Live Wedding Painting at M Cellars in Geneva, OH
Imagine a romantic destination wedding in Europe… So many picture-perfect, fairy-tale locations! How do you pick just one? Here’s a solution - Why not get married five times, in five different countries?! That’s exactly what Stephanie and John decided to do, followed by a big celebration closer to home, in the heart of Ohio wine country. To say I like their style is definitely an understatement (especially since they hired me to live paint the celebration!)
But let’s back up a bit…. Great ideas are nothing new to this couple. In 2009, when they were dating, they did a “World Tour of Ohio” and camped in all the Ohio cities whose names matched countries in Europe - Dublin, Rome, Vienna, Paris and London. You guessed it! That’s exactly how they determined their multi-destination, European wedding locations in 2016.
When Stephanie first contacted me, I was so intrigued to hear their story. Then, I almost couldn't believe it when she told me the venue for their celebration was M Cellars, in Geneva, OH. Anyone who knows me has heard me rave about the trees, the river and the wine out in Geneva. I swear, the peaceful, happy energy is nothing short of magical in this area, especially during the Summer and Fall. With the perfect lack of cell phone reception and just a little over an hour drive back to “reality”, it’s an instant mini-vacation any time I’m lucky enough to get out there.
It seems more and more people are starting to agree with my sentiments, as new wineries continue to pop up right and left. And of all the wineries in the area, Stephanie and John chose the exact winery for their celebration that I chose for my own rehearsal dinner just a couple years earlier! I literally painted the exact same room that was once filled with my own bridal party and loved ones - what a feeling!
Needless to say, M Cellars holds a very special place in my heart and a very high ranking on my list of favorite wineries. Matt and Tara, the winery owners, are some of the most friendly, hospitable people you’ll ever meet. Not to mention, they make some amazing wine! This husband and wife duo built M Cellars together from the ground up. Their shared ambition and passionate work ethic are so inspirational. (Read more about their story here.) I highly recommend a visit any time of year. You can relax in the tasting room next to their cozy fireplace during the colder months, or if it’s warm out, on the on the patio overlooking the vineyard with some live music. October 29th was a perfect day for Stephanie and John’s celebration, because they got the best of both worlds with the uncharacteristically warm weather we had last Fall.
I was set up to paint inside, where the walls are a bold, terracotta color that’s just perfect for an Autumn wedding. The architecture of the party room includes unique ceiling angles, lots of windows, rich wood detailing and farm chic light fixtures that cast a warm glow on the earthy red walls. Stephanie was responsible for the charming decor throughout the room, including heart shaped garland made from cut-up road maps, and brilliant Autumn leaves sprinkled on the tables among colorful flower centerpieces and votive candles. A slideshow of photos from their European wedding adventure played in one corner of the room, and in another, a talented string duo filled the space with music. A sign of the country/city names, handmade by Stephanie's father as a wedding gift, hung central on the wall as a focal point of the decor, overlooking the party.
My big challenge with this painting was the location of my setup. The room (as special and perfect as it was) was smaller than most rooms I’m used to painting for events. Even though I only need about 4x4ft of space, I was a bit cramped in the corner, and the closest table to me was so close, I was nervous I might get paint on someone! As usual, the thing I stressed about most ended up being the challenge that made the painting better. I wrestled with whether or not to include that table closest to me, and I’m glad I chose to do it. There’s something quirky and unconventional about having a reverse portrait right there in the foreground of the painting. It also helped dramatize the spacial perspective, which was nice.
I painted the happy couple mid-ground in the painting, which is exactly where they were most of the night, floating among their loved ones. Stephanie's dress was absolutely gorgeous. Actually, she had two dresses and did a wardrobe change halfway through the evening (Are you surprised? With five weddings, how could she have only one dress?!) Although both were lovely, the dress portrayed in the painting is the dress she wore during her actual wedding ceremonies in Europe.
This was such a special, fun live wedding painting to create. Thank you Stephanie and John for having me there to capture your memories on canvas! I wish you both a lifetime of love, good wine, adventures and happiness!