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Scarily Good: How to Have a Hauntingly Great Halloween Wedding
Get out your pumpkin carving knives, your Styrofoam tombstones, and your spookiest music. Unlike a traditional white wedding, couples getting married on Halloween can get away with, dare we say … murder? Take advantage of the opportunity to get creative with costumes, colors, candy, and decorations that wouldn’t necessarily have a place in a wedding on any other day.
One word of caution: As withholding any wedding on a holiday, plan well ahead to make sure you’re not conflicting with any parties or stepping on guests’ toes. You don’t want to put friends and family in the difficult position of having to choose between holiday parties and your wedding. Consider holding your wedding on the weekend before or after Halloween so it’s easier for people to attend.
Paint it Black
Do you dare to don a black wedding dress? If you do, you’re in good company. Not ready to go all the way? Even if you’re staying white, consider using black for the rest of your bridal party. One huge upside of black bridesmaids’ dresses is that they might actually wear them again.
Black fingernails or toenails add a spooky touch to an otherwise traditional bridal getup, as well as delicate black embroidery. Try a French manicure with orange and black for a candy-style coating.
Treat, Not Trick
Halloween is the season for candy, so indulge yourself and your guests with a full candy buffet and candy favors. “Worms and Dirt” (gummy worms and crushed Oreos) are a yummy classic. Unlike trick-or-treating candy, you can make sure that none of the offerings on your buffet include those black and orange toffees no one likes.
Topsy-Turvy cakes (the style with the uneven levels sloping on top of each other) are a nice way to get a “ramshackle” look without compromising style and taste. If you can’t decide on just one design, go with cupcakes, where you can incorporate a variety of creepy-crawly critters.
Cake toppers are one place you can give your imagination free reign. Are his-and-hers gravestones too morbid? Try whimsical figurines along the lines of Tim Burton’s creations (especially The Corpse Bride). Your cake can be topped by a cute pair of his-and-hers ghosts, or Frankenstein and Bride-of-Frankenstein. A pair of Dia de Los Muertos skeletons wearing wedding finery is a nice touch, too.
Let your cake colors reflect the holiday. Add black accents to your cake, like stripes or polka dots on a dark blue or purple cake. Or take your cake in a brighter direction with goldenrod and orange harvest tones.
At Halloween time, nature is displaying the last, glorious colors of autumn. Incorporate rich gold and sunset hues to echo the season in your floral décor. Sunflowers (especially red sunflowers) add a dramatic statement alone or in bunches, while red and golden autumn leaves, sprigs of wheat, and multicolored ears of corn complement larger arrangements.
Remember, most flowers can be dyed black; just ask your florist about dramatic-looking options. Alternatively, turn tradition on its nose with bouquets of dead roses tied in black satin ribbon à la Morticia Addams.
Fearfully Fine Food
You’re in luck; foods associated with Halloween also provide rich tastes, like creamy pumpkin soup with toasted pumpkin seeds on top, buttery cornbread, and blood-red beet and arugula salad.
Will you be serving punch? The only proper way (not that we consulted Martha Stewart) is to serve it in a cauldron, with dry ice in the punch bowl for a classic “spooky fog” effect.
Your dessert selection can shine with pumpkin pie, devil’s food cake, spooky black forest cake, and anything with dripping cherry filling.
Dreadfully Dashing Décor
Your choice of venue will add the most to your Halloween ambiance. Look for old buildings with lots of character, dark wood paneling, large fireplaces, and multi-tiered chandeliers. Be careful when decorating with candles or fake cobwebs, however, because your building might have fire codes or other regulations.
No matter your wedding location, you can still “spook it up” with rows of carved pumpkin lanterns along the aisle, flickering candles, and your favorite Halloween decorations. If you plan your wedding more than a year ahead of time, you can stop by stores the Halloween before and take advantage of post-holiday sales to stock up.
Gruesomely Gleeful Guests
A Halloween wedding allows guests to get in on the fun, too. Encourage your guests to come in costume. The best etiquette for holding a non-traditional wedding is not to make anything mandatory, however, so make sure your more traditional guests feel comfortable even if they come in a normal dress or suit.
If you suspect some guests will be hesitant to dress up but will want to join in once they arrive, you can have a table of small costume elements like Mardi Gras style eye-masks, fake mustaches, or marabou boas at the ready.
Since you’re having a playful wedding, your guests will probably want to get involved. Let everyone lend a hand by throwing a pumpkin carving party a few days before the wedding. It’s a fun way to connect with out-of-town guests and relax arts-and-crafts style, and you’ll be able to use the finished lanterns to decorate on the big night. Just be sure to keep the finished pumpkins somewhere cool and dry.
The bottom line is, have fun and be as creative and imaginative as you want. Your wedding is sure to stand out among the rest of the year’s social events, so the more effort you put into your wedding, the more you’ll give your guests to remember.
Halloween weddings are also the perfect opportunity to relax and let go of Bridezilla stress: if anything goes wrong, you can always claim your venue was haunted!