The True Story of an Ice Sculpture at a Hot, Summer Wedding

Planning Tips

Some things that work at wedding venues in the north are not, in my professional opinion, practical in the tropics. Ice sculptures, for example, don't belong at an outdoor, summer reception in the Caribbean. Or anywhere it's really hot.

The truth of the matter is that you can have anything at your wedding reception, if you're willing and able to pay for it. But just because you can get it, doesn't mean it will actually work out the way you intended when you had the idea.

A few years ago, a mother of the bride requested an ice sculpture for her daughter's wedding. The wedding was on Mother's Day, and the bride had planned everything with her mom, so when I got the call with the special request, just a week before the wedding, I moved heaven and earth to make it happen.

I was planning the wedding on Vieques Island, a tiny spot seven miles off the eastern tip of Puerto Rico. I knew there had been ice sculptures at the one large hotel on the island in the past, so it could be done. But that sculpture was displayed inside a very well air-conditioned ballroom, so all things weren't equal. My bride and groom were having their reception at a waterfront villa, and the mother of the bride wanted her ice art outside in a lit display near the bar cabana.

The owner of the ice plant on the island explained that the water locally available on the island was too mineral-rich to be carved. It would crack and crumble. So the ice, and its sculptor, would have to be procured elsewhere.

I found several talented folks on the big island of Puerto Rico who were willing to bring an ice sculpture to Vieques, but I was on the hook for arranging ferry passes for their refrigerated truck and a huge power supply outside at the venue. Remarkably, everything went smoothly on the wedding day.

See More: 4 Things Guests Should Never (Ever!) Do at Summer Weddings

I had a bit of a battle with the guys who brought the ice sculpture because they wanted to set it up early, prior to the ceremony, while the sun was still high in the sky. I knew darned well that, if I let them take it out of the freezer too early, it would be an unrecognizable, melting mess by the time the bride and groom saw it when their pictures were done after the ceremony. They kept asking if they could start, and I kept telling them "NO!"

Mom had chosen a sculpture with two swans facing each other, forming a heart. It was beautiful for about 15 minutes before it really started to melt. Once the melting started, the details disappeared pretty quickly. For awhile, it looked like the swans were crying. Then it was just a melting heart, until the heart broke.

At least it wasn't the sculpture of a dolphin she'd originally selected. I'll let you use your own imagination as to what THAT looks like when the features melt off!

Sandy Malone is the owner of Sandy Malone Weddings & Events and author of How to Plan Your Own Destination Wedding: Do-It-Yourself Tips from an Experienced Professional. Sandy is the star of TLC's reality show Wedding Island, about her destination wedding planning company, Weddings in Vieques.

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