Hosting a Halloween wedding isn’t for everybody, but if it’s for you, it’s really for you. Do you get giddy at the thought of walking down a pumpkin-lined aisle or into a reception venue draped in black? You can go ghoulishly glam, or simply play with the color palette, but for some the spookier the better, and if that’s you, bring it on.
For whatever kind of Halloween wedding you want, we’ve outlined the steps to help you succeed at spookify-ing your celebration. Scroll on… if you dare.
This should go without saying, but if you want your wedding to be Halloween-themed, it should fall in late October. If you know from the start that you want to have a Halloween-themed wedding, only consider venues that have availability on Halloween or during the week leading up to it.
It’s also important to prioritize venues that suit the theme. For example, an estate could easily become a haunted mansion and a ranch could allow for a corn maze. Can you string fabric, cobwebs and chandeliers from the ceiling? Will it go well with gourds? Consider your vision before settling into a spot to ensure it’s spooky enough.
Once you’ve found the perfect wedding venue and set the date, make sure your guests save it. Send out an on-theme save-the-date, so your guests can pencil in their Halloween plans months in advance.
Halloween is notoriously dark and moody, so your wedding colors should fall in line. But that doesn’t necessarily mean you have to go with orange and black. Go with deep red, burgundy, or purple hues that are equally as moody, but not nearly as harsh. And if you’re staunch on including the classic hues, all of these colors pair beautifully with dark shades of orange and black.
You can also play with an all-black theme, or work with the color wheel and choose shades of gray. Is a ghostly gala more your style? Stick to white and gray for a celebration that’s as ethereal as it is scary. Whichever direction you choose, settle on a color palette early on to help set the overall tone for the wedding.
Once you’ve had a chance to consider the overall picture for your Halloween-themed wedding, you can focus on the finer details. This is where the theme really comes into play.
Just because your wedding falls on October 31, doesn’t mean your guests will know it’s going to be a spooky celebration. Make sure your invitations and wedding website makes it clear, and if you want them to come in costume or wear all black, specify the dress code.
There are dozens of festive wedding invitation options to choose from. Moody florals, gold foil calligraphy, and celestial patterns are just a few designs that suit a spooky theme. You can even model your Halloween wedding invitation after a gravestone or an old-fashioned scroll, complete with eerie words of old.
If your guests are going to be dressed to the nines—Halloween style—you better plan to capture their spooky attire. A photo booth is a fun addition to any wedding, but especially on Halloween. Even if you aren’t telling your guests to show up in disguise, a photo booth provides a place where they can dress up with fun props and wardrobe pieces. It is the perfect on-theme activity. Plus, you can use the photo strips for your guest book.
No Halloween wedding would be complete without the holiday’s signature motif—and its classiest one. Pumpkins and other gourds come in all shapes in sizes and go smashingly well with fall wedding decor. Plus, they come in a variety of colors, or can be painted to suit your palette. Orange, white, gray, or green? No problem. Decorate tables with the tiny ones, and place the larger ones stacked at the entrance to the ceremony or by the bar. Don’t be afraid to mix and match colors or styles of gourds. In this case, more is more.
The tabletop is the place where you can hone in on a haunting theme—in a beautiful way. But you’ll need to do more than add a few ceramic skulls here and there...
When we think of Halloween, we think of rich, slightly tattered fabrics. You can combine the two easily on your reception tables. Consider dark tablecloth linens made of rich velvet fabric topped with frayed-edge napkins or gauzy chiffon table runners on top of long sophisticated banquet tables.
Crystal coupes, black goblets, or gold-rimmed glasses are all great options for stemware that will add a chillingly beautiful touch to your tables. To create an eclectic, yet glamorous visual display, mix and match water glasses, wine goblets, and Champagne flutes of various styles.
To set a truly spooky mood, you’ve got to light up the night with candlelight. Whether you opt for tall tapered candles (dripping with wax for an ultra-spooky look), candelabras overhead (or both!), candlelight will bring a gothic feel to the night in a really romantic way. Don’t be shy about placing them everywhere. Think beyond the tabletop, and create a dramatic, yet safe, look by surrounding the dance floor with the electric kind.
If you’re looking for the perfect place to get a little punny at your wedding, it's with food and drinks. Boos, anyone? You see what we mean.
One of the greatest parts of getting married in the fall is the menu. Flavors of cinnamon and nutmeg and foods like pumpkin, apples, and butternut squash are both delicious and on-theme. Embrace seasonal plates, or switch it up with dark-colored courses. Serve up soups or bubbling stews to warm up your guests before spooking them with a frighteningly delicious main course like squid ink pasta or Mexican molé.
You can also infuse cocktails with a spooky essence by using cherry, raspberry, or blackberry liqueurs. Add dry ice for a smokey finish and dub them “Love Potion” or “Witches Brew” to keep guests on their toes.
Let your desserts take the cake. After all, it’s the one day of the year where the amount of sweets we consume is totally justifiable. With a talented baker on deck, your wedding cake can be the spooky concoction you’ve always dreamed of: black fondant, webbed icing, you name it. But don’t stop there. Create a dipping station, complete with all the fixings for caramel apples, short of poison. A candy bar is another must at a Halloween wedding. Keep it classy with jars full of elegant candies in your color palette, and provide candy bags, so guests can “trick-or-treat.”
If you’re hosting a Halloween wedding, dare to be different in a black gown or go bold with your makeup to stand out (even more) from the crowd.
Want to keep it traditional for the ceremony, but switch things up for the wedding reception? A lace gown with long sleeves or a high neck can give you the gothic wedding look you’re going for and still remain classically timeless. Then, take your look from day to Halloween night in no time, by swapping the frilly frock for an edgy black reception dress later on.
If smokey eyes and dark lipstick ever have their place in a bridal beauty look, it’s at a Halloween wedding. The time to embrace these bold makeup looks is now. You can go dark and moody with shades of gray and purple, or lean into the magical side and choose sparkling shades of silver and pink.
For the groom, an all-black getup is both in step with the Halloween theme and seriously sharp. Keep it simple, or add a printed tie or bow tie to incorporate the rest of your fall wedding colors.
Halloween weddings are meant to be a bit outside the box, so don’t be afraid to let your wild side shine. Embrace the holiday in just one of these ways for a subtle nod to the Halloween season, or incorporate them all for a full-out affair.