I recently attended a wedding reception where I was drawn to the most amazingly beautiful sculpture of two kissing swans. It was a stunning centrepiece to the table. It was about a metre high and had a lovely sheen, which glistened in the sparkling lights.

On closer inspection, I was amazed to find that the whole thing had been made out of ice. I just couldn’t believe how intricate the detail was – it was simply beautiful.

I had never seen an ice sculpture until then and I was so impressed, I decided to find out a little more about them. I discovered that in the 1600s, native hunters and fishermen of the Chinese province of Heilongjiang, on the border of Russia, designed ice lanterns for dark winter nights. They filled buckets with water to make ice, then slid it out, dug a hole in it and put a candle in the hole to make a lantern. The trend spread, and people started hanging decorated lanterns from homes and parading them in carnivals. In 1897, the Trans Siberian Railway was extended through the small Chinese fishing town of Harbin in Heilongjiang, once occupied by Russia. As a result of the traffic, Harbin grew into a cosmopolitan city. With below freezing winds from Siberia, and ice from the frozen Songhua river, Harbin became the home of the annual International Ice and Snow Sculpture Festival. Currently, this festival features the work of thousands of artists from all over the world.

Nowadays ice sculptures they are proving to be a really popular addition to many celebrations and will create a real wow at a wedding. To order one for your wedding you will need to give most companies at least 6-12 months notice, but you may be able to get one at shorter notice if are not too specific about your design. There is a huge range of designs available including Kissing Swans, Love Birds, Heart and Arrows, Champagne Bottles, Leaping Salmon, Cupid, the list goes on. You can even have an ice sculpture of a wedding cake! Most ice sculptures will retain their detail for at least 6 hours, after which it will very slowly begin to melt, which is an event in itself as it continuously changes its look and shape. A drip tray will normally be supplied with a discreet tube, which will then empty into a container concealed below the table. Your guests just see the sculpture – nothing else.

As well as ice sculptures there is also the ice luge. This is an ice sculpture that has spirit poured though the top of the carving through a specially drilled hole chilling all the way down until reaching the waiting glass or mouth! Luges sometimes even have a bottle holder drilled into them and the bases often contain ice cubes for the guest to further fill their drinks with. If that wasn’t enough there are even Ice glasses available. An ice sculpture really does make a wonderful background for your photographs and will prove a real taking point for your guests. Weddings are probably the most popular places you will see an ice sculptures, but they would also add an extra ingredient to an anniversary party, a birthday or maybe an engagement party. There is nothing like an ice sculpture to add that extra bit of magic to your day. You and your guests will love them and feel the need to touch them to make sure they are real ice. For a small intimate wedding with just close family and friends, how about smaller table centrepieces made of ice. You can have the bride and grooms names carved into a sculpture or for extra romance flowers set inside ice would add that sparkle to each table.