The plan was always to give each of our eight children an ice sculpture for their wedding. Ten years ago this month we watched the first of our three oldest sons get married. Two more followed in a mere six months. We’ve been to the Hotel Vancouver, local and foreign churches, a friend’s barn, Lakeside retreats and even a couple in our own backyard. This past month was no different except it was the last of our eight children who tied the knot with his Kindergarten sweetheart up at Whonnock Lake north of Maple Ridge. Jeremy was right there under our elbows when we first started carving ice sculptures some twelve years ago. For him it was another medium to express his interest in trucks and cars. He’s since moved on to other career interests but still grabs the chance to “show off” his folks business to his friends.
Ice Decor is no stranger to the wedding industry. In fact, come summer many soon-to-be couples are often looking for something “cool” to contrast the summer heat. But doing it for one of your own kids is frankly special. An ice sculpture helps to tie everything together so nicely. We often borrow the well thought out monogram on their invitation along with their names or initials in the font of their choice and add that touch of elegance that only crystal clear ice can bring. That’s what we did for Jeremy and Erika. Then we married the lighting with their décor (in this case mostly white) and Wow!
But they didn’t stop there. In the name of fun they asked me for something unique. Jeremy brought me 25 toonies (that’s a two dollar coin for all you non-Canadians) and asked me to freeze them into a large cube for display at the bar. The plan was to tease the guests into melting out as much coin as possible without the use of tools. Hands, cheeks, yes, tongues, whatever body parts you want to get them out. Harder than it sounds and by the end of the evening I retrieved the last 17 toonies out of the ice sculpture to send them on their way. Sounds pretty straight forward although I got no end of questions over how we got all those coins into the ice without any apparent cutting or fusing. You do it while the block is being frozen intermittently adding the coins over the three days it takes to manufacture the block. Then you harvest the ice and cut down the cube to match the dimensions they want. My first attempt was almost successful as I took the ice out of the block maker to store and temper in the studio. Then all of a sudden the entire block shattered. NOOOO! Sometimes it does that because of thermal shock. And sometimes it does that because of the kinds of objects we’ve been freezing into the ice. Who knows why it shattered this time. But one thing was sure, I couldn’t display any cube looking like that. So we had to melt out all the coins and start over again. The second time was successful and coin cube came out as planned.
Wedding ice sculptures aren’t nearly always predictable or even elegant. We get requests for the strangest things when it comes to weddings. There was a fire hydrant for a fireman. And a flying pig for the pair that NOONE ever thought would get married. I’m sure there was a story there.
But one of the strangest was an Optimus Prime. We got that request for a wedding to take place at the Marriott in downtown Vancouver. “What’s an Optimus Prime?” was my first comment? That should give my age away. My kids were quick to fill me in on the latest craze around transformers. But for a wedding ice sculpture??? Sometimes it’s just best to get on the telephone and call the client for some background information. So that’s what I did. And that’s when I learned that not only the ice sculpture but the whole theme of the wedding was around transformers. Right down to the music they used for their entrance. Like what I do for pretty much all our requests for ice sculptures, I began to study transformers on the internet. No two are the same but they all have that characteristic mechanical look to them. What do you think? Did we get it right? I even added a red laser light into one of its hands for special effects. What’s most important, they loved it.
And then there was the crane operator who came up with the perfect design to bring the wedding cake and the ice sculpture onto the same table. Why not carve a giant ice sculpture crane that stands over top of the six tiered wedding cake and lower their monogram onto the top? Of course! That’s the standard response for pretty much every ice sculpture request. But now figure it out. I must say though, it worked out great!
There’ll be more to come this summer I’m sure. But there won’t be any more for my own kids. The ice sculptures will have to go to other people’s kids.
Thank you for reading!