Spooky Downtown St. Pete Halloween Wedding | Manhattan Casino

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Debbie and Mark’s downtown St. Pete wedding was a spectacular and spooky soirée that incorporated their October 30th wedding date as the perfect opportunity to host a Halloween-themed wedding day. To create a festive guest experience for their intimate 46-person event, every detail of Halloween was intertwined into the theme and decor.

“We choose a Halloween themed wedding for one word, fun! Mark and I are an older couple, 40’s and 50’s. This is his first marriage, but my second, although it’s my first wedding, the bride shared. “Halloween is always such an enjoyable time of year for our family.  We wanted to celebrate not only our wedding but one of our favorite holidays. We used typical fall and Halloween colors of purple, orange, green, red, black, gold, silver.”

To plan a custom wedding day that incorporated everything Debbie and Mark loved about Halloween, the St. Petersburg bride and groom sought out a wedding planner and designer who specializes in one-of-a-kind weddings.

“My most important decision was contracting with the right wedding planner. I looked for someone who could take my feelings of what I wanted our guests to experience, along with my own ideas, then build upon that,” Debbie shared. “Who else would we hire for such a unique wedding but UNIQUE Weddings + Events? I think Staci was more excited than myself to plan the event. We let her know that I’m terrified of clowns, and Mark hates ‘life-like’ dolls, and she had free will to incorporate them into the event. She listened to what I wanted to achieve and made it happen. From the types of entertainment to actual furniture rental and carefully chosen vendors, her execution was absolutely impeccable!”

Deep burgundy velvet linens from Over the Top Linens and black gothic-inspired chair rentals from A Chair Affair enhanced the decor and created an elevated ambiance. Wedding DJ Grant Hemond & Associates found the perfect blend of music to keep the energy high all night.

“The most important aspects of the wedding were the decorations, entertainment, and music. Our main goal, besides the marriage, was for everyone to have a fantastic interactive time,” the bride revealed. “I included in the invitation a song request card for guests to list their three favorite songs and used entertainment to engage them to try and make everyone a part of the event.”

Although the wedding day was filled with frights and delights, the bride wanted to feel like royalty and entrusted the team at Truly Forever Bridal to find the perfect look.

“I wanted something flattering to my body type while still giving me a fairytale look. Our planner recommended Truly Forever Bridal. They have an extensive selection that you can buy off the rack with no delay from ordering. With shipment delays due to COVID, that was an important factor, Debbie explained. “My experience was nothing less than dreamy.  My consultant was like a Fairy Godmother, and the seamstress gave me the idea and guidance of lightning up the underside of my dress.”

For a grand finale that was as elaborate as the wedding, a two-tier cake from The Artistic Whisk was designed to frighten and delight guests.

“Of course, everyone loves cake, but we needed a bakery that was also an artist and that could fabricate realistic sharp jagged teeth on a wedding cake,” the bride beamed. “The Artistic Whisk’s cake flavor combinations and the examples of their artistic styles made them an easy choice.  It was difficult to choose flavors, so we chose two, blueberry with key lime and hazelnut with espresso. Everything was delicious, but the added gore decor on the cake and desserts really added to the event theme. The teeth turned out fantastic! Our guests couldn’t stop commenting on the cake!”

As Debbie and Mark looked back on their once-in-a-lifetime wedding, there were two moments that brought back the sweetest smiles.

“Having a long time extended family friend of 36 years, Dena Alessi, marry us was especially meaningful. Not only was it her first time officiating, but she performed in spite of an unexpected family tragedy just two months prior,” the bride reminisced. “The second most memorable event would be the zombie mob.  The dancing was fantastic, but when they sat and had ‘conversations’ with skeletons as if they were old friends or grabbed props to dance with, that really escalated their commitment to staying in character which proved to be hysterical!”

What did you look for when it came to finding your wedding dress?
I wanted something flattering to my body type while still giving me a fairy tale look. Our planner recommended Truly Forever Bridal.  They have an extensive selection that you can buy off the rack with no delay from ordering. With shipment delays due to COVID, that was an important factor. My experience there was nothing less than dreamy. My consultant was like a Fairy Godmother, and the seamstress gave me the idea and guidance of lightning up the underside of my dress.

The Proposal:
Lovingly sweet and romantic with a touch of clumsy.  Mark had waited 28 years to ask me to marry him. My first marriage had caused a considerable delay for him. He took me to the beach where we had our first date 28 years ago. However, the area changed over time, and construction cones blocked off certain areas, but that didn’t stop him. He ran over the cones and became so nervous that he asked me to marry him while still in the car.

Why did you choose a Halloween wedding?
In one word, FUN! Mark and I are an older couple, in our 40’s and 50’s. This is Mark’s first marriage, but my second, although my first wedding. Halloween is always such an enjoyable time of year for our family.  We wanted to celebrate not only our wedding but one of our favorite holidays.

What were your colors?
We used typical fall and Halloween colors of purple, orange, green, red, black, gold, silver.

What did you look for in a wedding planner?
My most important decision was contracting with the right wedding planner. I looked for someone who could take my feelings of what I wanted our guests to experience, along with my own ideas, then build upon that

Who else would we hire for such a unique wedding but UNIQUE Weddings + Events? I think Staci was more excited than myself to plan the event. We let her know that I’m terrified of clowns, and Mark hates ‘life-like’ dolls, and she had free will to incorporate them into the event. She listened to what I wanted to achieve and made it happen. From the types of entertainment to actual furniture rental and carefully chosen vendors, her execution was absolutely impeccable!

Staci was absolutely exceptional.  She worked with me to give everyone an event that is still being talked about weeks later! Staci came up with an idea to have “Thing” from The Addams Family deliver our rings to us at the altar. I loved such a quirky idea (we had no wedding party)! She knew all the right vendors for a Halloween wedding and things I had not thought of, such as photography. Not all photographers are skilled in low light, and she knew what companies would be able to capture it the best. There was not one thing that was forgotten or overlooked thanks to her. She even went as far as to decorate the bathrooms. Our favorite, by far, was her finding the flash zombie mob. They performed to “Thriller” twice, once for all of us to watch, and then again later in the night for us to join in. The zombies then interacted with all the guests and even the props! It was hilarious! Best of all, the monies paid to the zombies is donated to charity.  I am truly lucky to have been able to work with Staci. She has given me, our family and friends a wonderful memory surrounding our favorite holiday!

What made your wedding unique?
The most unique aspect of the wedding is that it felt like a fun stage production. There were five themed areas (Beetlejuice, zombie graveyard, creepy carnival, haunted mansion, and eerie doll nursery). All were decorated with large and small props, and antique couches, tables, and chairs surrounded the dance floor. There were three sets of hired entertainment placed at specific times overlapping intervals: a tarot card reader, creepy roaming clowns, and a flash zombie mob.

What elements of your wedding were the most important?
Decorations, entertainment, and music. Our main goal, besides the marriage, was for everyone to have a fantastic interactive time. I included in the invitation a song request card for guests to list their three favorite songs and used entertainment to engage them to try and make everyone a part of the event.

What did you look for in a wedding cake bakery?
Of course, everyone loves cake, but we needed a bakery that was also an artist and could fabricate realistic sharp jagged teeth on a wedding cake.

The Artistic Whisk’s cake flavor combinations and the examples of their artistic styles made them an easy choice. It was difficult to choose flavors, so we chose two, blueberry with key lime and hazelnut with espresso. Everything was delicious, but the added gore decor on the cake and desserts really added to the event theme. The teeth turned out fantastic! Our guests couldn’t stop commenting on the cake! They were very easy to work with and had no trouble incorporating two severed hands, purchased independently, into the cake base design.

What did you look for in a wedding DJ?
Someone who could bring together all the different age groups, ’20s-’70s, while keeping up with the theme’s energy. Through our planner’s guidance, she knew which specific DJ would be best for our event. 

Ben Daniele of Grant Hemond & Associates was adorable. His excited and playful energy was infectious to all. We loved watching the interaction between the DJ and the zombies with the music choices and the commentary.

Where did you spend your honeymoon?
Our trip to Rome, Paris, and London had to be put on hold. Our second choice was driving the Pacific coast highway from Seaside, Oregon to San Luis Obispo, then over to Las Vegas. We have always wanted to see the giant ancient redwoods, but we were equally impressed with the fantastic aroma of Humboldt Forrest.

What advice would you give to other Tampa Bay couples?
Don’t fixate on perfection, have fun, and let the little blunders be a part of your love story.

Ceremony and Reception Venue: The Historic Manhattan Casino Event Hall
Photographer: Ashlee Hamon Photography
Videographer: A Peachy Life Productions
Planner: UNIQUE Weddings + Events *Marry Me Tampa Bay Preferred Wedding Pro
Floral/Decor: Cheers Events
Caterer: 3Rivets Catering
Chair Rentals: A Chair Affair *Marry Me Tampa Bay Preferred Wedding Pro
Linens: Over the Top Rental Linens *Marry Me Tampa Bay Preferred Wedding Pro
Cake: The Artistic Whisk *Marry Me Tampa Bay Preferred Wedding Pro
DJ: Grant Hemond & Associates – Ben Daniele *Marry Me Tampa Bay Preferred Wedding Pro
Officiant: Friend of Family, Dena Alessi
Invitations: Zazzle
Custom Cake Stand: Cory Barron
Creepy Clowns: Classic Entertainment
Tarot Card Reader: Star Psychic Enterprises
Zombie Flash Mob: Thrill St. Pete
Transportation: Network Transportation
Dress: Truly Forever Bridal *Marry Me Tampa Bay Preferred Wedding Pro
Hair & Makeup: Lasting Luxe

Quotes have been lightly edited for clarity and brevity.

Preferred Marry Me Tampa Bay Wedding Pros are highly respected by our local wedding community and have been personally vetted by our editor.

MEET THE EDITOR

Marry Me Tampa Bay editor, Anna Coats, created Marry Me Tampa Bay in 2012 to showcase the area's best local weddings and vendors. She has been featured as a wedding expert on the national talkshow Daytime, Fox13, ABC Action News, Great Day Tampa Bay, and Bay News 9 (now Spectrum).

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