A Unique Keepsake: Wedding Illustrations with SamiaLynn Illustration & Design

Wedding entertainment comes in all shapes and sizes — from a group performance to music, but also artists. We’ve talked about live event painters before, but now we’re talking wedding illustrators. Wedding illustrations have grown into a real trend in the industry for couples looking for a unique keepsake for themselves or their guests. One big reason this is true is because “it’s something that is super unique and custom for the couple and/or the guests. It's like a favor and experience all in one!” according to Samantha Shammas, owner of SamiaLynn Illustration & Design.

The true beauty in these illustrations is that each artist has a different style, using different mediums or techniques — some even offer digital illustrations. For traditional illustration paper designs, options include markers, pens, and colored pencils. “It’s just personal preference from the couple,” Shammas explains. “With paper, you have the whole ‘art’ set up, plus guests are physically handed an illustration, which many couples like. With digital, there's almost zero set up (since I'm just drawing from an iPad) and sketches are emailed to each guest. It's a great option for those that don't want guests to have to carry around something all night or are more eco-conscious.”

In terms of the final product, it all depends. Shammas tells us, “Couples have to choose whether they want just one big illustration day-of or if they want me to sketch guests. . . . For live illustration, most couples want the experience for their guests. If they want to commission an illustration before or after the wedding it’s either just them together or they want to add in a background from the wedding day just as a memento.”

When it comes to sketching guests, of course, each illustrator’s quantities will vary. For example, Shammas can sketch a certain number of people by the end of the wedding, with guests coming to pick them up as they are completed. On the other hand, she notes, “If the couple decides they want more people to be able to get an illustration then I can finish them post-wedding and they get shipped to one address.” Likewise, pricing varies, and typically depends on the total number of hours, with a minimum. At SamiaLynn Illustrations & Design, for a local wedding, the average price for an evening is about $1,600; and most couples request services for three to five hours.

If you’re considering having a wedding illustrator at your wedding, of course, you should know what to ask. So we got advice from Shammas on what you should ask your illustrator before hiring them. She tells us questions should include: How many guests can be completed is definitely a big one, I always suggest hiring two illustrators if your wedding is over 75 people. Making sure that overtime terms are clearly laid out, and most of all, make sure you like the artist’s style! Each person draws differently, so ensuring you like their aesthetic is key.” We also suggest asking what their minimum number of hours is, and to see examples from past weddings — both digital and paper, so you can make informed decisions on what you want.

Wedding illustrations
Wedding illustrations
Wedding illustrations
Wedding illustrations
Wedding illustrations

 Photos courtesy of SamiaLynn Illustration & Design

Reprinted from Celebrate Weddings Magazine soon-to-be-released Spring 2023 Issue