When we began looking at venues, we knew from the moment we set foot in the building that TV’s Grand Event was going to be it.
When we got engaged, we knew two things for sure: we wanted to get married as close to Halloween as possible since we’re both scary movie junkies, and we didn’t want to have our reception anywhere really traditional or expected.
With the beautiful porches and turret on the exterior, and the big staircase and hand carved original bar inside, the atmosphere at TV’s was exactly what we were looking for. At our initial meeting their banquet manager gave us the lowdown on the history of the place (it went from being a grand hotel near the waterfront to a brothel to a condemned building that was almost torn down before its current owner bought it). As an added plus, it’s allegedly haunted!
The overall aesthetic of our wedding was “Vintage Halloween Harvest”, incorporating our weird shared love of Halloween and scary movies and combining it with my antiques and vintage obsession and our (and especially Luke’s) affinity for all things nerdy. We wanted the vibe to be kind of like a Vincent Price movie, where it’s set somewhere beautiful and fancy, but there’s also a hint of something creepy going on. Luke and I also have this annual date night tradition of going to our city’s historic cemetery and museum house tour, and we were a bit inspired by some of the historical Halloween decorations we saw inside the museum.
Since I work as a graphic designer, I knew for sure that I wanted to design as much of our stationary as I could. To set the mood, we sent out save the date postcards that were designed to look like vintage Halloween cards we saw in a museum on one of our dates. My friend Kelly is an extremely talented artist, so I commissioned her to do an illustration for us that included pumpkins, black cats, crows, and a full moon. She actually created the drawing digitally, so I was able to add in my own text and have them printed by a short run printing company called Catprint. They were excellent to work with and the quality of their stuff is top notch. (If you plan on having any printing done in the near future, definitely click on this link and get a $10 off coupon!) They also let you get estimates straight from their website, so you know exactly how much different paper and size options cost without having to talk to anyone about it.
For our invitations, Luke and I were both certain that we wanted them to be black with gold foil. Unfortunately it’s pretty much impossible to find a printer who will do foil on black, so we had to order pre-designed ones. Luckily, Minted had a design that both of us thought worked. They’re a bit more pricey than Catprint, however they also pretty much did all of the work for us and were willing to customize anything we wanted, so they’re a great option if you have zero design skills or zero time to put in the effort. (Here’s a coupon for $25 off $100+ if you’d like to try them out.) We used the phrase “Would you kindly…” for anything RSVP-related as a tribute to the video game Bioshock because, well, we’re nerds.
The week before our wedding, Matt loaded up his giant truck with 20 pumpkins that were on sale at a produce stand and greenhouse out near his work. Together, Luke and Amanda scooped out the pumpkins so they would be ready for us all to carve the night before the wedding.
For our centerpieces on the guest tables, we carved the table numbers into pumpkins using stencils I created on my computer with an art deco font.
We lit each pumpkin with a candle and topped it with a subtly sparkly crow, both as a reflection of our love for the Halloween season as well as a nod to Alfred Hitchcock films. (The Birds is STILL scary, okay?!) We surrounded each pumpkin with vintage Libby glassware that Matt and I actually picked up super cheap in bulk at a random estate sale. I like to hoard vintage glassware.
We decorated our head table with a gold sequin runner, some oil lanterns, and more pumpkins. Megan spent hours carving this pumpkin, and it was probably my favorite.
We bought a few extra pumpkins just in case, so we decided to carve those as well and arrange them on the floor all around the grand ballroom. Erin carved our initials into a few of the extras, and we ended up using those to decorate the room where our ceremony was held.
For escort cards, we thought skeleton keys would be cool since they are a bit creepy, but also because our venue was a Victorian era hotel. We purchased bottle openers that looked like skeleton keys off of Amazon, then I designed keytags with our guests’ names and table numbers and had them printed onto business cards. I hole punched each card and attached it to the key with twine, so they doubled as favors.
We made our grand entrance to a classical piano cover of Korobeiniki (aka: the Tetris song).
This picture cracks me up because it totally looks like I’m dragging Luke. Actually, Luke isn’t really a fan of being in crowded rooms full of people, so I probably was dragging him. Haha!
After Megan, Brandon, and Mike tortured us a bit, we did our toasts. (Nah, just kidding, thanks for toasting us, guys!)
Our dinner feast consisted of baked mostaccioli, roasted chicken, a roast beef carving station, garlic smashed redskin potatoes, green beans, salad, and garlic bread rolls with butter (and of course an open bar).
I’m not going to lie, we had a pretty non-traditional cake, and neither one of us told anybody aside from our vendors what we were doing until it happened.
Our cake was from Cakes by Stephanie and featured four different flavors: raspberry lemonade, chocolate raspberry, peanut butter with fudge (seriously like a reese’s cup in cake form) and blueberry with cream cheese.
When it came time to submit our final artwork for the cake, I was really nervous that they weren’t going to want to do what we wanted, but their cake decorators actually loved the idea and ended up featuring it on their social media. Early on in our wedding planning, I had seen a picture of a Freddy Krueger themed Halloween cake and Luke and I were both obsessed with it. At the same time, we also a wanted black, gold, and white Art Deco style cake with a similar aesthetic to the video game Bioshock. Eventually we thought, why not have both? So we did! Our cake was placed in the turret area of the ballroom, which is off in a corner, and we had it positioned so that the pretty side was facing outward towards our guests and the “fun” side was in the back, so you could only see it when you walked around the cake. I guess our cake was like a mullet, only it was cool.
Our cake topper was a custom order from Plasticsmith on Etsy. Luke liked the idea of having a Halloween or horror-themed cake topper, and I liked something a bit more vintage. We compromised and had our Etsy artist make something that was reminiscent of the paper moon photos in the 1920s, but it also had a black cat on it.
Our first dance was to “Time in a Bottle” by Jim Croce.
I danced with my dad to “Here Comes the Sun” by The Beatles, because why not? It was the first time I really got to talk to my dad all day, so it was a really nice moment.
Please enjoy the shared “oh sh*t!” expression shared by every single person in the room as I nearly took out one of the crystal chandeliers when I tossed my bouquet. (Except for Ashlyn, she clearly has her game face on.)
After that, it was time for everyone to hit the dance floor. DJ Joey K and his wife Kristy helped keep the party going by spinning a crazy mix of random throwbacks and new stuff, which our guests seemed to love.
Our friend and bridesmaid Erin and her husband Rob got married the weekend before Luke and I did (yup, we were both bridesmaids in each other’s wedding a week apart, and nope, we didn’t want to kill each other because of it). Consequently, they were being all cute and stuff.
One of the greatest things about the day was that we were able to see a lot of family and friends who we don’t get to see too often. Many of them live quite a hike away and some oven out of state, so we were really grateful that they made the effort to spend the day with us.
Before our wedding, I designed a book with all of our engagement photos and had it printed as a hardcover through Adoramapix. I left a lot of blank space inside so our guests could leave little notes for us throughout the evening. We also decided to set out our instant camera so our guests could leave us photos, or have souvenirs to take home.
We didn’t plan this, but probably the most fitting thing about the whole night was the fact that it was a full moon. One of the songs our DJ played “Harvest Moon” by Neil Young, and I felt like it really set the tone for the evening.
The night was kind of misty, and we walked one block down to Elm street to take one last photo before the night was over.
It was perfect.
Thanks for reading!
This is not a sponsored post, however we had some pretty excellent vendors and would love to give them a solid recommendation to anyone who might be planning an event.
Photos: Alice Heart Photography. Hair & Makeup: DVine Hair Design. Venue: TV’s Grand Event. Cake: Cakes by Stephanie. Flowers: DIY (check out my tutorial here.) Stationary: Catprint and Minted. Guestbook: Adoramapix. Music: DJ Joey K.