The New Fall Classic

You might ask yourself: Why would anyone want to be married on Halloween or celebrate a Halloween-themed wedding? The truth is, a lot of couples choose Halloween simply because of the gorgeous fall weather, while others love the quirkiness of the holiday. But how do you maintain the elegance while at the same time avoiding the potentially creepy?

It’s all about balance, according to Darcy Miller, editorial director of Martha Stewart Weddings. “I wouldn’t be too literal for a Halloween wedding,” she said. In addition to incorporating fall’s beautiful color palette into décor and invitations, she suggested serving a seasonal menu. “On a crisp fall evening, it would be wonderful to welcome guests with hot apple cider,” she said.

A Halloween wedding doesn’t have to be Goth or held in a spooky dungeon, either. According to Calder Clark of Calder Clark Designs in Charleston, S.C., there needn’t be any orange and black at your wedding at all.


“I like to go with an unexpected color scheme,” she said, mentioning as an example the chic yellow and gray palette of a Halloween wedding she designed a few years ago. That said, “A pop of orange can still be fun without being overly obvious,” she noted, citing floral elements like branching bittersweet and caramel or terracotta-toned roses. “Black is also an extremely chic touch when used minimally,” she added.

Using pumpkins is another way to incorporate the Halloween theme. “Try lining a pathway with pumpkins, incorporating mini pumpkins into your centerpieces or serving guests a delicious pumpkin or gourd soup in a hollowed-out pumpkin as the first course,” Miller suggested.

Treats are important at a Halloween wedding — and not just for kids. “Definitely don’t forget the candy,” said Miller. The young at heart will love filling up favor bags at an old-fashioned candy bar, or sampling sweets from a Halloween-themed dessert bar, such as one recently created by Amy Atlas of New York’s Amy Atlas Events that included a whimsical ghost cake pops, pumpkin bark and “cobweb” apples.

And of course no wedding would be complete without a cake, and pastry chefs are reaching new creative heights with Halloween and “Day of the Dead”-themed cakes. Kimberly Bailey of the The Butter End bakery in Santa Monica created a cake with edible lace, handmade “black magic” sugar roses and topped with a Rice Krispy and rolled-chocolate skull. Lisa Ritter of Studio City’s Big Sugar Bake Shop once crafted a three-tiered gateau with “spider webbing” and a Tim Burton-inspired wedding topper.

For those who love masquerade balls and costume parties, a Halloween wedding can be the perfect occasion to ask guests to dress up. Some couples may find that it’s the perfect excuse to throw an elegant masquerade ball.

Jennifer and Lee Barth of Portland, Ore., have always loved big parties and decided that their Halloween-weekend Palm Springs wedding in 2003 was the perfect venue for a costume ball. “Our parents were appalled with the idea until we framed it as an elegant black-and-white ball,” she said. In the end, they chose the rehearsal dinner as the backdrop for the ball. “Everyone had a blast,” she said.

Lizzie Bauer and Simon Millar of Studio City married on Halloween Day in 2002. “We love Halloween,” said Bauer, an artist and interior designer. “We picked the day because of the novelty of it, but mostly we wanted to have fun.”

Though Bauer didn’t wear a costume, she did choose a stunning black spider-web-inspired blouse by Dries Van Noten and did something most brides don’t do on their wedding day. “We went trick-or-treating with our little girl,” she said. It was her daughter’s first time — and her husband’s, too: Millar grew up in New Zealand where his family didn’t celebrate Halloween.

But having a Halloween wedding isn’t just about the fall foliage, the costumes and the treats, she pointed out. “You’ll never forget your anniversary,” Bauer said. “Even when the kids are grown, we’ll be toasting with champagne and bite-sized Butterfingers.”

— Jennifer Evans Gardner
Custom Publishing Writer