The Unexpected Red Theory + Weddings


February 28, 2024

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picasso, the million dollar napkin and live painting
I create timeless heirloom paintings for couples looking for an original and intentional way to capture their wedding day, and I do it live.

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Truth be told, I do NOT gravitate towards red.

In any form.

When I told my florist I wanted pink flowers, and he told me he would include red peonies with the pink ones, I thought THERE IS NO WAY this will look good.

But OMG, did he have a vision. And on the day we arrived for the walk through, I knew letting him make the call was the right one.

It was unexpected to have red and pink together, but oh my goodness, did it make the flowers pop in such a beautiful way.

As I read through Vogue’s In and Out list for 2024, the thing that hits me most is the desire for CUSTOM — custom everything and making it personal, and providing a guest experience full of hospitality.

Attire ✅

Menu ✅

Invitations ✅

Florals ✅

Negative space ✅

In that same vein, when asked about guest experience by Business Insider, these two luxury planners said this:

Jung Lee, the founder of FÊTE, said. “It’s always been about the guest experience and really taking care of the guest and being super duper thoughtful from beginning to end.”

“The weddings are still extremely extravagant,” Blum said. “It’s just a different vibe.” (Business Insider)

Guest experience makes or breaks luxury weddings

Enter the Unexpected Red Theory

I don’t know about you, but I’m seeing examples of the Unexpected Red Theory all over my reels (I am a millennial, and as one, I see all the TikTok’s about a month after on Instagram like a grown up…).

It has taken over Design-stagram and DIY-stagram through something as simple as a red frame or as big as a whole red room.

This wedding I painted features a beautiful (and unexpected!) red wedding dress — one I will always be obsessed with. (Image) “They’re not just looking to host destination weddings,” Laesser-Keck echoed. “They’re looking to host vacations for all their guests.” (Article)

The Artistry of Live Wedding Painting

As a wedding guest, I love experiencing something unexpected but personal to the couple. As an artist, I love that I can bring that to the table for my couples.

My couples want to include something unexpected in their wedding weekend.

Whether it’s a painting of their ceremony that guests watch be completed or live watercolor guest portraits that their guests get to watch and take home with them (most of my couples have said their guests framed and hung their portraits).

If you’re unfamiliar, a live wedding painter paints (with watercolor like me; or oil or acrylic) a moment from the wedding day LIVE, almost like watching live television, but way better than that.


Don’t take my word for it, here’s some thoughts from brides I’ve worked with…

  • You truly are incredible!! You have such a beautiful presence which radiates sunshine! We are so grateful for all of your GORGEOUS art!! Both pieces are proudly on display in our home and in our family’s homes, and everyone I know has framed their personal portraits. — Molly, Bride

  • What impressed me most was that you feel right back at this place. Getting so emotional when looking at the painting. Courtney Kibby is a Lovely and so talented woman. I immediately felt connected to her even though we don’t know each other. Thank you so much for capturing this special moment. And making such a special, beautiful, detailed, warm and filled with love painting. This is a forever memory, so dreamy, it brings you tears of joy—Nadja, Bride

As guests pass my easel, they are so struck by how precious this moment is, and they love watching it be painted.

  • Guests were floored! The way Courtney captured our ceremony was so spot on! The love was there- in every stroke. I can’t wait for our future children to look back and truly experience our wedding day! — Molly, Bride
  • “You really made the experience so special. The phone calls leading up to the wedding and the emails were such a special touch. I also received so many comments about how sweet you were at the wedding and what a great touch it was. We love our piece so much and if I could do it all over again I would 100 times over!” —Gillian, Bride

Like the Unexpected Red Theory, Embrace the Unexpected

“For couples planning luxury weddings, creating the ideal guest experience is imperative.“ (article)

People are taking time out of their lives to come support and encourage you as you begin your life together. What better way to show them thanks and gratitude than by using the power of unexpected moments (like the unexpected red theory) in your wedding, and embracing creativity and personalization.

I’ve talked about live painting as an innovative trend that embodies the spirit of the unexpected red theory. Inviting a live painter to capture your day shows you’re not only thinking out of the box; it shows your guests you care about their experience and sustainability.

After all is said and done, what tangible pieces will you have from your day? I recommend photography, videography, and a live painting.

“This guest only really enjoys this type of alcohol, so we could have it for them. They know Bob Smith likes this vodka or gin or whatever it is,” she said of her clients’ thought processes. “It’s never about being over the top. We surely have great wine, great champagne, all the top-shelf stuff. But luxury, to me, is really knowing their guests and having that very high level, white-glove service.” (Article)

Just like the unexpected red theory, it’s the unexpected, thoughtful, and well planned moments that make life (and your wedding) truly extraordinary.

And if you’re ready to have an extraordinary guest experience? Let’s paint your wedding.

Bringing your wedding day to life, thrilling your guests with a show-stopping live wedding painting experience, and creating a timeless keepsake that honors your sacred bond and will warm your heart every time you look at it – it’s what I do best.

Hey, I'm Courtney.

From behind the easel, I serve timeless brides who still embrace the unexpected by creating heirloom painting experiences that are immersive, one-of-a-kind, and thrilling to watch.

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With a slightly abstract Impressionist live painting experience that captures the love and joy of your story, shows off the beauty of your wedding day, and helps everyone who enters your future home to feel your wedding day, you’ll finally have THE THING that makes your wedding day unforgettable.

And your guests? They'll talk about your wedding forever because of the experience you gave them.


Simply put? This is way more than just a wedding painting.