Kymba & Kerry's Haunted Hotel Halloween Wedding

Updated Oct 12 2015

To celebrate the season, we're featuring a Halloween wedding every week for the month of October!

The Offbeat Bride: Kymba, RN (and OBT member)

Her Offbeat Partner: Kerry, Paramedic

Location & date of wedding: Shaffer Hotel, Mountainair, New Mexico. A haunted pueblo-deco, built in a unique style with an attached park, gazebo, firepit, game room, multipurpose room, an attached restaurant, and a ghost or two who joined in our fun — October 31, 2008

What made our wedding offbeat: As a free-spirited, multi-ethnic, democratic hippie marrying a former military, Lutheran, republican — there wasn't a whole lot about our wedding that was considered "normal" by either side of the aisle (well, except the aisle itself). My family was very happy with the whole Halloween wedding in a haunted hotel in costume vibe. His family was very happy with the gazebo ceremony site, country music reception, and the great local food.

costumesAs a couple, having ceremony wording that represented us and our intentions was important and we spent much of our engagement period working on our ceremony in order to include our mixed heritages and beliefs. We were able to create a special and spiritual event with bits of humor while still including our immediate in extended family members.

Our biggest challenge: Logistics of location and ceremony wording were our biggest challenges, next to our budget.

Because of various factors, we chose a mini destination wedding site about an hour and a half from our homes. We both wanted to go away for our wedding, but with his kids and my disabled father, we decided to compromise on having our event a bit closer to home so they could participate.

Having a mini destination wedding also meant lots of lists: packing lists for each bin, check off sheets for what to take and when, more lists of tasks, lists of who was doing this or doing that … my beloved made many a mention of this being his first wedding event with excel spreadsheets!

First kiss!

Meeting our spiritual needs was another challenge. My family and myself are a bit Jewish, a bit Pagan and a bit different from mainstream. His family is Lutheran and VERY mainstream. Working on an event that would not only include these people who helped make us who we are today, but also be inoffensive to all was a ton of work. It took a lot of talking, discussing, compromising, and learning in order to understand root beliefs and issues so that we could decide what to keep and what to toss.

Our budget was trimmed and expanded as we learned more about what we felt was most important to each of us. By researching our motivations, we were able to trim down to the important bits in all areas.

First thumb war!

My favorite moment: I have several special moments from our ceremony. From the opening blessing, community vows, candle lighting for those not in attendance, swordfasting, handfasting, family bonding, personal vows and ring exchange, the entire wedding ceremony was filled with love, spirituality, and humor. When we grasped hands for our handfasting (read by our officiant, and tied by his mom who's been married for forty years) we did a thumb war — and for the first and only time — he let me win!

My next favorite moment was our procession. As I walked up to my Dad in his wheelchair with tears brimming, my dad reached down and squeezed the ear of this stuffed chihuahua strapped to his leg. This creature began to loudly and voraciously hump his leg. With a huge belly laugh my tears disappeared and my Dad, brother, and I walked, laughed, and rolled up the aisle together.

Later that night, wandering the venue as I watched our friends and family tear up the dance floor, make s'mores at the bonfire, and play video games, I felt content that we had indeed created a wonderful supportive village to usher in our public commitment of love and marriage.

Bride
Beautiful bride, haunted mirror.

My advice for other offbeat brides: Strip away all those things you've always been told a wedding is, or what a wedding should be. Sit down together with your fiance and figure out what is important to each of you as individuals. Go beyond the obvious and really look at WHY certain aspects or things feel important. From there you can begin to re-build these needs into a wedding that means the most to both of you as individuals and as a couple. Be open to inspiration in all forms — whether from your heart, your intended, or a kid at the park. Amazing ideas have come from just being open to new ideas.

Celtic-Klingon-Army Ranger Groom.
Celtic-Klingon-Army Ranger Groom.

Be prepared for lack of perfection, and know when to let go. No day is perfect (just stand backstage at any production and you'll understand the underlying chaos) and despite what you may hear, it's not going to be perfect on your wedding day. If the flowers aren't the perfect shade of yellow, it's okay. If the music doesn't start on cue, it's okay. If something got left behind, oh well. At some point in your event preparation you will need to pass the reigns and let go. Choose someone, or several someones, that you can trust and pass those lists over and just enjoy being yourself for the rest of the day. The important thing is to enjoy your people, your commitment and the party you have planned for so long. Just be in the moment and enjoy!

Care to share a few vendor/shopping links?:

  • Photographer – Rick at Dry Heat Photography in the Albuquerque area was awesome, and got us completely.
  • Shaffer Hotel– Very kind, helpful, and happy people work here! Renting out the entire hotel was a perfect way to spend our wedding weekend with those we love.
  • Save on Crafts – for crafty bits to decorate people, places and things with a huge discount and with great customer service.
  • Kate, the stitch bitch at 7th Goddess – is an amazing costumer and corsetier.
  • Costco – is a great resource for bulk items like plates, plasticware, and even food if needed.
  • By looking at local and online discount shops like Dollar General you can save loads of money on those miscellaneous bits.

Enough talk — show me the wedding porn!:

  1. I was blessed to be a part of the wedding party…ad I can honestly say, THIS WAS THE BEST WEDDING EVER!!!!!!

  2. OMG! I just realized I forgot to mention our photographer! Rick at Dry Heat Photography in the Albuquerque area was awesome, and got us completely. He worked hard to get a nice mix of my photojournalistic style and my husband's more traditional wedding photo style. When my friends come across him out and about town, he remembers what costume they were wearing more than a year after the event. Another note on Rick, he and his wife are so professional in their work, that they didn't let us know it was their anniversary too until later; so we share our date with a very nice couple 😉

    Our photostream is a mix of his photos and those of our talented amateur family members.
    http://www.dryheatphotography.com/

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.