Boys and girls of every age, wouldn't you like to see something strange? It's our favorite week for spooky, gothic, and horror-themed weddings — it's HALLOWEEN WEEK!
The Offbeat Bride: Lauren, Osteoarchaeologist
Her offbeat partner: Steve, Signalling Designer
Date and location of wedding: The Hospitium, York, UK — October 19, 2013
Our offbeat wedding at a glance: Steve and I have an almost all-consuming love of horror films and all things Halloween. We deliberately arranged our wedding for the weekend of the 19th of October just so we didn't miss our local horror film festival. A horror film-themed wedding very much seemed like something we wanted to do.
We stuck to a traditional format: ceremony, drinks reception, meal, speeches, and so on, but we tried to put our own stamp on all those things. I think this was also a good move, considering we had guests of both an alternative and also a more conventional nature. I think doing more of a twist on a traditional type of wedding, rather than all-out weirdness helped all our guests feel relaxed and able to enjoy the day rather than being pushed too far out of their comfort zone.
For example, initially I was against having a wedding car. Being on a smaller-than-average budget, I thought it seemed pretty pointless paying £500 for a car for a couple of hours when our entire wedding was in the same venue, 15 minutes from our hotel. However, when one of my friends jokingly sent me a link to a gothic limousine website where you could hire a converted hearse for the afternoon, my mind was gradually changed. Then after talking to Tony, the company owner, who explained that he was also willing to give our guests rides after the ceremony (and that Alice Cooper had once ridden in it, and even signed the inside of the car!), we were hooked.
We also weren't planning on having a cake. Steve had said from the beginning that he wanted a giant pork pie. One of my dad's friends, who's a baker, offered to make it if we could get him a tin of the size we wanted the pie to be. We ended up with a 12-inch round tin! However, in the meantime, Steve's mum had also offered to bake us a cake. We ended up saying yes because it was such a lovely offer. She really went to town on the gothic theme!
One of our friends also made us a personalised cake topper of us both in our wedding outfits, but with Steve as a Cenobite (from Hellraiser) and me as a zombie (complete with a zombie effigy of my hamster eating its way through my shoulder). Then we just needed to find a way to have both cake and pie together, without one overshadowing the other. Cue a cake stand with three separate tiers where we could have a two-tier cake with a pork pie in the middle!
All the wedding stationery was also horror film-themed, with invitations, place cards and the table plan (all made by me) all featuring images from 1922 Swedish silent horror masterpiece Haxan.
For the table names, we used the titles of some of our favourite horror films. Each table was marked by a small poster of the relevant film, which had our faces Photoshopped into it. We also made a slideshow of loads of horror movie posters, all with our faces Photoshopped onto characters. We had this playing on a big screen above the top table during the meal.
It was also really nice that we have loads of very creative friends who were able to help us out, making or providing us with personalised wedding accoutrements, while also saving us a bit of money. As well as the help with the pie/cake/toppers, a friend of a friend handled the photography, another friend did all the floral arrangements, my friend's sister did the makeup, my bridesmaid's dad made the table centrepieces, and a friend's band came up from London and played the reception (they also learned “Carry on My Wayward Son” especially to play for our first dance).
During the evening, we also had a Pillory Stocks photo booth, put together using various props given to us by friends, and a pair of pillories hired from a company and assembled by Steve and my brother. Dean Winchester (of TV's Supernatural fame, present in the form of a life-size cardboard cut-out) stayed on hand all evening to oversee guests dragging each other in and out of the stocks, playing with wigs, and cutting each other up with a plastic chainsaw.
Tell us about the ceremony:
The ceremony was very short. We've been together almost 12 years anyway, so neither of us felt that the ceremony had to be anything overly dramatic or long-winded. We just wanted to get on with celebrating the fact that we'd finally gotten around to making ourselves official.
I'd chosen “The Day the Saucers Came” by Neil Gaiman as a reading. It's a really lovely reading, a little silly with all the zombies, aliens, and basically Armageddon happening, but also with a very sweet, wedding-appropriate ending. I was especially pleased that my brother, Ross, was able to read it out. He had moved to Australia the previous year, and he'd only come back to England for our wedding. He'd not been able to come back in time to get fitted for a wedding party suit like our dads and the best men, so it was really great to be able to include him in the ceremony in another way.
Our biggest challenge:
I think my biggest challenge was learning to be patient. I'm a bit of a control freak (okay, a massive control freak) and find it hard to delegate. At first I found it really difficult to not pester my vendors every five seconds about what they were doing and about when everything would be ready. Luckily, Steve's very good at dealing with me when I'm having a neurotic five minutes, and eventually I was able to take a step back, let go a bit, and just let people get on with their jobs.
The only slight hitch I had was one very unhelpful vendor, who was supplying my bridesmaid dress. I only had one bridesmaid, my best friend, Liz. I just about reached critical mass two weeks before the wedding when the bridesmaid dress still hadn't arrived, and was four weeks late. After being repeatedly fobbed off by the shop, the bridesmaid dress did finally turn up, and with alterations being finished the Monday (five days before the wedding). By this point, however, Liz wasn't available to try the dress one final time, and on the day it was still too big for her. Luckily, the dress came with spaghetti straps, and my makeup artist Amber managed to attach them and make a few last-minute adjustments so that Liz's dress fit her almost perfectly. She looked gorgeous.
My favorite moment:
The element that touched me most about the whole day was the effort that our friends and relatives went to with their outfits and everything. We'd asked on the invitations for people to come dressed to impress, with large/crazy hats or fascinators for the ladies, and whatever they felt matched their style. I was astounded to find that everyone had made a huge effort, with both friends and family members having gone all out. One couple came dressed as Alice and the Mad Hatter, we had aunties dressed as witches (complete with rat and spider familiars), friends with animal skulls in their hair, top hats, Venetian masks, vampires… the works!
We'd also asked guests to bring a carved pumpkin lantern with them, to use for decorating the venue — partly for fun, and partly so that we didn't have to carve 50 pumpkins in the week running up to the big day. Again, everyone's level of effort was amazing! Pumpkins had been bedazzled, personalised, and carved in a large variety of themes. Who else can say that they had Alien, Batman, David Bowie, Tinkerbell, Pinhead, and Chuck Norris lantern decorations all at once on their wedding day?
My funniest moment:
There was a funny moment for me during the wedding ceremony. Just as I was saying my vows, I noticed two of my friends hurrying past the window to get to the wedding. They had actually been at the venue about half an hour before the wedding, then one of them decided she really need to go and get a pair of tights to wear and ended up a little late. Luckily, they didn't miss the whole ceremony.
Also, my mum almost missed the formal family photos because she was busy having a ride in the wedding hearse!
Care to share a few vendor/shopping links?
- Photography: Craig McKibbin
- Venue: The Hospitium
- Dress: Amie B Fashions
- Makeup: Amber Sanderson
- Hair: Abi at Bang Hair
- Bride and Bridesmaid's bespoke fascinators: Pearls and Swine
- Groomsmen's outfits: Austin Reed
- Groom's ring: Blacksmith Bex
- Cake Toppers: Chris Wylie at Puppetuity
- Car: Gothic Limousines
- Pillory Stocks: Event Prop Hire
Enough talk — show me the wedding inspo!