Imagine exchanging “I dos” in a haunted mansion or cutting into a black wedding cake decorated with skulls. For those who can’t get enough of the macabre, tying the knot in a spooky-filled way would be a dream (or shall I say nightmare) come true. Well, you’ll be delighted to know that it’s a vision you can make a reality. To commemorate this Valoween, I’m sharing ideas on how couples can throw a darkly enchanting and unholy ceremony, from décor to dress. Plus, I interview newlyweds Mr. and Mrs. ScaredieCat Vasquez about their Halloween nuptials.
Photo in top image graphic by Rawl of the Dead Photography
Best Ways to Throw a Macabre Wedding
The right location can set the mood for a ghoulish ceremony and reception. Places that scream gothic, historic or haunted are exquisite choices, such as cathedrals, iconic hotels, theatres and, of course, castles. If you love Disney, why not exchange vows in front of the legendary Haunted Mansion? Here are a few more spots that come to mind:
Beetle House L.A./NYC: This is a Tim Burton and Halloween-inspired establishment located in Los Angeles and New York City. There are a few dark themed restaurants located in my city, and if you have any in your area, they may provide the perfect sinister setting you seek.
Bran Castle: Located in Transylvania, this landmark is synonymous with Bram Stoker’s Dracula and vampires. If I could redo my wedding, this would be my top venue pick!
The Queen Mary: This grand ship is located in Long Beach, California, and is known for its paranormal activity and having plenty of ghost sightings.
The Stanley Hotel: Situated among the Rocky Mountains of Estes Park Colorado, the hotel partly inspired Stephen King’s The Shining. Need I say more?
When planning for your special day, the theme and décor can transform the experience. Even if you’re holding your wedding at someone’s home, you still have the power to create a wicked ambience. It’s all in the details.
First, start with the color palette. You can go with traditional Halloween shades, such as black and orange. If that’s not your style, any dark hues will work. Think deep burgundy, gray, purple, emerald or crimson red. Who recalls Kat Von D and Leafar Seyer’s wedding bathed in blood red?
Are you and your fiancé/fiancée horror fans? Then have a celebration inspired by your favorite scary movie. Bride of Frankenstein, Dracula and The Nightmare Before Christmas are some ideas. (That last one isn’t a horror film, but it’s still spooky.) If you’re a dark romantic, opt for gothic, Victorian vibes. Once you settle on a theme, have fun choosing the style of the invitations, flowers, bouquet, party favors, table settings and other decorative accents.
Ditch the traditional ivory gown and black & white tux. You’ll make a statement walking down the aisle in an all-black or all-red wedding dress. If you’re wearing a suit, don a crimson jacket or button up. If you have bridesmaids and groomsmen, have their wardrobe consist of darker shades. For those wanting to channel the All Hallows’ Eve spirit, you could request guests show up in costume.
Accessories, including jewelry and head pieces, make exquisite touches. What do you think of a gothic crown, bat-shaped necklace or skull brooch? When it comes to makeup, go bold with a vampy lip and/or smokey eye shadow.
Create an immersive experience for guests they won’t forget. Rent a photo booth with spooky props they can use. You can also hire a Tarot card reader to do readings during the reception. When searching for alternative types of entertainment, consider acrobats, illusionists, magicians, sword swallowers and—if the venue permits—fire breathers. That’s a good lineup for a bizarre carnival-themed wedding.
When it’s time to party during the reception, have a playlist the guests die for. To all of my goths out there getting hitched, an excellent mix would consist of gothic rock and darkwave tracks, from the 80s ‘till now. Sisters of Mercy, Faith and the Muse, and Lebanon Hanover are a devilishly good start. When it comes to classic Halloween tunes, have the DJ spin “Monster Mash,” “I Put a Spell on You” and “Season of the Witch.” And if you really want to kick it up a notch, choregraph a dance you and your wedding party can perform to Michael Jackson’s “Thriller.”
Food & Drink
Let your invitees feast on a banquet fit for the undead.
First, we’ll talk drinks. There are numerous Halloween-inspired beverages out there (alcoholic and non-alcoholic), and a search on Pinterest will turn up plenty. Ones that incorporate dry ice have a bewitching effect. There’s a book I own called Witchcraft Cocktails by Julia Halina Hadas, which contains recipes inspired by the seasons and alchemy. I love the selections for fall, such as The Black Cat, The Reaper and Blood Moon Margarita. All the concoctions are fantastic, however, and can give you ideas to pass on to your mixologist. Any oenophiles will enjoy a glass of Vampire wine, which you can consider serving as well.
When it comes to small bites and entrees, I’m going to suggest having a look inside The Nightmare Before Dinner cookbook by Zach Neil. The final chapter includes entire dinner party themes, laying out the appetizer, main course, dessert and complementary cocktail. They’re inspired by Willy Wonka, Beetlejuice and more. Pick the details you like and run with it.
Speaking of sweets, setting up a trick-or-treat candy bar is another feature adults and kids will love. Now, I know you’re wondering about the wedding cake, the pièce de résistance. I’ve seen spellbinding creations out there. Go all black or all red, make it horror-themed, order it in the shape of a haunted mansion or decorate it with coffins.
Of course, you can throw a Halloween-inspired wedding any time of the year, even in spring during the brightest part of the day. What matters is the ambience you and your partner create to evoke that macabre feel. But if you prefer all the details to align, then exchange vows in autumn. The month of October and, obviously, Halloween, are ideal. Winter is also a magical time to get married because the longest night of the year happens in this season. And if it snows where you live, you can conjure a dark winter wonderland celebration.
While I hope you find these suggestions helpful, I thought it’d be fun to also talk with a couple who got married on October 31st. Justin and Veronica, otherwise known as Mr. and Mrs. ScaredieCat Vasquez, love Halloween and keep it spooky 24/7. In the following interview, they share their experience planning their horror-filled wedding.
Q: Thank you Mr. and Mrs. ScaredieCat Vasquez for chatting with Vamp Jenn’s Corner! So, you both have a true appreciation for the macabre. What made getting married on Halloween extra special for you two?
Mrs. ScaredieCat (Veronica): You may have heard of the phrase, “Halloween is a lifestyle, not just a holiday.” Well, that does apply to the both of us. Halloween has always been our favorite holiday, so we thought why not make our special day even more amazing than by getting married on Halloween. Ever since we knew we were going to marry each other, we decided on Halloween 2020. We liked the idea of getting married in 2020, you know the 2020 hindsight, plus we liked the sound of it…not knowing what was going to happen that year!
ScaredieCat (Justin): The Halloween season has been important to us while we were dating, and even before we dated, we were lovers of the spooky season. So having our special day on Halloween just made sense.
Q: You had a pre-wedding photoshoot in a cemetery wearing a blood-splattered tux and gown, which looked amazing. How did the whole idea come about?
Mrs. ScaredieCat: We didn’t want to do your typical “normal” engagement shoot. That just isn’t our style/ aesthetic. We knew we wanted to keep with the spooky theme for both the engagement shoot and the actual wedding. The idea came about because I always knew I wasn’t going to wear a traditional white wedding dress, so I thought let me play on the idea if I were to wear a white dress. Why not make it spooky? I got some inspiration from Chris Motionless. A few years back he did a bloody Valentine’s Day shoot. Another reason we decided on the bloody shoot was the song “Demolition Lovers” by My Chemical Romance. If you look them up, they are always seen as covered in blood. That song really resonated with the both of us. Fun fact, that was the song I walked down the aisle to.
ScaredieCat: The idea inspo I believe Veronica showed me was something the singer Chris Motionless from the band Motionless in White did—a bloody photoshoot, but in the woods. I thought, well, there is a really old cemetery near where we live that would look awesome so let’s do it there, and I remember we wanted to look like a couple that killed someone after their wedding or each other and haunted the cemetery, lol.
Q: The colors red and black dominated the matrimonial festivities, from attire to décor, and I loved it! Was there a theme you had in mind and how did you decide on it?
Mrs. ScaredieCat: Thank you! When everyone thinks of Halloween, they think of the colors black, orange and purple. We love that color palette, but it just didn’t say our wedding. The colors black and red sure did. Coincidentally, red and black Halloween decor was very popular that year.
ScaredieCat: Thanks. The idea for the colors was all Veronica and it worked. We wanted to remind people that this isn’t a traditional wedding. Almost every table had skulls and spiderwebs. For wedding favors, we gave out chocolate and voodoo dolls, lol.
Q: You held a small ceremony in 2020, during the first year of the pandemic. What was your experience planning a wedding during this time? Were there any challenges?
Mrs. ScaredieCat: Planning a wedding can be stressful all around, but during the pandemic was an added stressor. We definitely did have some challenges; we had to find and book both a chapel and reception hall that were following the pandemic restrictions. We had to sacrifice the amount of guests we were allowed to have at the chapel, meaning lots of our friends and family were not allowed to join us physically, only virtually. The reception hall we had booked was okay with allowing the number of guests we had originally paid for, over 150 guests, but we didn’t feel comfortable putting so many guests in a room together. We wanted to respect everyone’s health concerns. We saw in October the restrictions were still not going to allow us to have our big reception, so we decided to postpone our big reception until further notice but continued with getting married at a small chapel.
ScaredieCat: Biggest one we had was finding enough hand sanitizer for everyone and finding a chapel that would let us have everyone we wanted to be there. But we made sure everyone knew this isn’t a mandatory thing, don’t feel obligated to attend, we totally understand. We are grateful for everyone that did join us and sorry to those we couldn’t invite due to limited capacity, but hopefully soon we can all party together again.
Q: Is there one place anywhere in the world that you think would make the ideal location for a Halloween-inspired wedding?
Mrs. ScaredieCat: There are a few places in the world that would make the ideal Hallowedding location, one being Sedlec Ossuary (The Church of Bones), Immanuel Presbyterian Church (Where MCR filmed their music video for “Helena”), The Queen Mary, and The Stanley Hotel.
ScaredieCat: Can’t go wrong with a cemetery. Maybe if you can, New Orleans or Salem.
Q: Do you have any advice for couples out there planning their own spooky wedding?
Mrs. ScaredieCat: First and foremost, I would say, do what you and your partner want to do. It is your wedding and yours only; don’t let your friends or family stop you from doing what you want. Wear what you want, brides especially. Don’t think you have to wear a white wedding dress. You can wear a black one, like I did! Use the decor you like, don’t follow traditions if you don’t believe in them, and lastly, have fun with it. It’s YOUR special day!
ScaredieCat: Don’t let anyone tell you how you should do something. It is your day, your special moment. Don’t let family traditions, the ones you don’t believe in, stop you. Don’t let family or friends guilt trip you into anything, and don’t feel obligated to do something you don’t want to do.
Are you or is someone you know planning a spooky wedding? What are your thoughts on having a Halloween-inspired celebration? Tell me all about it in the comments below!