I’d like to take you to a magical time and place for a moment if you’ll let me.
It’s Halloween at twilight, and a deep blue fills the sky. You walk up a sloping path at the Museum of Life + Science, past a table with a guest book guarded by a skeleton dressed as Edgar Allan Poe. A soft light emanates from the butterfly house, filled with lush greenery and providing the backdrop for a round ceremony arch. Chairs are set in an arc facing the butterfly house, with two aisles lined with lanterns, and a gentle peace fills the air. One year to the day after they were legally wed, Andrea & Rachael walked together from the side of the small field to stand beside their fathers. At the same time, they walked down the aisles to again meet, join hands, and promise to continue loving each other for the rest of their lives.
Andrea & Rachael met in middle school. The friendship they shared was always close, becoming roommates was obvious, and falling in love felt natural. They were always an important part of each others’ lives, and every step drew them closer together. Their personalities, relationship, and love of fun were present in every detail of their wedding, which was easily the most memorable event we’ve planned. With 30 guests in attendance, this couple chose to plan their ultimate date night, filled with exciting activities and details reflecting their favorite Poe works.
After a heartfelt ceremony led by Ann McKenzie, during which the brides presented their mothers with flowers and reaffirmed their vows to love each other, they were led into the Butterfly House for a butterfly release. Guests remained for cocktail hour, exploring not only the butterfly house (which included a memorial table featuring their humans and pets who were no longer present) but roaming the insectarium and participating in an animal encounter. Museum of Life & Science attendants brought out a snake, bearded dragon, and two ferrets for guests to see and learn about, while Rocky Top Catering opened the bar and appetizers table. Cocktail tables on the patio were decorated with photos from their original wedding, which showed off Rachael’s awesome black wedding dress.
Guests left cocktail hour, passing an indoor table where Poe was now guarding black Trick or Treat welcome bags, each containing programs, candy, masks, and an escort card. The reception was outside under a tent beside the butterfly house, and the space was filled with black, burgundy, and gold details. 5 round guest tables were draped in wine red linens, with black place settings and chairs, and each table represented a different Poe work. Table name signs were designed by a friend of the couple and centerpieces included a mask representing the Poe works: The Raven, The Cask of Amontillado, The Black Cat, The Gold-Bug, and The Masque of the Red Death.
When the 8 pm reception began, it was fully dark except for the reception tent, and the couple entered to “Thriller” by Michael Jackson, setting the mood for a fun and spooky evening. They then moved into a first dance to “I Knew I Loved You” by Savage Garden, and after dinner, they danced with their dads at the same time as “93 Million Miles” by Jason Mraz played. The head table, also set in black and red, included some unique details including a clock, ravens, and bells. A long floral runner and their bouquets completed the design.
The cocktail hour entertainment was just the start of the fun activities. During the reception, guests could enjoy a photo booth featuring spooky masks, and guests received not only printed copies of their photos but custom retro kaleidoscope keychains with their images. The Poetry Fox, dressed as Edgar Allan Poe, brought his vintage typewriter; guests would share one word with the Fox, and he would write and read a custom poem on the spot!
Even dessert was an elevated experience! The table was decorated with a large framed mirror, ravens, and spooky details to set the stage for an extravagantly decorated cake. With fondant designed to look like gold-lined pages of script, deep colors, and a topper like a tipped-over inkwell, the cake was almost too beautiful to eat. The venue also provided an exciting dessert option – liquid nitrogen ice cream that filled the dance floor and cake table with a rolling cloud of smoke. The dance floor itself was filled throughout the evening, even in the cold and dark until 11:30 pm. It was definitely a night filled with celebration, and we’re so glad we were a part of this spooky 1 year anniversary vow renewal.
Venue: Museum of Life + Science, Durham NC
Wedding Coordinator: Beauty & the Budget Events
Photographer: Kivus & Camera
Catering: Rocky Top Catering
Rentals: American Party Rentals
DJ: The Deluxe Event Group
Photo Booth: ZimZoom Photo Booth
Baker: Love Cake
Officiant: Joy-Filled Weddings
Entertainment: Poetry Fox
“We found Beauty and the Budget in January 2020 and clicked with Stephanie right away. We had a vision of the perfect Halloween wedding and then covid hit. We tried to keep our original date until it became clear there was just no way we would be able to have the wedding we wanted during pandemic times. Stephanie was super helpful with advice and support in making our decision to postpone and helped with communicating that to our other vendors. I really lost steam with the planning, but Stephanie stayed in contact and helped us figure out what we needed to get done and when. We would have been totally lost without her! Our wedding finally took place on Halloween 2021 and it was even better than we had imagined. Everything was beautiful and our guests had an amazing time!” – Andrea & Rachael, Coordination