A Pro Sculptor's Guide to Wedding Ice Sculptures

Seasoned sculptors explain the artistry and techniques behind their creations—plus, how to get an ice sculpture for your big day.
Jenn sinrich headshot
Jenn Sinrich
Jenn sinrich headshot
Jenn Sinrich
The Knot Contributor
  • Jenn writes articles for The Knot Worldwide, with a speciality in planning advice and travel.
  • Jenn also writes for a myriad of other large-scale publications, including SELF, Women's Health, and more
  • Prior to becoming a freelance writer, Jenn worked as an on-staff editor at WhatToExpect.com, American Baby, Fit Pregnancy and FreshDirect.
Updated Apr 11, 2024

Chances are, you've probably at least seen an ice sculpture—whether it was at a corporate event, an outdoor exhibit or perhaps even a wedding. These works of art carved into large blocks of ice are becoming increasingly popular—especially ice sculptures for weddings. While these pretty ice cubes are usually intended to add some eye candy to a special event, they can be so much more when designed specifically for a wedding, explains Dawson List, professional ice sculptor for over 20 years in the New Orleans area and owner of Ice Dragon Ice.

"Ice sculptures for your wedding can be an eye-catching, yet functional way to present seafood, fruit or other cold foods (like sushi!), a massive crystalline vase that supports a beautiful and extravagant floral display or a huge ice luge that serves up your signature drink and adds to the fun at the bar," he says. "Your ice sculpture can also be a particularly effective way to show off your special monogram, which is kind of your brand."

Your Guide to Wedding Ice Sculptures:

Cost | When to Order | How to Find | How Long Do They Last? | Ideas | Tips

How Much Are Ice Sculptures for Weddings?

Seeing as they are works of art, you can expect the cost of ice sculpture for wedding to be fairly expensive. In fact, just the ice blocks that ice sculptors use for sculpting can often cost over $100, according to List. So, if you're spending under $300 for an ice sculpture at your wedding, he points out that it's very likely low quality. That being said, it's common for prices for ice sculptures for weddings to vary. "I would say that you should usually expect an ice sculpture for a wedding to be $500 or more, with larger ice sculptures, like ice bars or larger displays, easily running thousands of dollars," he says.

"There can be wide variations in quality, since even with recent technological innovations, ice sculpting is still an art."

List usually offers a price range instead of firm pricing, as he tends to customize his sculptures quite a bit, so the final price typically depends on the final sculpture design. "Wedding ice sculptures are perhaps a little more expensive than other ice sculptures, since they're often customized with the couple's monogram or names—and sometimes that's a lot of work," he says. "Other factors that affect pricing can include the venue, as some romantic wedding locations are not always ideal ice sculpture delivery locations."

When to Order an Ice Sculpture for Your Wedding

The sooner the better when it comes to booking an ice sculpture for your wedding. In fact, Max Barajas, with Nadeau's Ice Sculptures in Forest Park, Illinois, recommends ordering the ice sculpture for your wedding as soon as you've chosen a venue. "We can get busy at random times based on the time of year, so it's important to get your order in as soon as you have the idea to bring some ice magic to your special day," he says. "A venue change doesn't always matter to an ice sculptor but a design change, delivery timing and production allotment will mean the difference between a smooth day or a nightmare."

Find all the vendors you need

Discover top-rated pros for any budget, background and style.

How to Find Ice Sculptures for a Wedding Near You

Unless you've met an ice sculptor yourself, you might not know where to begin when it comes to finding one for your wedding. Here, seasoned sculptors share their tips for how to find one for a wedding near you.

Check Out The Knot Vendor Marketplace

Visit The Knot Vendor Marketplace to find all sorts of vendors, including ice sculptors near you. You can choose your wedding location or venue area to narrow down the search results and even type in specific keywords like "ice sculptors" or "ice carving." Each vendor listing provides details such as their services, portfolio, reviews and contact information and you can click on individual vendor profiles to learn more about their work, including examples of their ice sculptures, pricing details and availability.

Take to Social Media

Social media is another good place to start, since you often get the added benefit of "recommendations" in the form of followers and comments. "My personal favorite is Instagram, since it's photo and video focused, which is what I want and need to show off my ice, but TikTok is on the rise too," says List.

Ask Your Other Vendors

Your wedding venue or caterer might also have some ideas about where to get ice sculptures. "Ideally they have an active relationship and extensive experience with a quality ice sculptor that they can recommend," says List. "However, that's not always the case, as I'll occasionally work with venues who almost never have ice sculptures at their events."

How Long Do Ice Carvings Last?

The majority of ice sculptures are designed to last the duration of an event and then some, according to Barajas. "We often tell people it will be about a 6–8-hour window that is the prettiest stage of a piece; however, if it is 120 degrees out you may want to stage it a bit differently or time it closer to the start time of your event," he says. Of course, the temperature, humidity, whether the carving is in direct sunlight, the wind and its overall design and structural integrity will determine how long it will ultimately last.

Ice Sculpture Ideas for a Wedding

If you're looking to get inspired, check out these ice sculpture ideas that can add a touch of elegance and personalization to your special day.

Ice Bar

This functional piece of frozen art is essentially a bar structure carved entirely out of ice, complete with shelves, counters and sometimes intricate designs or logos. Guests can approach the ice bar to enjoy drinks served in ice glasses, adding a unique and memorable touch to the event experience, explains List. Ice bar sculptures are often illuminated with colorful LED lights to enhance their visual appeal and create an enchanting ambiance.

Ice Luge

You might have come across one of these in your college days. They're typically used to serve chilled beverages—often shots of liquor—at weddings. They consist of a channel of carved ice that allows beverages to flow smoothly and quickly to the bottom where guests can catch the liquid either in a glass or directly into their mouths.

Ice Sculpture Centerpieces

These more elegant and decorative pieces designed for weddings typically serve as one giant centerpiece in the middle or entryway of the wedding reception—or small sculptures on individual reception tables. They can feature all sorts of designs, shapes or themes of the couple's choosing. "Swans, vases, hearts, diamonds, rings are just some of the classically used wedding centerpieces," says Barajas.

Monogrammed Ice Sculpture

You can opt to personalize your wedding with a monogrammed ice sculpture that features your initials or wedding date.These are quite popular and can be illuminated with LED lights to create an even more stunning visual effect, notes List.

Catering Ice Sculptures

Catering ice sculptures are utilized to enhance the presentation of food and beverages at events. Some ideas that List mentions include oyster bars, shrimp cocktail stations and even fruit displays. "They are all made more elegant when presented in a custom ice display," he says. "It is the perfect way to elevate any food presentation."

Wedding Ice Sculpture Tips

Here, experts share tips for incorporating an ice sculpture into your wedding day.

Plan Ahead

As with securing any vendor, it's a good idea to start researching and booking your ice sculpture well in advance to ensure availability and allow time for customization. List recommends discussing your vision and ideas with the ice sculptor to create a design that complements your wedding theme and style.

Choose the Right Spot

Barajas recommends finding a place within your venue that won't bottleneck with people trying to snap pictures or have fun in front of the sculpture. "The crowd around this piece in the room will be second only to the couples themselves," he adds. Opt for indoor or shaded areas to prevent premature melting and ensure the sculpture remains intact throughout the event.

Coordinate With Your Venue

Make sure that both your wedding venue and caterer, if you've hired one, is well aware of the logistics surrounding the ice sculpture, such as timing, transportation, setup and cleanup. List recommends providing clear instructions and timelines to ensure a smooth and seamless experience on the wedding day.

Have an Exit Strategy

"The sculptures are beautiful and serve as a great statement for your big day, however, the clean up, if not planned for ahead of time, might be the thing that can bother you when starting your honeymoon," says Barajas. "After the piece is signed, it may be the client or venues' responsibility to perform upkeep and removal."

Up Next
  • Beautiful wedding decorations at wedding reception with disco ball
    Questions For a Wedding Decorator, According to Experts