Laura & Sam's windy elegant gothy Halloween wedding

May 13 |
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Photos by Through a Cracked Lens

The offbeat bride: Laura, Customer Service Representative

Her offbeat partner: Sam, System Administrator

Date and location of wedding: Sparrow Lakes Golf Course, Welland, Ontario Canada — October 30, 2010

What made our wedding offbeat: We can start with basics: I'm Canadian and my partner is American. We had applied for a Fiancé Visa, but really wanted the wedding to be in my hometown since I was the one who was going to be moving. We couldn't get legally married without screwing up our visa application, so we had the wedding minus the legal bits. A good friend who is ordained in New York performed the ceremony for us and when I finally get to move to new York, she'll make it legal for us too.

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I'm six years older and four inches taller than my groom. I'm plus-sized. We had a Halloween wedding and invited our guests to come in costume. We wore costumes also — I was a Silent Film Star and my groom was an elegant vampire.

Our ceremony was outside at the end of October and all the guests stood. We did not have a wedding party, but we chose people for specific roles. We had four torch-bearers who led the wedding procession outside. Our nephew carried a skull pillow with our rings tied to them. The song we walked in to was "Carnival" by Nick Cave. The ceremony was non-religious and we wrote it ourselves.

candybarWe had two "greeters" who greeted our guests as they walked into the venue, gave them a program and told them about all the stuff going on — the costume contest (complete with prizes), the candy bar, the photo booth, the standing ceremony, etc. We also did not have a DJ — we did the music ourselves with an iPod and a rented speaker system.

We had a separate kids' party in the Clubhouse of the golf course so the adults could kick back and enjoy themselves at the reception, but also could check on their kids if they wanted. The kids ate at their own table with two babysitters, had their own candy bar, their own cupcakes, lots of activities and movies to watch, and a tent to pass out in.

sneak

Tell us about the ceremony: Four torch-bearers led the way, followed by Sam's immediate family, then mine, then Sam, and then me and my dad. We basically did a long procession through the standing crowd down to a patio that overlooked a lake. It was right at sunset. The torches unfortunately would not stay lit. My family stood on one side and Sam's on the other, sort of boxing us in.

torchbearers - torches would not stay lit

The ceremony took maybe ten minutes, which was a good thing, because it was really windy that day and the wind was fiercely cold.

When we finished the ceremony, our photographer took a giant group shot of everyone on the stairs of the patio. We then went inside and before dinner, we had our photographer take group shots of us with each table so we had a picture of everyone there.

Laura and Sam's Halloween Wedding

centrepieces

Our biggest challenge: Our biggest challenge was that by the time the wedding happened, we were already several months into the process of applying for a Fiancé Visa. The visa process itself took a lot longer than we expected and we hadn't heard a thing yet about our application except that it had been received. We had also spent a year planning the wedding. When we realized the visa process was not going to be anywhere near finished by our wedding date, we decided we had two choices: start the visa process over which meant paying another $450 fee and waiting even longer; or not actually get legally married at the wedding, but rather do our big fancy party when we planned and then get legally married after the visa process.

Laura and Sam's Halloween Wedding

Also, we did not want a religious ceremony. In fact, we really didn't want a ceremony at all. We're both introverted and the idea of standing up and saying intimate things to each other in front of everyone made us both a bit crazy. We decided to write the ceremony ourselves and keep it as short and painless as possible. So the challenge became how to make the ceremony itself have some meaning and authenticity to us and our family and friends who weren't perhaps as open minded as us.

We asked a friend from NY who is ordained to perform the ceremony. She was amazing! She helped us write the ceremony, gave suggestions, and inspiration. She avoided the few phrases she could not legally say and no one even noticed the ceremony wasn't "legal." And she wore an amazing Raven costume with wings! We liked the idea that she is licensed where we will be living so when the immigration process is complete, she can marry us the second time in NY and make it legal.

laurasam

My favorite moment: The overwhelming support we got throughout the weekend made so many meaningful moments. We had a lot of different guests — people of many different generations, different religious beliefs, different world views — and I worried that someone would be offended by our Halloween wedding. It meant a lot to us that everyone had so much fun and really enjoyed themselves, really embracing the spirit of the night.

laura2

My funniest moment: In the ceremony when we kissed, Liz, our officiant, quietly said to us, "You may now STOP kissing the bride." That cracked me up.

People seemed to absolutely love the candy bar and used the wax lips and teeth to ham it up in the photo booth. The pictures were priceless. When we looked through them all after the wedding, we realized the wait staff at the venue had fooled around with the photo booth too after everyone had left for the night… we thought that was hilarious.

Laura and Sam's Halloween Wedding

Was there anything you were sure was going to be a total disaster that unexpectedly turned out great? I honestly thought the kids party would be a disaster. I didn't think the kids would stay in their own room. But they did and it was amazing to see how much fun they had at their own Halloween party.

laura3

Care to share a few vendor/shopping links?

Enough talk — show me the wedding porn!

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  1. Wow so beautiful!!!! I love when I see Ontario brides on here!! Your hair is gorgeous…. I have hair envy now lol. Congrats on your day!!!

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  2. Wow,

    Stunning. Absolutely stunning! You did great in spite of your challenges with the visas. It's simply inspired that your officiant will be able to marry you "for reals" when the paperwork finally comes through! Congrats, and thanks for sharing this with us.

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  3. I love halloween weddings, I truly believe it brings out the young at heart inner kid in all of us! What other excuse do we get to dress in fun clothes and just have fun so I love when couples do it on their wedding!! Bravo to this beautiful bride!!!

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  4. Laura, you are so beautiful! I love your dress. :D

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    • Everyone – thank you so much for your very kind words and positive feedback! It means a lot coming from the people on this site since there are so many fantastic, creative, gorgeous weddings featured here. This site is a constant source of inspiration and has been for a couple of years now…..I am SO happy Offbeat Home launched just in time to snap me out of my depression for no longer "needing" Offbride Bride after my wedding. All you future Brides, I envy you….you have a blank canvas! Have FUN with your planning.

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      • HI Laura,

        I am writing a story on Halloween weddings and would love to speak with you about your own wedding. The pictures are fantastic!

        My name is Matt McPherson and I am a student journalist at Humber College.

        I am on a tight deadline and would love to hear from you by tomorrow if possible. Send me quick email at mattcmcpherson@gmail.com. Would love to arrange a time to chat about your wedding and all that went into it.

        Regards,

        Matt

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  5. I love this. I have whole wedding envy.
    Halloween is my favorite time of year. If anyone else is getting married around Halloween on Vancouver Island, you are welcome to use my graveyard.

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  6. Can we just talk about how gorgeous this bride is? The Hair! The stunning art deco headpiece, that lacy black gown! Wowzers girl, you are a stunner! I also LOVE the idea of the separate kids party. What a great idea to be able to have "adult-party" without alienating the parents of kids.

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  7. You have absolutely lovely eyes! Your portrait photo is stunning. I am sure everyone who came to this wedding will remember how fun it was. And congrats for navigating the whole visa thing and deciding how to solve the issue.

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  8. Your wedding looks beautiful! I especially love that headpiece, and the 4th picture on this page.

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  9. WOW!!! I love everything! You looked beautiful and part of me wishes I had waited until October to get married. I absolutely the photos that have that silent screen look to them. That is amazing. Congrats and what a beautifully amazing wedding!!

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  10. I'm a Canadian fiance visa bride, too!! We did it the opposite way (legal city hall wedding when I arrived, planning our big reception for this summer.) and it's so great to see another offbeat bride who dealt with the same challenges!! Love everything about your wedding!! You look gorgeous and your hubby looks dapper!

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  11. What a testament to your relationship and your love that you just rolled with the punches and had your wedding despite the immigration issues–you didn't let it get you down or get frustrated. Laura and Sam both look amazing… this wedding looks like it was a blast and that photo of Laura pensively gazing at the camera as she leans on a tombstone? GORGEOUS. Congrats! :)

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  12. We were at this fantastic wedding & it was definitely the BEST wedding we have ever been to (and we've been to a LOT of them)!! Laura & Sam were (and always are) amazing!
    We tell everyone we know about their wedding & what a great time everyone had!
    Thanks again for inviting us!
    Keep Smiling!

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  13. On the off chance someone checks this, a little update: it took over a year, but Laura finally has her visa to come live in the US permanently. We're going to have our "official" wedding on our one year anniversary. At least we get to keep the date the same ;)

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