31 Ways to Have a Spooktastic Halloween-Inspired Wedding

Hello goblins, ghouls, witches, and warlocks! As we approach Halloween, what better time to explore ways of incorporating spooky and eerie Halloween elements into your wedding? In this week’s post, we’ll cover 31 ways to spook-up your ambiance, attire, décor, florals, food, and themes!

🖤🧡🍬🦇🎃👻🕷️🍭🧡🖤

1. Bat Napkin Fold

If you planned for black napkins, don’t miss the opportunity to fold into a simple bat design. This is a free way to take what you already have and infuse your theme into the small details.

Image Credit: The House of Elyn Ryn

2. Bonfire

Hubby and I did a bonfire with s’mores bar at our rehearsal dinner, and it was one of my favorite parts of the wedding weekend. I’ve been seeing more photos online recently of couples that did a bonfire on their actual wedding night. Just magical.

Image Credit: Nicole Aston Photography

3. Bottle of “Boos”

If your wedding is going to have family-style wine bottles on each table, you could print “Bottle of Boos” (read: “Booze”) labels and glue them over the existing labels on the bottles. Or you could think of another clever saying, one for red and one for white wine (perhaps “blood” and “bile”).

Image Credit: Country Living

4. Candelabras

Nothing is more romantic than candlelight. Candelabras allow you to have several candles in each stand, providing more light than traditional singular candles. Imagine dimming the lights even more and dining by candelabra candlelight.

Image Credit: Jayd Gardina Photography

5. Candle Sticks

I recently discovered dripless candlesticks, which are great for your home parties to maintain a clean look, but for a spooky look you should 100% go with the drip kind – and opt for something with colors. For example, if your uplighting is purple, then go for a purple candlestick. Pull your colors through every small detail.

Image Credit: Style Me Pretty

6. Candy Apple Bar

You won’t be bobbing for apples at this wedding! Set up a dessert bar with apples that guests can dip in red candy, chocolate, caramel, or even marshmallow fluff. Then have bowls with an assortment of toppings such as nuts, chocolates, sea salt, etc. This is a fresh take on a candy favor, while being interactive, custom, and really freakin’ tasty!

Image Credit: Lindorelli

7. Candy Bar Venetian Hour

I love a candy bar and feel edible favors are the best kind. Your guests will leave your wedding (or after-party) with a sweet tooth and be so thankful for the treats. Especially for a Halloween-themed wedding, you must have a sendoff that includes candy!

Image Credit: Spooky Little Halloween

8. Dark Bridesmaid Dresses

I see the bridesmaids dresses in either a heavier material such as velvet, or in a lighter silky material with a little shine to it. Keep to dark shades of black, purple, red, green, or blue for just the moody look your girls need.

Image Credit: Erin Morrison Photography

9. Day of the Dead Cake Topper

Day of the Dead is a Mexican holiday that begins on October 31st. The purpose is to meet with family and friends to remember those that have departed our realm. You could plan your very own Día de los Muertos for your October 31st wedding. Instead of having a dark and moody event, it would rather be more colorful, and the fun exception could be a face painting bar.

Image Credit: Top Topper Shop on Etsy

10. Deep Red, Purple, and Black Hues

As mentioned above in the bridesmaid dress section, dark hues are the way to go for a moody spooky Halloween wedding, but don’t stop with the dresses – think about tablecloth linens, napkins, and florals.

Image Credit: Faire la Fête Linen Rentals

11. Dry Ice Signature Drink

Similar to the fog machine for the room (#14 below), dry ice added to your signature drink will add an eerie element and elevate your bar. Also consider picking a drink that is tinted dark red. It will look like boiling blood!

Image Credit: Becky the Cookie Rookie

12. Dyed Red White Chocolate Fountain

And while we’re on the blood train, just add some red dye to your white chocolate fountain, and everything you dip in will be blood covered. How terrifyingly on theme! Try to go for natural dye options instead of food coloring, and if you wanted to avoid artificial dyes altogether then you could opt to use ruby chocolate with a bit of natural dye to make it red instead of pink.

Image Credit: Arts, Crafts and DIY Projects

13. Floral Branches

Instead of fresh lively florals, you could opt for a chic bare dead branches look. Light florals could be attached to the branches, or hanging candles can dangle, or they can be totally bare and painted.

Image Credit: BestWeddingThemes.top

14. Fog Machine

Fog can either look like angelic heavenly clouds, or a creepy graveyard. If the rest of your aesthetic was light and bright, then you are in heaven, but if the rest of your aesthetic is dark and moody, then you will get your eerie look.

Image Credit: Wedding Chicks

15. Halloween Costumes

You could take an October 31st wedding very literally and ask all guests to come in costume. You could put a theme on it, like an 80’s wedding, or it can be everyone coming in something unique and different.

Image Credit: Artful Photography

16. Horror Movie Photo Booth Cutouts

Who doesn’t love a good photo booth? Instead of using the typical props the booth comes with, go online and order a set of horror movie props and add them in. Guests who are into scary movies will absolutely love it!

Image Credit: Paper and Cake

17. Influence From Your Favorite Creepy Movie

Whether your favorite is Beetlejuice, The Addams Family, Hocus Pocus, The Nightmare Before Christmas, Corpse Bride, Halloweentown, or elsewise, you can add in elements of that movie into your especially spooky day.

Image Credit: Gothic Genre Instagram

18. Masquerade Ball

*gushes as I write* Is it just me, or does everyone also fantasize about going to a masquerade ball at least once in their life? I would LOVE to attend a ball where either we were informed in advance to bring our own unique masks, or the couple provided masks at the welcome table before entering the party.

Image Credit: HappyWedd.com

19. Nighttime Ceremony

If you don’t mind partying til the wee hours of the morning, then bump your whole schedule back and start your day with an evening ceremony. Be sure to keep an eye on the full moon schedule, and light all the candles to complete the look.

Image Credit: The One Agency

20. Non-White Wedding Dress

Yes, the tradition is a pure white wedding dress. However, designers are starting to give us off-white, pink, purple, beige, blue, and ombre color effect dresses, and I am here for all these gorgeous options.

Image Credit: MatrimonyPrep.com

21. Officiant Spell Book

Your officiant will most likely hold some kind of book or binder so they can reference wording and not miss a beat. But why does that book or binder have to be hideous? Create a unique “spell” book to add an unexpected element of magic to the nuptials.

Image Credit: HomeIdeas.co

22. Pumpkin Florals

What’s more October or Halloween than pumpkins? There are literally hundreds of ways to incorporate pumpkins into your day. Think centerpieces, table numbers, lining the aisle or staircases, and so on.

Image Credit: Scarlette Blog

23. Red Velvet Cake

Even if it’s your favorite flavor, red velvet is not a common wedding cake flavor because it is so dark and can show through certain icings if the icing is applied too thin. But for your Halloween wedding, it’s bloody perfect, so go for the red, and don’t forget that black velvet cake is also an option!

Image Credit: Molly Lichten Photography

24. Skull Accents

Without getting too kitschy, and adding in too many props that look like fake bones, pick a few spots where you can place some bones. In my opinion, less is more here though. There are some great ideas online for bedazzling with gemstones or opening the top to fit a candle.

Image Credit: O Meu Olhar Para Tu Veres

25. Smoke Bomb

The sole purpose for spoke bombs is for photography with a few people. I wouldn’t plan to give everyone at your wedding a smoke bomb, because the whole area will turn into a dark puff of color. Instead, pull yourself and your spouse or bridal party aside and take some small group shots. The smoke comes in literally every color.

Image Credit: David’s Bridal Instagram

26. Spider Napkin Rings

If you are opting for napkin rings instead of a fancy napkin fold, then consider purchasing fun napkin ring holders. These spiders are an option, or you could go for something else that matches your particular look.

Image Credit: XAAZA Style

27. “Til Death Do Us Part” Signage

You can go literal “til death do us part,” or you can have a little play on words and say “till death do us party.” I have seen both used on welcome signs, programs, bar signage, etc.

Image Credit: Pop Sugar

28. Topsy Turvy or Asymmetric Cake

This is an example of a topsy=turvy upside down wedding cake. You could also go with a traditional tower cake where the large tier is on the bottom and small on top, but ask for the tiers to be asymmetric and at unique angles. Your baker will have a field day with the cake.

Image Credit: Wedding Chicks

29. Uplighting and Pin Lighting

Uplighting and pin lighting totally transform the look of your venue room with the flip of a switch. Shades of red and purple will provide the most Halloween feel to the space, and it is the most affordable way to change the room on a dime.

Image Credit: United With Love

30. Wax Seal Stationary

You can order a whole slew of custom seals online or purchase prefab ones such as a skull or heart. You will pay for the stamp itself and the wax, then it’s your time to actually do this DIY project and seal the envelopes. But what a nice first impression it makes!

Image Credit: Penn & Paperie

31. Wicked Affair Invitation

Don’t miss the opportunity to let guests know as soon as possible that your wedding will be the most fun wedding of the year. Begin teasing your spooky night right from the beginning with invitation wording.

Image Credit: Glitter ‘n’ Spice

🖤🧡🍬🦇🎃👻🕷️🍭🧡🖤

And there you have it, a comprehensive list of 31 things you could do to bring a little Halloween spook into your special day. And if you are possibly too far along in the planning process, already got married, or are not getting married and just LOVE HALLOWEEN, then feel free to plan a general Halloween Bash using the tips above. Most (except wedding dress) are transferable to non-marital parties. I hope you enjoyed this list – and have the most fun planning!

DISCLAIMER: Any brands listed above are not sponsors.

Types of Wedding Venues

After you’ve decided your wedding budget and guest list, the next most important thing to investigate is wedding venues—and there are many options when it comes to venues. It’s easy to become overwhelmed when you start your search and realize so many places can host your big day. In this post, we’ll discuss everything from obvious options such as halls and hotels to more unique options such as aquariums and theaters. The type of venue you pick will change the whole mood and aesthetic of your wedding, so choose wisely and make sure it’s your dream spot.

Beach

You don’t have to be in the Caribbean to get married on a beach. It’s warm enough year-round in the southern United States to have a beach wedding. Or if you live in the north, you can still have a beach wedding from April through October. Hubby and I actually come from Florida and relocated to New York City, so the beach was our second home growing up, and we decided to go for a beach wedding ceremony. The best part is that you don’t need much decoration, and you have the beautiful sound of the waves. Beware of wind though… my veil went for a ride!

Botanical Garden

Nothing in Spring may be more beautiful than a botanical garden! With all the flowers in bloom, you are bound to capture endless stunning photos as if you are in your own secret garden. You would definitely save on decorative florals, as your venue naturally comes with an abundance of backdrop plants. Allergies aside, it would smell divine.

Castle

Reading this in the United States, you may not think that we even have castles except Cinderella’s… but think again. I recently posted about a ceremony venue castle in Central Park, NYC, and there are many northern options for castles. If the Cinderella ballgown princess vibe is what you want, it’s not out of reach.

Community Center

A possibly more affordable option would be a local community center. This could be a gymnasium, a firehouse hall, or a large room in a multi-purpose community center facility. You may have to rent the furniture if the space comes bare, but the good thing about this is that you can totally customize what you rent. Or if your space comes with all of the furniture, you would save a bundle! In most community center scenarios, you will have to hire a caterer, but the center will usually have a kitchen space for them to work from.

Photo Credit: Lakeside Community Center

Country Club

An existing country club member may receive a discount because they already pay annual fees to be a member, whereas the non-member would pay a higher fee to use the private club’s space. So whether your family belongs to a country club, or not, this option isn’t as exclusive and out of reach as you may have thought.

Photo Credit: Here Comes The Guide @ Silver Lake Country Club

Cruise Ship

You have two options when it comes to cruise ship weddings. You can actually have a wedding ceremony on board the boat before it departs the origin port. Then guests who don’t want to go on vacation after the wedding just depart the ship and forego the reception. Guests who plan to vacation with you stay on board for the reception. This may cut costs for the couple, because there will be less people to feed. Or you can do your wedding on the boat while at sea, and whoever wanted to go on the vacation gets to share in your big day. The cruise ship will probably organize a group rate, private dinner, flowers, photography, and literally everything in a one-stop-shop package.

Photo Credit: Disney Wedding Podcast

Estate

Large beautiful homes are a gorgeous backdrop for weddings. I will caveat that statement with the fact that a lot of estates will only allow the house to serve as a backdrop, but not actually allow you inside. That would mean you are having a large tented wedding, and possibly renting in your own trailer bathrooms. The benefits to this option are that the space would be private, you wouldn’t be sharing the venue with any other events for the day, and you would have freedom to do things, like bring your own alcohol, that venues with caterers wouldn’t allow. Bear in mind that there may be separate “rules of the house” that the estate owners would want you to adhere to. Read your contracts thoroughly.

Farm/Barn

The rural country bride’s dream wedding has become increasingly popular over the years, and now you can find barns all over the country that serve as wedding venues. Whether the barn was rustic (non-renovated), a renovated older barn, or a new-build barn, you would have have a different venue, so ask lots of questions. Factors to consider are air conditioning, catering, bathrooms, and dirt.

Photo Credit: Wayfaring Wanderer Boone NC Photographer @ Overlook Barn

Forest

Getting married in a forest is a dreamy venue. I’m going to go totally nerdy on you, but I always think of the Lord of the Rings character Galadriel from the Lothlórien when I think of forest weddings. Total fairy ethereal aesthetic can be found in a forest, and I am all for this. Hubby and I almost chose a forest wedding for our nuptials.

Golf Course

Fore! Golf and extreme manicured grass enthusiasts will love a golf course wedding venue. Golf venues could be outside, tented, in a large pavilion on the property, or in the clubhouse. Golf cart and golfing photos would be adorable. If you love to golf, then don’t forget to ask about a group rate to hold a round of golf. Maybe an activity for just the bridal party to capture awesome pics, or maybe an in-between ceremony and reception full wedding guest-list activity. This would give the couple time to escape and take their own romantic just-married pics with one photographer while the second stays behind and captures family and friends enjoying themselves.

Photo Credit: Slowmotiongolfswing.com

Hall

Wedding and special event halls are very common up north. The sole purpose of the property is to house events. A large hall will have multiple event spaces inside and host possibly more than one event per day. You are usually greeted with valet parking, followed by a multi-room affair with ceremony, cocktail hour, and reception taking place in three separate spaces. If you have many guests from out of town, you may have to organize transportation to and from a nearby hotel block room.

Hotel

The one-stop-shop! Hubby and I chose to get married in a hotel, because half of our wedding guests were from out of town. This is the most convenient option for weddings like ours where lots of out-of-towners will need to stay at a hotel and would have to pay for transportation to and from another venue. We booked our rehearsal dinner, beach-side ceremony, cocktail hour, reception, next-day brunch, and hotel room blocks all through the one hotel. The more you bundle, the higher chance you have to receive a break on the price. Never hurts to ask! Also, if getting ready, ceremony, and reception are all in the same place, then the whole bridal party and couple also save on not having to book transportation. A win/win!

Photo Credit: Historic Hotel Bethlehem

Museum/Library

If you love art or books, then let your passions drive your venue. Museums and art galleries will sometimes have changing exhibits, so ensure you know what is scheduled to be on showcase during your wedding day. You wouldn’t want it to clash with your color palette or be something super modern when your wedding is supposed to have a traditional vibe, for example. A beautiful large library room is ever so “tale as old as time.” Be the Belle of the ball in your own Beauty and the Beast inspired wedding. I’m seeing centerpieces of small stacks of books with a mix of tall and short florals. Stunning. You will likely have to work around the hours of these venues and be limited to when they close for the evening.

Photo Credit: Ruffledblog @ Fernbank Museum

Park

Your local municipality’s Parks Department may allow weddings to take place on their public property, but permits will likely be needed to use the space. In New York City, you will need a permit to hold a ceremony or reception on park land. Parks Departments may be strict on tenting or additional décor you want to bring on site, so be sure to read their FAQ pages and the contract prior to booking.

Place of Worship

Ceremonies are not the only thing a place of worship can host. If your church/synagogue/mosque/etc. has a large roomed space, ask if they ever rent it out for events. For example, if your church had an outdoor space large enough for a ceremony, then an indoor building where they can clear the chairs and host events, you can utilize both spaces. Or perhaps up north your church has a basement that can be used to hold the reception. Get creative here. You can save a bundle by hosting your whole wedding itinerary in one location.

Photo Credit: The Old Church

Private Home

If someone in your family owns a large property, you have found yourself a free wedding venue! This will be the most affordable. You will have to probably rent the tent, tables, and chairs, but your caterer can use the existing kitchen to cook, and you can have guests use the indoor bathrooms (so no bathroom rentals). Or you can find a private property on a site like AirBNB, where you can filter for “suitable for events.” This will allow you to find mansions where you can rent the whole property for a few hundred dollars a night. Allow your full bridal party and immediate family to sleepover for the weekend, and invite everyone to celebrate the ceremony and reception on the property.

Photo Credit: Brides of Oklahoma

Restaurant

Some restaurants have party rooms, while others will allow you to buy them out for the evening and you have the whole space to yourselves. It depends on the restaurant. Guests can either order whatever they want off the menu or do a set menu.

Photo Credit: Lafayette

Rooftop

Rooftop cocktail parties in lieu of stuffy sit-down traditional receptions are a new trend that I am here for. Hubby and I ALMOST booked a rooftop cocktail reception, and in the end caved and went the traditional hotel route. Although our wedding was awesome, I do sort of regret the choice because it would have been so unique, a stand-out affair. The rooftop venue we looked at had a ton of sofa lounge furniture and large cocktail buffet grazing tables in the indoor section, cabanas with low tables and fire pits outdoors, multiple bars, and a big dance floor. I have that one in my back pocket for a future event.

Photo Credit: The Loft at Prince

Theater

Movie theaters as well as Broadway-style theaters are unique options for events! You could do the wedding in the theater where guests sit in the chairs, bride walks up the aisle onto the stage (in front of the dropped curtain) for the ceremony. Then after the ceremony they raise the curtain and reveal a seated reception ready and waiting for guests on the stage. Sometimes the theater hosts the event in the lobby. So many options here. Theatre buffs, or people who want to WOW your guests, really consider this one. Also ask if you can use the front marquis to put your name in lights! Just imagine the photos!

Photo Credit: Jess + Nate Studios @ Fox Theatre Detroit

Theme Park

I’ve written a post on Florida Disney wedding venues, but there are many theme parks around the world that would allow you to host an event on their property. Just like libraries and museums, you will likely have to hold your event in off-hours, before the parks opens or after the park closes.

Photo Credit: Disney Weddings

Vineyard/Orchard

Wine fanatics, this is the spot for you! This type of venue is seasonal. Consider a wedding when the grapes are still on the vine for more beautiful pictures. Some wineries even do mini bottles with custom event-specific bottle labels. What a great favor!

Photo Credit: Presqu’ile Winery

Yacht

Imagine going out for a dinner cruise with all your closest family and friends. A sunset ceremony on the water followed by dinner and dancing as the evening went on. In NYC, there are several boats that ride around Manhattan to give you panoramic views of the city skyline as you dance the night away. Smaller boats are available to be rented out by one party for the evening. Larger boats may be able to support a separate event on each floor of the yacht.

Photo Credit: Water Fantaseas

Zoo/Aquarium

You are at your aquarium wedding about to seal the wedding promise with a kiss, and you are beautifully photobombed by a school of fish. Now that’s a photobomb I can live with. Large aquariums and zoos have spaces to be near to the animals during all elements of the day. The photos would be adorable, and minimal décor would be needed as your guests are immersed into an almost interactive experience where the walls move and everywhere they look they are mesmerized by the scenery.

Photo Credit: Carrie Wildes Photography


Now that you’re more knowledgeable on wedding venue options and have maybe narrowed down your preferences, you can start searching in whatever town you want, near or far, for that specific type of venue. The narrowed-down search will save you time from skimming through dozens of venues that don’t meet your needs. Happy planning!

If you can think of other venues that we may have missed, feel free to write them in the comments below!

DISCLAIMER: Any brands listed above are not sponsors.

Belvedere Castle in Central Park NYC

Living in the concrete jungle and dreaming of getting married in a castle? Wales may have the greatest number of castles per square mile in the world, but you don’t have to go to the UK for this dream to come true. If you live in New York City, you have a castle right in your backyard—well, Central Park’s backyard: Belvedere Castle. In this post, we’ll be discussing the history of the Belvedere, its location in the park, a newly completed multi-million dollar renovation, and how to book.

🏰 🏰 🏰

The History of Central Park

We wouldn’t have the world-renowned Central Park we have today if it wasn’t for Calvert Vaux and Frederick Law Olmsted. In 1857, Vaux suggested that New York City hold a contest to design a large centralized park in the middle of the city. At the time, Olmsted was the Parks superintendent, and Vaux persuaded him to help create a design plan named “The Greensward Plan.” Their plan for a park with green spaces—as well as separated paths for carriages, horseback riders, and pedestrians—was a new concept. Vaux designed scenic bridges and underpasses that would alleviate collisions, which helped their joint plan win first place! Later that year, construction began, with most work being completed between 1860 and 1873. Today, the park is a whopping 840 acres and a gem in the heart of New York City.

Photo Credit: airpano.com

The History of Belvedere Castle

Belvedere Castle was built from 1867 to 1869 and sits atop Vista Rock, which is the second-highest peak in the park. The terrace, pavilion, and miniature castle overlook the Great Lawn, Turtle Pond, and Delacorte Theater to the north, and the Ramble to the south. From the highest lookout, you have a bird’s-eye-view over the tree line to the towering buildings lining Central Park West, Fifth Avenue, and 59th Street. The castle is aptly named, as “Belvedere” means “beautiful view” in Italian.

The structure was designed as an open-air folly, to be purely ornamental and serve no purpose except for passerby enjoyment. However, in time, New York City had thought of a new purpose for the structure. Ever checked the weather in NYC and noticed Central Park is one of the listed locations? That’s because in 1919 the U.S. Weather Bureau transformed the castle into a weather station by adding scientific instruments such as anemometers, thermometers, and antennas. They also altered the original design by adding windows and doors to the previously open-air structure. Rainfall was also monitored just south of the castle.

Belvedere Castle was vacated in the early 1960s, and that began its fall from its heyday. Due to underuse, the castle fell into disrepair and unfortunately became victim to a disgusting display of vandalism.

The Rebirth

In 1980, the Central Park Conservancy was formed, and in 1983 they began a major restoration on Belvedere by removing graffiti and rebuilding the pavilions. Belvedere had its rebirth as it reopened as a visitor center and gift shop.

Then, in 2016, the Conservancy had a proposal for a $12 million renovation to the castle that would “address drainage, waterproofing, and climate control systems, along with deterioration that has occurred over the last 35 years.” Basically, the castle is going to be the most beautiful, perfect, and up-to-date it has ever been! In March 2018, those plans went into effect when Belvedere closed for a long overdue 15-month renovation. The castle just reopened to the public on Friday, June 28th, 2019, and it remains one of five visitor centers in the park.

During the work, contractors dug 400 feet deep into Vista Rock to add a minimally-visible, zero-emission, energy-efficient geothermal system for cooling and heating of the castle’s interior. Architects went back to Belvedere’s roots with a clear pane window design that evokes the original open-air look. This feature serves not only its function by keeping the new cooling and heating systems from working into overtime, but also its beauty because in the years prior to the renovation the windows were obnoxiously obstructed with bars and shutters.

Then all of the stonework was redone by rebuilding the walls enclosing the terraces; repaving the terraces with new bluestone pavers, appropriately positioning them in the historic and beautiful checkered design; and cleaning and repairing the interior stonework. A long-gone wooden tower that had originally (150 years ago) decorated the top of the pavilion on the northwest corner and balanced out the structure was also rebuilt. And for the first time in the castle’s history, it was illuminated. This is, by far, my favorite restoration, as it makes such a big impact on the evening look of the castle and allows visitors to see the castle from other vantage points within the park.

Photo Credit: Zach Nelson

This video sums up perfectly the scope of work and detail that went into the restoration:

Video Credit: Central Park Conservancy

Discovery

If you were interested in checking out this venue on a tour, the Central Park Conservancy hosts two public tours: the Belvedere: Beautiful View Tour and the Discovery Walks for Families: Turtle Pond Tree Walk.

Or, you can visit on your own in the Summer (June 7th to August 9th) from 9:00 am to 7:00 pm, and Fall, Winter, and Spring from 10:00 am to 5:00 pm. Keep in mind that the castle is closed on Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s Day.

Or, if you are reading this on a rainy day and just can’t wait to get out there, check out these 360-degree views by dragging the video below:

Video Credit: Central Park Conservancy

Paperwork

Being that this venue is located within a City of New York park, the castle is actually public space. Your certified wedding planner will need to apply for a Special Events permit with the NYC Parks Manhattan Borough Office if 20 or more people will be in attendance. The permit takes 30 days to process, so ensure that you are ahead of deadlines in case there are any hiccups.

As to not distract from the park’s already spectacular scenery, the permit prohibits decorations, although handheld chuppahs are allowed. It also prohibits amplified sound, but you can get around that with acoustic music which is acceptable. Applicants must apply online here. There is a $25 non-refundable application fee, payable by credit or debit card via the online application. NYC Parks has a handy one-pager on their website.

This venue can accommodate a ceremony but not a reception. Nevertheless, you could still have the most spectacular day with an early ceremony in the park. Follow that with a few hours of couple and family photos in the most scenic and historic park in NYC. Then you could make your way to one of the park’s few restaurants or venues that could host your reception (Tavern on the Green, the Loeb Boathouse, or the Central Park Zoo), or you could leave the park entirely and head to a local reception hall or hotel to meet guests.


The romantic beauty of Belvedere Castle is undeniable. The history of the castle and the rebirths it has gone through over the past 150 years are remarkable. The site changed from a park building to an official weather station, to an abandoned structure, to a welcome center and gift shop, and now (after its most recent renovation) it has been brought back to a modern state of its original prime. This site receives approximately one million visitors each year and plays matrimonial host to proposals and wedding ceremonies, bringing joy and wonder to all who experience it.

DISCLAIMER: Any brands listed above are not sponsors.

Picking the Perfect Wedding Dress

Once you’re engaged, the “Great Pinterest Hunt” begins for the perfect dress… but where to start? You end up liking parts of this dress and other parts of that dress, so you Pin them both. While you’re still having difficulty nailing down exactly what style and cut you like, your Pinterest board quickly begins to look like a hodgepodge of all the white dresses you can find. And when your Pinning frenzy ends, you still can’t make heads or tails of the results.

Well, take a break from all those Pins and read on to learn about dress silhouettes and necklines. Once you nail down the options available for neckline (top of the dress) and silhouette (bottom of the dress), you’ll be able to narrow down your internet searches and find the perfect dress.

It’s a lot of pressure to find “the one” dress that is supposed to make everyone cry of happiness, and TV shows like TLC’s “Say Yes to the Dress” at Kleinfeld’s amp up the pressure. Sure, every now and then they have a bride leave the store empty-handed, but nearly every episode ends with the bride making a purchase. I’d like to begin by saying that leaving the store having picked your dress on day one is the stuff of fairytales. I did NOT find my dress at the first store I went into. I live in New York City, a fashion design and bridal mecca, and I visited four stores before I found the perfect dress. For my entire life, I envisioned I would wear a ballgown. Lo and behold, they looked awful on me! I was swallowed up by every single one that I tried on. It took four stores and pushing myself out of my mental comfort zone before I realized my body looked best in a fit and flare. It was at that moment I realized the best way to find your perfect dress is to understand your body type and style.

Silhouettes

A-Line

This silhouette name comes from the A-shape the dress provides on your body as it creates a fitted bodice, a cinch across your waist, and a fuller skirt. The A-Line is versatile, not quite as full as a ballgown but fuller than the other cuts, can be cut into most fabrics, and handles embellishments such as beading and embroidery with ease.

Photo Credit: Kleinfeld’s Bridal

Ball Gown

I am sure everyone has heard of the ballgown dress cut by now. But if you are unsure, think back to Cinderella’s blue dress with a full skirt. This dreamy fairytale look will give any bride the princess vibe. Typically, the bodice of this dress is sleek, with a defined waist and a full skirt hiding the hips and belly. Those factors make the ballgown extremely flattering for many different body types.

Photo Credit: Kleinfeld’s Bridal

Dropped Waist

As funny as it sounds, the dropped waist is to wedding dresses what the mullet is to haircuts: it’s a fitted top through right below the waistline, then a flare from just around the hip area. The dropped waist is for the bride that wants to show off their figure but also wants a full skirt. The best of both worlds (so maybe it’s not like a mullet then haha).

Photo Credit: Kleinfeld’s Bridal

Empire

The bodice of the empire ends right under the breasts, and the skirt begins to flow down from there, covering the waist and hips. Although this dress does not provide you with a very feminine waist-hugging shape, it is forgiving and provides you with a lean and tall shape.

Photo Credit: David’s Bridal

Fit and Flare / Trumpet

A sexy cut, but not as dramatic as the mermaid, the fit and flare hugs the body until the skirt begins to open up mid thigh. You achieve a little derrière attention, without it being the star of the show. As I mentioned above, this was the cut I chose because I was finally able to see my body.

Photo Credit: Kleinfeld’s Bridal

Mermaid

Here comes the sexy siren! The form fitted bodice, waist, hips and bum lead to a puff of skirt from the knee down, imitating a mermaid’s tail. The mermaid is the most bootiliscious dress there is! If you are petite, consider that you won’t be able to hem the dress from the bottom; you may have to shorten before the mermaid tail, and that could potentially change the look of the dress if it was beaded or embellished.

Photo Credit: Kleinfeld’s Bridal

Sheath

This cut is very form-fitted and hugs the body at its every curve, from bodice to a straight drape down from the knee. I see this style worn often for beach ceremonies. This dress is lighter weight and won’t be as affected by sand or wind. Sheath gowns are also excellent options for petite and slender brides who don’t want to be swallowed up in their dress.

Photo Credit: Kleinfeld’s Bridal

Tea Length

A very 50’s inspired dress is the shortened tea length that ends the hemline mid-calf or at the ankles. This style may work for a daytime wedding, a themed wedding, or if your style is a little retro.

Photo Credit: David’s Bridal

Necklines

Bateau / Boat

This shape follows parallel to your shoulders, cutting slightly rounded but almost straight across, showing less of the décolletage (the upper chest where the collarbones appear). Due to the semi-straight high line, it is often seen as a modest cut.

Photo Credit: Kleinfeld’s Bridal

Cowl

This cut has the most fabric because there is a draping layer that hangs over or above the bust.

Photo Credit: Nordstrom

Crew

Also known as the T-shirt neckline, due to its similarity to an actual crew T-shirt, the crew neckline is round and sits at the base of the throat.

Photo Credit: Kleinfeld’s Bridal

Halter

A halter style wraps around the neck, leaving the shoulder and back bare. This style is practical for women with a larger bust, as it helps to hold in “the girls.”

Photo Credit: Kleinfeld’s Bridal

High Neck

A modern high neck style narrows at the neck in the front and back of the dress leaving only the shoulders bare. Meghan Markle’s second wedding dress that she went to the party in was a high neck cut. Older or more traditional full coverage high necks will look more Victorian with a high neck fabric and full sleeves.

Photo Credit: Kleinfeld’s Bridal

Illusion

A sheer fabric with embellishments on top creates an illusion of bare skin with floating designs. This style is very chic. Illusion necklines can be seen in the front as well as the back of the dress and can be sleeveless or have long sleeves. You can also find a sheer illusion top with no design, which creates a classy look and provides support without the heaviness of a full fabric top.

Photo Credit: Kleinfeld’s Bridal

Keyhole

A pear or marquis shape cut into any neckline creates a keyhole effect neckline.

Photo Credit: David’s Bridal

Jewel

The jewel neckline is similar to the crew, except the round scoop sits below the collar bones.

Photo Credit: Kleinfeld’s Bridal

Off-the-Shoulder

Like the name, this neckline sits just below the shoulders to showcase the décolletage. Sleeves typically drape over the upper arm. Off-the-shoulder necklines make for stunning bridal portraits and are flattering on nearly all body types.

Photo Credit: Kleinfeld’s Bridal

One Shoulder / Asymmetric

A one shoulder can range from a strap on top of your collarbone to a strap draping on the arm like the off-the-shoulder style. The asymmetric style is a little edgy and modern.

Photo Credit: Kleinfeld’s Bridal

Plunging

The deepest of the V-shaped necklines is the plunge. Get your sticky tape ready, my friends, because there are few undergarments that can work with this cut! No matter the size of your “girls,” you will most likely be taping the front in place to have piece of mind. That being said, it is very sexy.

Photo Credit: Kleinfeld’s Bridal

Queen Anne

The Queen Anne is a sweetheart with straight lines up and around the neck and usually has some degree of sleeve. If you think of the pointed bottom of a tie, that is the shape the neckline creates on this cut.

Photo Credit: Kleinfeld’s Bridal

Scoop

The scoop, a U-shaped neckline, is a universally flattering classic. It can be cut low, and quite often the scoop will continue on the back of the dress. This is the most extreme and deep cut of the rounded necklines (crew, jewel, and scoop).

Photo Credit: Kleinfeld’s Bridal

Spaghetti Strap

A delicate strap that provides function to assist in holding up your dress can also be decorative. When I was looking for my own dress, I noticed several designers that bedazzled the spaghetti straps to look like a chain of crystals.

Photo Credit: Kleinfeld’s Bridal

Split / Notched

A split or notched neckline is a V-cut away from a rounded or straight neckline.

Photo Credit: Kleinfeld’s Bridal

Strapless / Straight

A strapless or straight neckline is one of the most popular styles, especially for brides with a larger bust. The straight-across square bodice gives you the strapless look with more support and coverage than deeper V-cuts such as sweetheart.

Photo Credit: Kleinfeld’s Bridal

Surplice

Surplice neckline is in the V-cut family but can be commonly found in wrap dresses where one layer of fabric crosses over the other at the front bust area.

Photo Credit: Kleinfeld’s Bridal

Sweetheart

The sweetheart—which is actually shaped like the top half of a heart—is a great option for brides with a fuller bust, because it accentuates the décolletage (like an off-the-shoulder neckline). The sweetheart is often designed with an overlay of sheer material that rises higher than the heart shape, making the neck and torso look longer.

Photo Credit: Kleinfeld’s Bridal

Square

A square neckline is straight across the chest with some degree of sleeve (cap, mid, or long), and the upper shape turns into a square.

Photo Credit: Kleinfeld’s Bridal

Turtle

Dresses can have turtlenecks too; they aren’t just reserved for sweaters. This is a very Victorian vibe with a modest and classy covered-up look.

Photo Credit: Kleinfeld’s Bridal

V-Neck

You guessed it—this neckline dips down in the front into the shape of a “V.” It draws the eye downward creating the illusion of length and is very flattering on petite and narrow frames but also on a larger bust when fitted properly.

Photo Credit: Kleinfeld’s Bridal


After reading about all the different silhouette and neckline options, you should have a better understanding of the elements that make up a wedding dress and what parts of those pinned dresses you fancy. In case you wanted to take it a bit farther, David’s Bridal has a wedding dress quiz that you can take to help further narrow down the dress options.

Happy shopping, Brides!

DISCLAIMER: Any brands listed above are not sponsors.

Men’s Suit Styles and Accessories – Part 2

This week’s post is for the grooms and was written by the Amarvelous Event “hubby” and guest-blogger, Mikael. Last month, we discussed men’s suit jackets and pants, plus a few important questions that need to be asked before the men in a wedding party can choose the style, formality, and colors of their outfits. Click here to read Men’s Suit Styles and Accessories – Part 1. This month, we’ll be covering the rest of the outfit and accessories that complete a man’s look on the most important day of his life: his shoes, belt, socks, dress shirt, tie or bowtie, and watch—plus others like his cummerbund or vest, handkerchief, cufflinks, shirt studs, tie bar, and suspenders.

Shoes

If you’re getting married on a beach in the sand, then you may be barefoot during the ceremony. Otherwise, you’ll most likely be wearing shoes at your wedding, and in most cases they will be the nicest pair that you own. This post will cover dress shoes only, so if you’re wearing cowboy boots, sneakers, or any other casual styles at your wedding, then scroll on down to the Belts section!

Selecting men’s dress shoes can get surprisingly complex. If you’re wearing a tuxedo or other formalwear, then you’ve got it easy, because patent leather is the most common way to go in those cases. Otherwise, you’ve got a few important decisions to make: Do you like closed lacing or open lacing? Do you prefer an oxford, a derby, or another style? Do you want cap-toe, plain-toe, or wing-tips? And more! The infographics below summarize the traditional dress shoe styles, colors, and matching to suits pretty well:

Source: Ties.com

While there are certain color and style combinations that are generally accepted, as seen above, a fashion-forward groom knows that you can choose a traditional dress shoe and change out the laces for a splash of color, or the dress shoe itself could be a unique color or design.

Whatever you pick, your shoes will be among the most visible parts of your outfit (more so than cufflinks, let’s say), and in some cases shoes are the first thing that people notice about a man, so although the sky’s the limit here, don’t take the decision too lightly.

Belts

The sky’s the limit here, too, but you’ll generally want to match your belt’s material and color to the material and color of your shoes, as well as your belt’s buckle metal to the metal of your cufflinks, shirt studs, tie bar, watch, and/or other metal accessories. It probably goes without saying, but you wouldn’t want to wear a brown belt with black shoes, or a silver-buckle belt with a gold watch.

Even more subtle, though, if you can match the exact grain, color, contrast, hue, and tone of leather between your belt and shoes, and if you can match the exact polish of the metal (meaning how shiny versus how brushed), then these are the small details that can make an outfit go from good to outstanding. Some high-end brands sell exactly-matching belts and shoes, but you also have the option of bringing your purchased shoes from store-to-store to compare them to prospective belts in person.

Some wedding suits do not require a belt: With certain tuxedos, for example, you may notice that your pants don’t even have belt loops, and in that case you may wear a cummerbund instead of a belt (important note for tuxes: if your pants do have belt loops and you are wearing patent-leather shoes, then try to get a patent-leather belt to match the shoes).

The Art of Manliness website has a comprehensive Guide to Men’s Belts here.

Socks

Here’s where we get funky. While it’s always acceptable to defer to the traditional solid-color, crew or knee-high dress socks, modern grooms are using this piece of the outfit to express their interests and fun side. You could have yourself and your groomsmen in different colors…

Source: Bold Socks

Or you could have the colors match another part of the outfit or match the bride and bridesmaids…

Or you could wear socks depicting your favorite superheros, sports teams, or another passion of yours…

At my own wedding, for example, I decided to be a huge nerd and wear matching Darth Vader socks and cufflinks, while my awesome and supportive groomsmen wore Stormtrooper socks.

Source: Dreamlife Photography

Believe it or not, socks are optional! While I sometimes think about that skit where the comedian makes fun of people who don’t wear socks with dress shoes (“What, are you never planning on wearing those shoes again?”), it is a conscientious but increasingly acceptable fashion choice to go with the sock-less look.

Shirts

In addition to the suit and the shoes, your shirt is going to be one of the most visible parts of your outfit, especially if you plan on taking off your jacket later in the evening to dance. While your socks allowed you plenty of creative freedom, there are some general shirt shape and cut tenets that should be followed for a clean and cohesive look: the collar, the buttons, the cuff, and the cut of the shirt generally change to match the formality of the event and the shape of your face but also your personal preference.

A tuxedo with a bowtie will allow the wing-tip collar, an altogether different type that only bends at the front in order to allow the bowtie fabric to show around the circumference of the neck. Note that a bowtie can also be worn with the other collar types however.

In the two images above, you can also see the pleated (left, above) and bib-front (right, above) shirt cuts on the chest, both of which are only really appropriate for a tuxedo or other formal suit. The stud-style buttons down the front and on the cuff are also visible on the above two images, though tuxedos do not require the shirt to have these features. The reason why shirt studs are a good option for tuxedos, though, is that wing collars should be worn with a bowtie only, leaving the chest exposed, while a necktie will cover the buttons on the chest. If you do have stud-style front and cuffs, then you now have the option of customizing the studs and cufflinks. Additionally, the above two shirts have French-cuff sleeves, which is required if you want to wear cufflinks.

A regular white dress shirt will have visible and sewn-in buttons on the chest and the cuff (left, below). However, for a more formal event like a wedding, you might opt for the hidden placket look (right, below), where the buttons are hidden below a layer of fabric.

You’ll also want to think about what fit of shirt looks best on your body type:

Source: Macy’s

And although all of the images above were white cotton shirts, various shades of off-white are also fairly common, and even colorful shirts are increasingly seen. Cotton, however, is still the tried and true fabric, but it is admittedly not the only option at your disposal either.

The white or off-white cotton shirt is probably the way to go, though, since there are plenty of other ways to get some color and personality into your outfit. One way, for example, is your tie or bowtie…

Ties and Bowties

Ties and bowties come in a dozen different materials (even non-fabrics) and millions of colors and patterns. Just make sure to choose a material, color, and pattern that match the rest of the outfit, the bridal party, or the theme of the wedding while also representing your own tastes.

You also have non-traditional options when it comes to bowties:

Setting colors and patterns aside for a moment, there are still a few basic rules regarding what type of tie to wear with each collar style…

Source: Tie a Tie

…as well as a few basic rules regarding how casual or formal, trendy or traditional, certain tie styles are…

Source: Tie a Tie

…and of course there are several ways to tie the knot:

Source: Ties.com

Watches

Your wedding day is going to fly by. Before you know it, you will be officially, legally married to the love of your life and heading up to your room, and your watch won’t be lying: it’s the end of the best day of your life. There’s not much to say in this section except that time is the most precious resource of all, so the watch that you wear on your wedding day should be meaningful to you or at least a watch that you love. On my own wedding day, I wore my father’s watch. If your watch’s band is leather like your shoes and belt, then you can try to match the color and grain for all three accessories, ensuring to also match the metal of the belt buckle to the watch’s metal frame.

Cummerbunds and Vests

Cummerbunds and vests are worn below your jacket but above your shirt. As mentioned under Belts, the cummerbund can take the place of the belt for formal suits like tuxedos, especially if the pants lack belt loops. Cummerbunds should be worn only if you are wearing a bowtie, not a long necktie, and the material should match your jacket lapel if possible. Unlike a cummerbund, a vest can be worn with a belt. You would not wear a vest and a cummerbund together however. Here’s a useful guide on when and how to wear cummerbunds.

Vests are also a great option to dress up or dress down your wedding. A three-piece suit (pants, jacket, and vest) can make a look more elegant, while a vest and pants combination, with no jacket, is a more casual look. You may choose to have the groom wear a full suit while the groomsmen wear only vests and no jackets, as the below photos show.

Handkerchiefs

Handkerchiefs are a subtle but necessary accessory for your wedding day. They can be worn in your jacket breast pocket or your vest breast pocket–either way, it’s strongly recommended that you wear one.

Source: Tie a Tie

Cufflinks, Shirt Studs, and Tie Bars

Cufflinks are worn on your wrist to hold together a French-cuff style sleeve cuff. They used to indicate that the event was formal, but because they come in a variety of novelty and funky designs now, they have started to become more common even in casual weddings. They are also an opportunity for a groom and his groomsmen to subtly wear a themed or fun matching outfit accessory that won’t be obvious to the larger wedding guest list without close observation.

If you opt for a more traditional cufflink and your shirt also has studs, then luckily those accessories can match to create a more cohesive look:

In the photos above, you can see the two types of cufflink backs or fasteners: the swivel and the fixed back. My personal recommendation is fixed-back, since this type is more durable. You can also personalize cufflinks with initials that are meaningful to you.

As mentioned above, shirt studs are worn with, usually, tuxedo shirts, and can also match your cufflinks. The shirt studs that come by default with your shirt are usually cheap plastic and not meant to be worn during the event, so it is recommended to get a set of your own.

Finally, tie bars are accessories that add a bit of form to your outfit while also serving a function: a tie bar can up your look while also holding down your tie from lifting off of your chest. Below you will see a matching Batman tie bar and cufflinks.

Credit: Kenneth Wood Design on Etsy.com

And, as with everything else, there are some basic rules to follow with tie bars:

Source: Tie a Tie
Source: Tie a Tie
Source: Tie a Tie

Suspenders

Suspenders can be worn in lieu of a belt to keep your pants suspended on your hips. Interestingly enough, even though a cummerbund replaces a belt for a formal outfit (in form, not in function), suspenders can be worn together with a cummerbund because they take over the “suspending” function of the belt, whereas the cummerbund is only meant to conceal your waist. There are a few options when it comes to suspenders style and countless options when it comes to patterns and colors. If you choose leather, then it wouldn’t be a bad idea to try to match the material and color of your shoes with your suspenders, as you would have done with a belt.

Source: Ties.com

There are two ways that suspenders connect to your pants: buttons (left, below) and clips (right, below).

Source: Ties.com

And there you have it: You’re now able to select and customize the components of the outfit that you’ll wear on the happiest day of your life! Did we miss anything? Let us know in the comments below!

DISCLAIMER: Any brands listed above are not sponsors.