Monday, October 31, 2011

Halloween Wedding Inspirations

For those of you who don't know already, Michael and I were married on Halloween. We met at a friend's birthday gathering at a karaoke bar.  These are friends associated with County Players Theater in Wappingers where I had been involved with several productions on stage and off before moving to New York City to pursue my career in film and TV.  Michael was just starting to get involved with the technical side of the theater with the lighting crew and in lighting design just after I left.  Coming from the theater and having hosted several years of Halloween Movie Nights at our home, we thought Halloween was an appropriate day for our wedding.  We wanted to have a wedding that would celebrate our favorite holiday, but we didn't want it to be tacky or expected Halloween fare. 

Our biggest fear about asking guests to come to a Halloween wedding in costume was that we would see some really bad costumes; wall to wall super heroes or comic villains, people dressed as babies or coming in pajamas or worst yet, the sexy sets; sexy witch, sexy nurse, French maid, etc...  It was a wedding after all and we wanted elegant, not trashy.

To eliminate the bad costumes, we wanted to create a theme that was unique to us and would keep the elegance in our wedding.  We decided to use Pre-20th Century Masquerade Ball with a touch of Dia De Los Muertos.  With the theme being this specific, it ensured that we would get elegant dress (I added a little note with the invitations just in case).  It also made it very easy for us to say yes to some elements and no to others that would have been tempting purchases.

We wanted everything to be about Halloween, but still maintain that level of elegance, so we had masks imported from Venice for our bridal party.  The girls and guys wore these as they walked down the aisle instead of carrying flowers.  It made for a more dramatic entrance for everyone and really fit the look of a masquerade.  We knew that there would be some people that would feel weird about coming in a costume (grandparents especially), so we gave guests masks as favors.  This way if they came in regular dress clothes and had a changed of heart, they could join in easily and not feel left out.  Lots of people wore them all night long and most had them on for a least a little while.  The favors were masks that I crafted myself or enhanced using stock masks from Columbia Costume Shop.  Just about every element of our wedding had our hands in it or our personalities on it.

To celebrate Dia de Los Muertos (which actually began the next day), we had an alter set up with candles, decorations and photos of our relatives and pets who had passed away.  This was only a small alter compared to what people generally do to celebrate this holiday.  It also includes making candy sugar skulls and decorating them with vibrant colors (that was a DIY project that I ran out of time for), adding lots of marigolds (which weren't available here by the time our wedding day came around), your relatives favorite foods (which would have been messy) and other personal items.  Our families especially appreciated the display and guests spent time looking at all the photos even though they may never have met those pictured.  This was our way of having the people we lost close to us on our wedding day.  Even though my dad wasn't there to walk me down the aisle, he was watching over my shoulder all night along with all the other members of our families we wished could have been there.

My grandmother has made cakes for everyone's birthdays and anniversaries for as long as I can remember.  She loves to bake and we love her cakes, so we asked her to bake our wedding cake.  She was not crazy about the whole Halloween idea, so she started to buy Martha Stewart books on cake decorating to make an elegant cake.  After some convincing by the rest of my family, she embraced the idea and gave us pumpkins, leaves and ghost garland.  She had to include the tiers to make it look like a real wedding cake, but it was delicious and made with love.  It was so delicate that our cake topper couldn't be placed on top, but she was probably happy about that. :)

Instead of floral centerpieces, we did glass mosaic lanterns with the silhouette of ghosts and pumpkins.  They were given away at the end of the night to the guest whose birthday was closest to our wedding day.  Even though my sister and grandmother were at the same table and my sister's birthday was the closest to our wedding and won that centerpiece, my grandmother managed to obtain two.  She's very proud of them, tells everyone where she got them and lights them every year on Halloween.  Glad to see they're getting some good use.  We still have ours too.  I often wonder if anyone else kept their lanterns and masks (besides my mom who kept one of everything from our wedding).

Some personal touches we had that you don't see here:

- We wanted to have candles on our aisle, but I didn't want them on the ground; I was worried that my dress would catch on fire.  So my wonderful Michael built rustic candle holders that would accept a tall candles in a glass vase.  They looked great, everyone could enjoy them and no fire hazard!

- Vampire brand wine was the only wine at our wedding.  We couldn't believe there was such a thing when we found it and it was perfect for our wedding.  At the time, we had to have it shipped in.  Since our wedding, it has become more popular and you can find it in local stores this time of year.  Michael is a beer enthusiast, so he had a selection of great beers for our guest as well.  Things you never see at a wedding like Old Speckled Hen, Pilsner Urquell, Spaten and Sam Adams Octoberfest.

- We named our tables for all things Halloween.  Because we have a black cat, our sweetheart table was the black cat table (he was going to be our ring bearer, but the BnB owners had a dog).  The rest of the tables were named for classic horror movie characters; Frankenstein, Dracula, The Mummy etc...  It was right in keeping with our Halloween Movie nights.

- We asked our DJ to stay clear of all the typical Halloween songs that people expected to hear, especially "Monster Mash".  One song that was a must play was "The Time Warp" from the "Rocky Horror Picture Show" because we had shown that at our house and all of our friends knew the dance.  It was a crowd pleasing moment with lots of fun - our answer to "The Electric Slide" which was also on our Do Not Play list.  We also requested the "Mexican Hat Dance" because we thought it was a dance you don't see very often at weddings.  Our DJ threw out a sombrero and started the music.  Guests rushed the floor and joined in immediately.  Everyone loved it!  To this day, we haven't seen this done at another wedding.

Anything I wished I could have done differently?

- I wished I'd given myself more time to do my DIY projects.  DIY takes A LOT of time, so much more than you realize.  If you think a project will take you a week, give yourself three.  I made my necklace and that took me a long time and then countless hours on the masks.  If you plan to DIY, my advice, start asap and make sure you do the crucial stuff first, even if you think something will only take you a couple of hours.

- I wished we had more money in our budget for decor.  I would have loved to have done some custom lighting (which wasn't popular at the time, but we have always been big fans), draping or other things to alter the look of our venue.  Don't get me wrong, our venue is beautiful and we absolutely loved it, but today, I might add something more that would really make the space our own besides the smaller items we brought in.

- I wished I hadn't listened to our caterer's linen advice.  When we had the linens discussion, his first comment was "I hope you're not doing the same old tired colors" (orange, black, red).  All the colors I loved and wanted.  I shouldn't have let him convince me to do white table cloths.  If I could do it again, they would have been black or red to make the plates and other things on the table top pop.  White was just too clean and proper for our wedding.

Maybe we'll make up for these with a renewal ceremony some day.

One final note, if you want to have your wedding on Halloween, don't let anyone tell you it's a bad idea.  When some people heard our wedding was going to be on Halloween, they had all kinds of comments for us.  The top among them was that we would have a cold, wet and rainy day.  Unlike this year's snowy Halloween, many are actually beautiful.  We may have been luckier than most getting married on Halloween.  It was 70 degrees and partly cloudy on our wedding day with a beautiful purple sky as we said our vows which turned to a red colored sunset.

No matter when you get married or what anyone says, think positive, stay true to your vision and hope for only the best. Hope this inspires some other Halloween weddings.

If you enjoyed this post, please leave a comment here on the blog and/or our Facebook Page.

Looking for more Halloween Wedding Ideas?  Check out these posts I found!
Masquerade Wedding in Florida 2010
Corpse Bride Glam Halloween Wedding

Friday, October 21, 2011

Kate + Tony: A Preview

The secret to having a great wedding is not in the location, the dress you wear, the decor of the room, the food you eat, the cake you bake or all the tiny details.  Don't get me wrong, I absolutely love all of the above and it adds a tremendous amount to the experience, especially when the details are personal, but without one key element from the couple, it's just not quite right.  Kate and Tony had the locations, the dress, the personal details, etc..., but they also had that one key element, the spark.  

From the moment Kate arrived at St. Mary's Church in Wappingers Falls for the ceremony, she was glowing, excited and ready to get married!  She was dancing outside the limo, dancing in the vestibule of the church, dancing at the alter (as you'll see in the preview) and dancing outside the church when the ceremony was over.  She was a ball full of energy from the beginning to the end of the day and when she and Tony finally got to see each other that day, it multiplied and spread to their guests.  It was clear to everyone present that this was one very happy couple.  In fact, I don't think there is a single shot from the entire wedding day where Kate and Tony aren't smiling, dancing, laughing or having a great time!

Every couple is happy on their wedding day without a doubt, but you don't see energetic bursts of continuous joy like this all the time. Once the two of them were together in the church, their energy and the presence of love between the two of them became infectious to everyone around them. It was electric!  From the moment Kate and Tony said their vows to the very last dance at their reception at The Links at Union Vale, it was hard for guests to not get caught up in the intense feeling of love and joy.  To look at their smiles put a smile on your face and seeing them having fun on the dance floor made you want to join in.  That spark drove the entire day and made their wedding one that guests won't easily forget.   It was abundantly clear to everyone at the wedding that these two are very much in love, super happy when they're together and have a lot of fun being around each other!  It's this infectious joy and energy that really makes a wedding memorable!

I usually write up a long post about our weddings showing all the many details, but to me, Kate and Tony's wedding was really all about two very simple and pure things; the love Kate and Tony have for each other and their want to celebrate their love with family and friends in a really big way!  I honestly can't describe the feeling or atmosphere of their wedding better than the looks on their faces or the energy these two had all day can.

Here is a preview clip from Kate and Tony's wedding day!
It puts a smile on my face every time I watch it.  Hopefully it will do the same for you!

If you enjoyed this clip, please leave a comment here on our blog and/or on our Facebook Wall (Don't forget to "like us" while you're there).

Congratulations to Kate and Tony!  May the joy and love of your wedding day remain with you both for the rest of your lives!

Thursday, October 20, 2011

A Sweet Thank You Note

It's always so great to hear back such wonderful comments from our couples, but especially when it's so soon after their wedding!  Here is a sweet note we received from Lisa-Marie whose wedding was last Saturday at the Highlands Country Club. 


Although this is not my “official” thank you I wanted to let you know how happy Patrick and I were at the wedding.  When I told Patrick before the wedding I wanted the videographer he was really not loving the idea of someone putting a camera in his face. He told me afterwards he  was so impressed with how you guys filmed. We are so excited to see the end result.

We plan to do out hand writing thank you notes and vendor reviews within the next few weeks but I was so happy with everything I had to tell you sooner.
Thanks again,

It means so much to us to hear comments like this!! It means even more that Lisa-Marie felt compelled to send us this message right away!  We try so hard not to be that stereotypical videographer everyone fears, so it makes us feel good when we hear that we were able to make a skeptical groom feel comfortable with us filming him.

Thank you, Lisa-Marie for sending us such a lovely note and thanks to you and Patrick for having us there with you on your wedding day!