Getting married at the end of October? Instead of fighting the sudden appearance of Jack-o-lanterns, masks, and bite-sized candy bars, embrace the season and host a Halloween wedding that no one would ever mistake for a kitschy costume party. Here's how to pull off the theme without sacrificing sophistication.
Start with an eerily elegant venue.
Historic buildings can provide the perfect backdrop for a Halloween wedding, especially when they're rumored to be haunted. The Stanley Hotel in Estes Park, CO, is where Stephen King was inspired to write The Shining — the original owner's ghost plays piano in the hotel's music room, and his wife is often spotted in the lobby (and one reservation special comes with a K2 meter so you can seek out your own ghostly forcefields). The ghost of the first manager of the Omni Parker House in Boston, MA, (only one of the Omni's many haunted properties) is often seen in guests' rooms, making sure they're enjoying their stay.
Put a refined spin on the theme.
A moody color palette of black and burgundy, accented with gray, white, and burnished gold, is a far cry from the standard Halloween hues of orange and bright purple. At the ceremony, surround the altar with clusters of pillar candles and overflowing arrangements of blood-red blooms, or hang a black crystal chandelier at the end of the aisle. For the reception, set each guest's place with matte gold flatware and black wine glasses, and use feathers calligraphed in gold ink as place cards. Top an ornate black lace runner with vintage vessels full of black forest calla lilies, dahlias, and garden roses, surrounded by white pumpkins, persimmons, and figs, and light as many candles as you can. For a slightly spooky twist, take inspiration from Dia de los Muertos: Add elegant and ornate skull designs and adopt "Until Death Do Us Part" as your style mantra — it's equally romantic and macabre.
Choose fashion wisely.
Your wedding dress isn't a costume, so skip the Bride of Frankenstein look in favor of something dramatic, but still true to your bridal vision. Vintage lace and long sleeves harken back to brides of the past, while an ethereal tulle design has a ghostly feel that's still modern and romantic. If you're in the market for a dress that's dark and edgy, black wedding dresses are still making their way down the runway. When it comes to bridesmaids' dresses, deep jewel tones — or all black! — will have your friends looking spookily chic.
Don't forget the sweets!
An all-black cake, decorated with full deep-red blooms is the perfect centerpiece, but make sure your guests don't miss the trick-or-treating. Fill a dessert table with dressed-up versions of seasonal sweets, like chocolate-peanut butter cupcakes, caramel apple tarts, and gourmet popcorn balls, then send everyone home with bags of your favorite candies.