How to Pull Off a Gothic Wedding

White and glittery just not your style? You might love a gothic-themed wedding. In our latest blog, we talk about all things gothic wedding. Read to learn more.

By The Zola Team

pink flower centerpieces
Photo by 614 Wedding Photography

Everyone is unique and has their own ideas on what their wedding should look like. Some of us may lean a little left of what’s considered traditional or “normal,” and that’s okay. That’s the beauty of humanity, we’re all different. If that’s you and you’ve been considering a wedding that isn’t all white, glittery, or colorful, you might love the idea of having a gothic-themed wedding. If you’ve never heard of, or considered, a gothic wedding, keep reading for some of our best tips on how to pull it off successfully.

What’s Goth?

There are several definitions that you can find floating around the internet. However, one of the ways that Urban Dictionary defines goth is this:

“A Goth is someone who sees beauty in the dark side of life.”

Other websites loosely define goth as a subculture and style of fashion and music that emerged from the punk rock era in the late ‘70s and early ‘80s. Goth became big in England and slowly grew into a sort-of glam rock movement that mashes together with gothic literature, music with dark riffs, lyrics, and danceable beats, and fetish wear. Think of dark colors and lots of velvet and lace. This fashion style was combined with dramatic eye makeup à la the Ancient Egyptians for maximum effect. If you love a little darkness, coupled with mystery, intrigue, and a touch of glamour, you may find yourself drawn to a gothic-themed wedding.

What’s a Gothic Wedding?

A gothic wedding is a wedding ceremony and celebration with a flair for the dramatic. If you’re not a fan of soft pastels or classic, white wedding style, planning a gothic-themed wedding can be extremely fun and, when done well, be both classy and a touch theatrical. Even if you’re not a particularly goth person and don’t really live out the lifestyle or philosophy, it doesn’t mean that you can’t incorporate some gothic elements into your big day to add excitement and mystique. Even just small gothic touches here and there can make your wedding stand out to your guests as an event to remember.

When’s the Best Time for a Gothic Wedding?

Obviously, you can get married whenever you want, but many goth weddings often happen during the month of October. For those who do live out the gothic lifestyle and philosophy, they often choose the month of October because of the Halloween holiday. Yes, it may seem a bit cliche, but that argument can be made for almost any month of the year. So, the moral of the story is, October is popular, but you can have a gothic wedding any time of the year. You do you, boo.

Planning a Goth Wedding

The biggest thing to keep in mind is that goth weddings don’t have to be over the top to be “goth.” It’s not a costume party, but rather a wedding. So, you can incorporate goth elements into your wedding planning, while still keeping the event modern and classy, with subtle hints of mystery.

Venue

You don’t have to choose a venue for your wedding day that’s overtly goth if you don’t want to, but rather you can make any venue have a gothic vibe with the right decorative elements. However, if you really want to go all in, look for venues that augment your gothic themes, such as renting space at an old, gothic theater, or getting married in a castle or an old, ornate church. Think cathedrals, pillars, ornate spiral stairways, and even outdoor courtyards with a castle-like feel. Give yourself license to be creative in your choice of venue, and use your decor to really amp things up.

How to Pull Off a Gothic Wedding Photo Credit // 614 Wedding Photography

Attire

When it comes to gothic attire, you don’t have to go with just a black wedding dress. While red and black are popular gothic choices, you could choose a deep-grey wedding dress, with black or red lace accents, or even go with a dark color, such as purple. If you want to make a serious splash, look at red wedding dresses with intricate beading and hints of black lace. When choosing the attire of your wedding party, make sure that your dress is the feature attraction, and choose clothing that complements the look you’re going for.

If you choose a simpler style of dress, you can really goth out with your jewelry choices, so that the baubles are the focus. However, if your dress is ornate, go for less in the jewelry department. Keep in mind that you can incorporate hair color into your gothic theme, if you’re looking for an additional accent. To add a splash of color, the groom can wear a simple black tux with accents that match your dress.

Decor

There are so many directions that you can go with your decor to give almost any space a gothic feel. Think heavy fabrics, dark colors, tall candelabras, and medieval mirrors for a distinctly goth aura. If you don’t want to overdo it, you could also go with a very simple, classic look and just add hints of gothic touches. If your wedding is outdoors, consider a black wrought iron gazebo to be married under, and adorn it with lace. If you’re not a huge fan of flowers, you could have twig arrangements that look a bit bleak to suit a gothic-themed wedding well.

Remember that all of your elements have to blend together to successfully pull off a gothic theme. That includes everything from your decor to your attire, and your party favors to your music. If anything is “not goth” or doesn’t work with a gothic theme, it will stand out—and not in a good way.

You should also keep in mind that even though your close family and friends might understand your quirkiness and think that a gothic wedding theme is fun and cool, you may have more old-school family members that simply don’t get it. Expect that and be prepared for it, so that it doesn’t cast a pall on your big moment.

How to Pull Off a Gothic Wedding Photo Credit // 614 Wedding Photography

Food

It should probably go without saying that good-old Southern fare probably wouldn’t fit the goth theme as a potential menu. However, there are plenty of different menu options that you can go with that can lend a gothic flair to the evening. Seafood works very well with a gothic theme, especially lobster and shrimp. Steak also works well, as does lamb chops or a rack of lamb.

You can choose root veggies and have them cut into gothic shapes, such as a cross, as a side accompaniment along with grilled mushrooms. For starters, oyster shooters could be an option, or try serving crystal cut glasses filled with small prawns. Jellied fruits, black olives, black figs, and black beans are additional ideas that lend themselves well to a gothic-themed menu. For drinks, you can serve petite Bloody Marys and mulled red wine. Also, don’t forget the chocolate! Almost everyone loves chocolate, and it’s a great dessert addition to a gothic wedding.

Music

We all know how much music can help set a mood. It’s important to choose music that helps augment your goth theme, rather than detract from it. If you plan on having a DJ, discuss some playlist options. If you plan on making your own playlist to pump through some loud speakers, you can do that with music streaming apps. Even some dark, classic, instrumental music thrumming in the background during your reception can create a sense of mystery. You don’t have to choose punk rock or glam rock to set a gothic tone to the evening.

Favors

When deciding on wedding favors, Pinterest is your friend. There are tons of ideas to be found, ranging from simple gothic cupcake boxes that look classy and interesting, tiny coffin candy boxes, and skull and cross bone key chains. It really depends on the gothic style you are going for.

If you want favors that are overtly Halloween-esque, those tiny skull and cross bone keychains will be an amazing idea. If you’re going for a classier, more romantic gothic theme, those cupcake boxes might be ideal. Alternatively, you could give out little black shot glasses with your names and wedding date scrawled on them.

Why a Goth Wedding?

It’s simple, not every couple envisions their dream wedding as walking down a flower-strewn aisle in a white, princess ball gown or a cream-colored tux. Not everyone loves pastel colors and lots of flowers, or classical music and formal attire.

People, and couples, are unique, and their wedding is a monumental life moment that should reflect that uniqueness. After all, your wedding tale is a story you may be sharing with the grandkids someday, and, let's be honest, a gothic wedding tale is quite a story to tell.