A Gothic wedding is a delightful way to celebrate partners who gravitate to the “dark side.” Instead of adopting the typical white gown and pastel decor, the couple can express their offbeat personalities through edgy yet elegant food, flowers, and fashion.
When planning a Gothic ceremony, begin by picking a theme that fits your aesthetic—such as Day of the Dead sugar skulls or New Orleans vampire decadence. Then, elevate the space with fine and moody design accents, such as antique candelabras on long velvet table runners. In addition to pitch black, you can play with colors like blood reds, deep purples, and starry blues.
The overall atmosphere should convey dark and graceful romance, rather than feeling like a kitschy Halloween party.
From tarot card invitations to skull desserts, here are ideas for making your Gothic wedding a wicked affair.
Invitations and Paper Goods
Your invitations are an opportunity to be playful and creative while setting the tone of the Gothic wedding. Guests will be delighted to open up a black envelope to find a tarot card or coffin-shaped invite. If the partners have a medical background, perhaps they might choose a vintage illustration of two skeletons or an anatomical heart. Include haute elements to differentiate your invitations from Halloween greeting cards. Play around with dried petals and lace overlay, or a laser-cut paper gate that opens up to a Victorian manor. For an antique feel, choose a calligraphy font and stamp the envelope with hot red wax.
Décor & Flowers
Book an event space that evokes age-old glamour with a touch of the macabre. Antique architecture (such as a cathedral, castle, or centuries-old manor) creates the perfect setting for a Goth wedding. Look for photogenic details such as elaborate fireplaces, chandeliers, pointed spires, and stained wood. Don’t forget to consider the outdoors: a Gothic ceremony would look stunning in a dark green forest, or cavern lit by candles.
Take a cue from movies like Interview with the Vampire, and dress up the space with dozens of towering candles. Add lush tapestries or fabrics made from lace, satin, and velvet. Don’t forget artisanal touches that match your wedding’s theme, such as fresh white pumpkins for an autumn gathering, or purple crystals and hanging twig stars for a witchy occasion.
Flowers play an essential role in establishing the mood. Fill the space with black, violet, and crimson roses, as well as dark greenery such as ferns. Bouquets or centerpieces could feature the blood-red hanging amaranthus, appropriately nicknamed “love-lies-bleeding.”
Food & Drink
You’ll be sure to impress your wedding guests with a devilishly lavish table setting. Invest in dark paisley or monogrammed napkins, and wrap each in a rosary. Layer the tables with elegant Gothic fabrics and table runners, and top each with a bold centerpiece of candles and flowers. Avoid spooky dollar-store decor, focusing instead on natural elements, like sliced pomegranates and burgundy grapes beside goblets of red wine.
Start with a themed cocktail made from absinthe and fog of dry ice, or served in a glass rimmed with red or black salt. The dinner may have a bloody bent, such as a starter of red borscht soup, followed by steak on a plate splattered with red wine sauce. In keeping with the Gothic theme, you could serve eye-catching pasta, dumplings, or bread darkened with black sesame, charcoal, or squid ink.
Go all-out for the wedding cake. Ask your baker to make a magic spell book topped with cameo necklaces, and the motto “'Til death do us part.” Or slice open a layered cake decorated with cobwebs, bats, and a skeleton couple topper. You can also offer ghoulish desserts, like dark chocolate and red velvet cupcakes decorated with devil horns.
When it comes to choosing a Gothic wedding dress, Queen Victoria’s black mourning gowns never go out of style. However, other dark colors can be just as captivating. Take inspiration from burlesque star Dita Von Teese, who wore layers of purple silk and a matching tricorn hat for her wedding to Marilyn Manson. In the movie Beetlejuice, Lydia Deetz walked down the aisle in a red veil and layered tulle dress.
Try on a gown with sumptuous old-time accents such as a boned corset, ruffles down the back, or long vampiric dangling sleeves. Accessorize with Victorian chokers and mourning jewelry, and carry a studded skull clutch by Alexander McQueen. For shoes, think deadly stilettos or leather platform boots. Men can stand out in an alternative suit inspired by pirate, dandy, and punk aesthetics. Consider a New Romantic ruffled jabot shirt, a black jacket with coattails, a vest with a chain, or a top hat.
Vintage Gothic beauty never goes out of style. Be inspired by pin-up legend Bettie Page and 1920s vamps like Theda Bara. You can emulate their baby bangs and pin curl updos while adding extensions for volume and drama. For your makeup, focus on a deep smokey eye with cat eyeliner and layers of false eyelashes. Stain your lips blood red, dark purple, or even black. Don’t forget to have fun with your manicure: You can ask for black matte polish, haunted by ghosts and other creatures of the night.