Danielle & Banger's gothique, Burton-esque, New Orleans, voodoo, Hallows-Eve, handfasting

December 3 |

Remember when Ariel got all jumpy and hand-clappy over that gorgeous goth stripey bride? Where here she is with the whole gorgeous goth wedding details!

12770_346793700584_824280584_9836688_1403527_n
The offbeat bride: Danielle, Comedic Actress, Usui Reiki Master, Village Witch & Tarot Reader (and OBT member "Danielle")

Her offbeat partner: Banger: Semi Professional Musician, Financial Services Consultant

Location & date of wedding: Ceremony: Congo Square
Cocktail Reception: Séance Lounge in Muriel's on Jackson Square.
Cake & Party Reception: Bourbon St. Balcony Suite, Bourbon Orleans Hotel,

New Orleans, LA, October 31, 2009

What made our wedding offbeat: We wanted everything to have a very lush, theatrical, maturely decadent, and darkly sensuous dramatic feel. With the wedding being an immersive, interactive experience for our guests, not just something to be observed.

11152_172508731522_117330716522_3026523_3955880_n
Guests grabbing drinks during the pre-ceremony tour.

The day began with our guests taking a walking tour of haunted locations in the French Quarter, led by our officiant, which included info on the history of Voodoo in NOLA. The tour brought them to the outdoor ceremony location at Congo Square — one of the most sacred spots for Voodoo in the city. The sounds of "Sally's Song" from Nightmare Before Christmas, played on bass, accordion, and fiddle wafted through the air beckoning them to the site of the event. We were waiting for them as they arrived and, once seated, they were treated to an authentic NOLA-style Voodoo ceremony that included handfasting, the binding of bride-and-groom Voodoo dolls (which had been made from scraps of our wedding clothes and some of our hair), and the jumping of the broom.

16643_358692230584_824280584_10004565_5679984_nAfterwards we all paraded through the Quarter, through throngs of costumed Halloween revelers, to the cocktail reception held at the gorgeous (and famously haunted) Muriel's. The bordello-fabulous décor in the Séance Lounge continued the eerily opulent atmosphere that we had been cultivating all day. Finally we landed at our balcony suite (at our haunted hotel, naturally) overlooking the insanely festive Halloween celebrations on Bourbon Street for bloody good red velvet Nighmare Before Christmas cupcakes and general liquor-fueled, bead-catching merriment!

Our biggest challenge: The two main challenges were creating a small, child-free guest list for a destination wedding that was still affordable for those we loved, and planning a ceremony from a different country.

16643_363866295584_824280584_10068957_6387107_n

Banger's family is HUGE and generally everyone gets invited to everything. My family is a whopping two people. We were paying for the majority of this ourselves, and wanted the day to be about US, not about wrangling 200 people (plus their expectations), and paying for hundreds of meals. The ceremony being child-free was also very important to us. So we decided on a destination wedding so we could weed out the guest list and not look like jerks while doing it. (It worked brilliantly!) Also, New Orleans at Halloween is not really a kid-friendly environment, so that made the argument against kids for us. (It also worked brilliantly!) Flying to New Orleans from Toronto wasn't overly expensive and we found everyone hotel rooms for about $95. Only about four friends declined due to costs, and all family made it, so overall it was very successful.

16645_342877365584_824280584_9779540_1457967_n

Planning everything from another country by phone and email was the scariest thing. It involved trusting that the recommendations people were providing were actually good, and then trusting that the people we hired would hold up their end of the contract to the standards that we were expecting. We couldn't see or sample anything in person — we just had to sign the contracts and cross our fingers. It worked out!
(*wipes forehead)

12770_346826300584_824280584_9836990_7985299_n

My favorite moment: When all our guests got their first glimpse of us as they arrived at the ceremony site –- they were all dressed up in awesome Hallows Eve finery, had gotten some take-away cups of daquaris at some point during the tour and were buzzing a little bit (that was an unexpected development) — and they all gasped and stopped in their tracks to take photos. Some clapped. Everyone waved at us and some jumped up and down. It was like we were Mickey Mouse and they were all five year olds at Disney for the first time… it was just pure joy and excitement and wonder. I really wasn't anticipating that kind of reaction from everyone at all, and it was very touching.

16643_357755875584_824280584_9995297_6246072_n

The other best part of the night was the fact that every one of our guests at some point came up to us to say that that is was one of the most fun nights of their entire lives. It was like everyone was sixteen again -– everyone was giggling, shouting, hanging off the balcony yelling good-naturedly at various people on the street below. The fact that the whole vibe of all the partiers in NOLA that night was so open, positive, and friendly made everything all the more spectacular. We had aimed to create an experience that was WAY more than just a wedding, and it was fulfilling to know we'd succeeded so magnificently in that aspiration!

16643_364797165584_824280584_10080340_5631372_n
Love this favor idea: The Mojo Buffet favor table. Guests were invited to create their own mojo bag for either luck, love, or money. Instructions, herbs, condition oils, and mojo bag were all included on the table.

My offbeat advice: While you may be forced to compromise on exactly how your vision comes to life, don't sacrifice your core vision for your wedding for anything! We wanted dark drama and sensuous spectacle, and our plans changed drastically several times during the planning phases, but we got it in spades in the end! I found that if you trusted the process, changes that you're forced to make end up opening opportunities for even more fabulous ideas and outcomes in the end.

Also don't get overly attached to how your core wedding vision will manifest. Specific elements can change in an instant due to all sorts of unforeseen happenings, and you have to quickly mourn the loss of one particular manifestation of your vision, and create a whole new one. But the vision itself remains the same and will ultimately come to pass.

There also comes a time when you just have to let go and trust that everything will work out. You can only double-check with your cakery/hotel/venue/officiant/florist so many times before you just have to breathe and let go. Going bat-sh*t, stress-hog, anal-bridezilla won't change anything, and will just make you sick and annoy the heck out of everyone around you. If things go wrong on the day of, just take it in stride and work with what you have!

To that end…16645_343785550584_824280584_9794655_2156289_n

Read up and start practicing Mindfulness Meditation methods. These easy to apply non-sectarian techniques will really help manage your stress and mental wellbeing!!

Care to share a few vendor/shopping links?:

Enough talk — show me the wedding porn!

allowFullScreen="true" flashvars="offsite=true&lang=en-us&page_show_url=photos%2F41105833%40N04%2Fsets%2F72157622744019352%2Fshow%2F&page_show_back_url=photos%2F41105833%40N04%2Fsets%2F72157622744019352%2Fshow%2F&set_id=72157622744019352&jump_to=" width="800" height="500">

  1. what a lovely wedding.. wouldve loved to have been a guest!

    1 agrees
  2. AHH! LOVE the outift. One vendor link I was really hoping for was the SHOES! They are so amazing, and I'd love to find some similar ones for my own wedding. Does anyone have links?

    1 agrees
  3. I like the idea of guests being involved in the wedding. My fiance and I both have huge families (both of which we are very super close to almost everyone!!) and want everyone there to unite both families that one day, but I can't stand sitting and watching something for almost an hour. Since we are still in the beginning stages of the wedding, I might think of a way we can incorporate everyone into the wedding or get an event going on while waiting and whatnot.

    0 agree
  4. Sally's song! I love it! We toyed with a Nightmare wedding for a while but it didn't work out, but I completely wanted Sally's song as the wedding march. This wedding sounds like it was an excellent event!

    1 agrees
  5. The shoes I found on Ebay – I just searched "victorian boots". I think they were like $50. They're not fluevog – unfortunately I've never been able to afford a pair of those gems. :) But these rock and were cheap, turned out to be really comfortable, and I still wear them around!

    1 agrees
  6. Brills. I can't even express just how incredibly cool this wedding is. Congrats and thanks for sharing!

    1 agrees
  7. Brills. I can't even express just how incredibly cool this wedding is. Congrats and thanks for sharing!

    0 agree
  8. I love, love, LOVE ALL OF IT!!! Brilliantly masterminded! I haven't been back to New Orleans since Katrina, is Congo Square still as wonderful as it used to be after dark?

    0 agree
  9. We weren't there after dark, so I couldn't tell ya (our contract stipulated that we had to be completely out by dusk/5pm). But the city was gorgeous, and the park was lovely.

    1 agrees
  10. I'm so glad you loved our city :) . The media gave us all this negative attention and then just STOPPED – moved on to other things – failing to report ANYTHING positive or beautiful about our city. ("If it bleeds, it leads," right??).

    This wedding made me tear up at how beautiful, majestic, and mysterious New Orleans is. (And, LOVED the shoes :) ). And the "gris-gris bags" (goody bags) are so great!! I might have to steal that idea!

    1 agrees
  11. We absolutely adored it and all the people there! We can't wait to get back again. We've been telling everyone how amazing it was and encouraging everyone to take a trip down there.

    1 agrees
  12. We are planning a destination wedding as well….thanks for you advice!
    That dress is STUNNING!

    1 agrees
  13. The pin on Dan's shoulder….does anyone know if it's custom made? Love the skulls, and my engagement ring has 2 skulls on the sides of the solitaire….he also plans on wearing a formal kilt for the wedding <3

    1 agrees
  14. The pin on Dan's shoulder….does anyone know if it's custom made? Love the skulls, and my engagement ring has 2 skulls on the sides of the solitaire….he also plans on wearing a formal kilt for the wedding <3

    0 agree
  15. As a guest, I can't even begin to spill how amazing the entire day was! So proud of my baby bro and his fabulous lady for hosting such an unforgetable event in the most incredible destination and doing it the way THEY wanted it! Almost makes me want to get married someday (insert laughter soundtrack on a loop for about 55 hours)! Congrats across the board. XOXO The Trampire

    0 agree
    • You were an unforgettable Trampire. ;)
      Especially for the people in the pizza place you visited much later that evening.

      0 agree
  16. Wow what a beautiful bride… awesome cup cakes!

    0 agree
  17. what a wonderful wedding! I love the look and feel of it. The fact that you had a Voodoo ceremony that included handfasting is so what I will be doing.
    As I love Halloween, Voodoo, die hard fan of Tim Burton, stipes and red roses it's as if you peered into my head and plucked the wedding of my dreams out. I have sketches of a wedding like this. Bravo!

    ** I have taken a tour with Bloody Mary and she is so knowledgable on all things Voodoo and New Orleans.

    side note I have long admired that dress and plan on wearing it for the Memnoch Ball in New Orleans Halloween weekend!

    0 agree
  18. YOur wedding looked amazing. We are eloping to New Orleans from the UK and I'm just wondering how you delt with the legal side of things? Did you need a different officiant or did Mary do it all for you? x

    0 agree
    • Mary is official clergy, so she was able to do everything. We picked up the marriage license from the city offices, Mary signed them, and we mailed them in. It was all pretty simple.

      Have fun!

      1 agrees
  19. Your wedding looked very beautiful. I am getting married soon and was just looking around. Thank you!

    1 agrees

Join the conversation

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

No-drama comment policy

Part of what makes the Offbeat Empire different is our commitment to civil, constructive commenting. Make sure you're familiar with our no-drama comment policy.

Biz owners & wedding bloggers

Please just use your real name in your comment, not your business name or blog title. Our comments are not the place to pimp your website. If you want to promote your stuff on Offbeat Bride, join us as an advertiser instead.