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