Each wedding is unique. Some weddings are of the flawless, time-honored June variety, and others are the eclectic “Offbeat Bride” type of celebration. Ours was the latter.
When my husband proposed to me, after experiencing sheer surprise and complete happiness was the thought that there was really only one day that would meet the requirements for a perfect wedding date: Halloween. Luckily, in 2009, Samhain fell on a Saturday. Clearly, things were already falling into place for an ideal Halloween wedding.
I love the fall. I’m so fortunate to live in an area like Bucks County, Pennsylvania, where the colors of autumn are especially brilliant and beautiful. Halloween has always been a favorite holiday of ours. Although we both understood that making a promise to be with each other was the most important pledge we would ever make, there had to be room for fun, too. Initially we were only going to add small touches of Halloween into the theme of the wedding, with colors and some subtle decorations.
We had planned for the ladies in the bridal party to wear pretty but sedate black dresses in a style they preferred. The groomsmen would also wear traditional suits or tuxes, with a slight hint of an autumn hue in their boutonnieres and ties.
One evening my husband and I looked at a selection of different black dresses online with his aunt and grand mom, who were important members of the bridal party. I joked to my husband’s aunt that it would be comical to have everyone in the wedding party come down the aisle in costume. When her eyes lit up and said that would be a fun idea, my husband and I were shocked and pleased.
We thought that we would give each member of the bridal party a chance to state their preference to wear a costume or a traditional outfit. When we contacted each person offering them the choice of whatever costume they wanted or conventional attire, most answers came back with a costume idea. We even stated “costumes welcome” on our wedding invitations. We thought that incorporating so much Halloween might look silly or tacky, but wanted to try it anyway. Worrying about how the ceremony looked was not something that concerned us, as long as the appropriate parts remained holy and everyone was looked after and had a good time.
The ceremony itself was sacred to us, but the wedding planning process was simply a necessity. We were engaged and married in a matter of months, so we didn’t have the finances, time or the luxury of agonizing over the tiny details of our wedding. We don’t take ourselves too seriously, so the fun and silliness of Halloween was a perfect inspiration for us. We loved each other and the people that shared the day with us, and that was the most important part of our wedding day.
My husband’s favorite film is a particular Tim Burton movie, so we came up with the idea to add a diverse assortment of Tim Burton movie inspiration and an obvious Halloween theme to our wedding. There were Alice in Wonderland and Sweeney Todd Characters, and wonderful non-Burton costumes ideas, too. My husband and I would dress formally for the ceremony, and then for the reception, we would surprise our guests with our re-entrance as Beetlejuice and the Corpse Bride.
Our ceremony took place underneath the patio awning of a gorgeous historic inn in North Wales, Pennsylvania. That Halloween morning was overcast and unexpectedly sticky and humid – getting ready and maintaining an elegant bridal appearance was impossible. However, the dreary sky only added to a “Poe” like Halloween vision as fifteen members of the bridal party walked down the aisle dressed as The Queen of Hearts and the Mad Hatter – with the Hatter’s lovely girlfriend dressed as Alice as a guest; Mrs. Lovett – her boyfriend, Sweeney Todd, was also a guest; a medieval princess, Zorro – his wife and son were dressed as a pirate and Clifford; Jay Gatsby, Danny from “Grease,” a cowboy, and Arwen from “Lord of the Rings.”
Even some of the wedding guests attended in extraordinary costumes: Wayne and Garth from “Wayne’s World,” a glamorous witch, a beautiful Eagles’ cheerleader and her handsome football player, and one of the babies in attendance was dressed as an adorable monkey – complete with a banana. Some of the ladies in the wedding party opted for traditional black dresses, and they looked beautiful. There were also some handsome gents in tuxedos, which were enhanced with flashy orange vests and bowties. Everyone in attendance looked incredible, costume or not.
During the ceremony I looked carefully at the arrangement of those beloved people standing and seated. I remembered something my dad frequently said about assembling large group of loved ones together, and how I should appreciate it because I might never get the same group collectively again. I felt the bonds of love and friendship of the past, and also appreciated that our old buddies and even our family had begun separate adventures of their own. The fact that the members of our wedding party and guests were here for us was very special. I saw all of those fabulous costumes and the cherished people wearing them. It was an endearing moment I will never forget.
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