptor will suggest that you browse through their online ice gallery for ideas and pricing, but custom design requests are usually welcome. Price quotes often include on-time delivery and set up, and a self-contained drip tray — but clarify this in advance to avoid surprises.
The ice sculptures are usually carved out of 300 pound ice blocks about 40″ high, 20″ wide and 10″ deep. So-called “one-block ice sculptures” are the cheapest, but many popular wedding designs such as “kissing swans” and leaping dolphins require more time, effort and ice — which naturally costs more. Expect to pay somewhere in the range of $400.00 to 600.00 for a typical complete package that includes delivery and set-up, fresh greenery and a lighted pedestal tray. Add-ons like out-of-zone delivery areas will hike up the price a little more, and don’t forget to account for sales tax!
Ice sculptures set up indoors will last approximately 5-8 hours. The larger the piece, the longer it lasts. As the ice melts, water collects in the self-contained drip tray. The company typically provides baby’s breath and greens to disguise and conceal the tray, so you won’t see the accumulating water. On request, they might also offer flower arrangements, candles, balloons, table swans, or customized lighting displays to embellish your ice sculpture and lend it even more drama. Most sculpting companies also rent ornate pedestals, which add a dash of elegance by giving your sculpture more height.
So what’s the most popular ice sculpture for weddings? The classic swan tends to top the list. Other favorites — kissing swans, dolphins, wedding bells, monogrammed or intertwined hearts, champagne bottles, fairytale castles, fanciful Cinderella carriages, stringed harps, bride and groom sculptures … and of course, those affordable and crowd-pleasing liquor luges.
But as Chicago, IL’s Jim Nadeau of Nadeau Ice points out, make double-sure with your venue that ice bars or liquor luges are actually allowed there before you slap down a deposit on one.