Wedding gown illustrations. Not something I would ever think of searching for on Google. But one day, I was meandering through the listings on Craigslist for wedding gowns for a photo shoot and stumbled upon a listing that caught my attention. A beautiful illustration of a wedding dress just jumped off the page. My first reaction was what’s this doing here, but then I thought about it. Where better to list something like this but on a page where ladies who have been recently married are now listing their treasured gowns for another bride to love? Talk about wedding gown preservation, this is the way to go.
So, I contacted Nick Reitenour of Reitenour Paintings to learn a little more, since I was so fascinated by the idea of capturing your own gown forever in an illustration. I could imagine the illustration lovingly framed as part of a couple’s photo wall in anyone’s home. Surrounded by mementos and photos of your wedding day, it would be stunning.
Tell us about yourself and how you got started creating works of art inspired by the Bride’s wedding gown?
I’ve been an artist for as long as I can remember, but only in the last couple years have felt that I’ve really found what I love doing. I went to the Art Institute of Minnesota and worked as a graphic artist for five years at local agencies and companies in the Twin Cities before I got really sick of staring at a computer all day. I decided to go back to school and earned a Master’s Degree in Special Education from Liberty University. I currently teach Special Education at Minnesota Transitions High School in Minneapolis. I have a beautiful wife named Stephanie and two sons named Dexter and Rowan. Each night after the kiddos go to bed, you can almost always find me in my studio illustrating and painting until I can’t keep my eyes open any longer.
I began creating wedding gown illustrations after a customer asked if I could do one for his wife’s anniversary. I had never seen one before, but I’ve always had a knack for fashion illustration and just went for it. After the first one I was hooked. I absolutely loved how personal and meaningful it was.
What’s your favorite part of your job?
My favorite part of creating wedding gown illustrations is that they are almost always ordered as a gift. I love working with grooms, parents, relatives, bridesmaids, and friends who are looking for something extremely unique and special to show the bride how much they love her.
Tell us about your creative process to create them? What goes into making them so special?
Once an order is placed, I ask for two to three photos of the bride wearing the gown for reference. I then sketch out the entire gown with just ink and then use markers, watercolors, and acrylic paints to make the piece come alive with vibrance and color.
Can you tell us about how the bride can contribute to inspiring their design?
Some brides choose their gown because of its elegance, some because it’s fun, and sometimes it’s a combination of both. I love finding out why the bride chose their particular gown because that will often help me decide whether to create an illustration that’s more defined and precise or whimsical and fun.
What’s the process to ordering an illustration?
Ordering a wedding gown illustration is simple!
First go to my Etsy shop: www.etsy.com/shop/ReitenourPaintings. Next, pick from three different sizes (11″ x 14″, 8″ x 10″, or 5″ x 7″) and click on the size you want. Pay using PayPal or a credit card, attach a photo or two for reference, and in 2 – 3 weeks your wedding gown illustration will be delivered to your doorstep!
Since we focus on destination weddings, are there any ways you can bring their destination into the illustration?
Absolutely! I often get requests to add elements from the wedding in an illustration. From sand and seashells to snow and icicles, I am more than happy to add anything that can add to the uniqueness of the occasion in the illustration. I can also add Bible verses, dates, monograms, song lyrics, and really anything else that you’d like it to say.
Is there anything else that you’d like to share with our readers?
A bride’s wedding gown is probably the most special gown a woman will ever wear. Unfortunately, a wedding gown (including my own wife’s!) often ends up in the basement, a closet, or an attic. A wedding gown illustration is a unique keepsake that a bride can hang on her wall that will remind her of her most special day and how beautiful she was for the rest of her life.
I’m often told that this is the hit of any bridal shower or anniversary party. There are gifts, and then there are keepsakes. It’s my absolute pleasure creating each and every one of these because I know how much it means to each and every bride!
To commission your wedding illustration or hire him for a live wedding painting, you can reach Nick Reitenour through his website or Etsy shop
Etsy shop: www.etsy.com/shop/ReitenourPaintings