Gothic Fairytale Wedding Inspired by Tim Burton

Robert Marriott Photography

September 21, 2018

Amy and Andy had a very clear vision for their October wedding: Halloween and Tim Burton. They wanted to use their day to celebrate his magical films that they both grew up with and loved dearly. They also touched upon Halloween by using orange, purple, black and silver in their decorations.

They were married on October 21st (as close to Halloween as they could get) at St Augustine’s in Westgate-On-Sea near Margate. “Halloween has always been a huge yearly event for our family and always one of the happiest so we wanted to choose to celebrate every anniversary as close to it as possible!” Amy began. “For our venue, we wanted somewhere that was a blank canvas and we were delighted to find that St Augustine’s had everything we wanted. It was filled with Victorian and gothic décor with rich reds and gold. They also have a stunning chapel within the building. The gardens were filled with willow trees and made a beautiful backdrop for our photographs.”

“After discovering Rock n Roll Bride magazine we stocked up on every issue to build our confidence and expand our knowledge down the ‘non-traditional’ route to creating a wedding. We raided TK Maxx’s Halloween section the year before. We mixed all of this with an enchanted forest feel to give it a sparkly Halloween base in which we could build upon. Everything we made incorporated some of the smallest additions from the characters and script to make our guests feel like they had entered in to Halloween Town.”

The bride looked stunning in her one-of-a-kind gown but it wasn’t all smooth sailing finding her dream dress. “I had the worst dress buying experience ever!” she explained. “In the first place I went to the owner told me their were no dresses in her shop that would fit me, leaving me feeling unfulfilled, fat and ugly. For a while I was adamant that I would just find one online but I didn’t want to conform to traditional white or ivory unless it suited our theme. After much hunting I felt like giving up until I found The Bridal Gallery in Broadstairs. Jean and the girls were amazing and boosted my confidence again. I found a dress that matched what I was looking for and they also helped me to customise it to suit our theme within my budget. We worked with different lace and placement and once we had finished I didn’t care that it was ivory as it made me feel like a pretty bride.”

For her bridesmaids she simply told them to each choose a black dress that they felt most comfortable in. “Dressing our bridesmaids was by far the hardest thing we had to organise. Having girls in a variety of shapes, heights and sizes ended up becoming a nightmare. We would find a perfect dress that one or two of our girls would love but the other two would hate it or it didn’t suit them. In the end we opted for a set colour (black because it suited the Halloween theme and we figured it would look good on everyone!) and with a little bit of direction allowed the girls to select their own dresses.”

This wedding was truly a family affair. Their incredible cake was made by the groom’s aunt (“It was topped off with a Jack & Sally from The Nightmare Before Christmas. We didn’t see it until the big day and were emotional at how beautifully made it was”), the bride’s brother and sister-in-law did their stationery and all the flowers were all put together by her step-sister. “We wanted to stick with autumnal flourishes and a mixture of both delicate blooms and harder rustic foliage. Thistles, berries and pumpkins were also added in which we foraged for ourselves as a wedding party at Ashford Pumpkin Farm. We also bought over 75 feet of artificial ivy from eBay. We covered our archway in it all as well as our tables and windows. The pumpkins were carved out and filled with expanding foam and we had untreated dead tree branches secured within the middle of them and draped in fairy lights. Everything together truly made our image of the day come to life and made the venue look like a gothic fairytale.”

All the decorations were DIY, painstakingly put together by the bride, her family and friends. She even spent many hours with her bridesmaids drinking wine and filling tiny corked, glass love potion bottles with glitter and tying them with orange and purple ribbon as wedding favours. “I made and filled personalised children’s activity boxes for the little ones as well as my own headdress for the evening. I bought small wooden boxes and decoupage them myself for the bridesmaids as little favours to say thank you and I decorated them with paper roses. We had lots of gothic things brought from our house. I handmade confetti cones that were filled with flower petals.”

“Don’t be afraid to be different!” Amy advises. “We felt pressured at first to maintain a level of tradition and poise when all we wanted was to have our crazy coloured hair, loud clothing and to incorporate topics that some people consider inappropriate for a wedding; as long as its all in good jest and non-offensive then be yourselves. We included both our traditional upbringing alongside our personalities. It’s your big day so go for it! Above all don’t stress out about the little things. I did this on the day as was worried that some of our hard work would go unnoticed or unappreciated, but to be honest, your guests care about you and everything else is just additional beauty that is added to what’s already there.”

One of the hardest parts of the wedding for Amy was that her father was not there to walk her down the aisle, she lost him just three months before the wedding. Her grandfather did the honours on the day. “It gave me a little bit of piece of mind that my dad had got too see me wearing my dress as I sent him a photo after my first dress appointment and he was so proud. To any brides or grooms who may have lost a loved one throughout their journey:  I struggled to find comfort in anything to represent my father without him being physically present. It was heartbreaking to not have him there but I found some beautiful ways in which to incorporate them into our big day without it being morbid. I took great comfort in having a piece of my dad’s shirt with me under the back of my dress as though he had my back on the day.”

“A close family friend had a locket made for me with his picture in it to wrap around my bouquet and we had old photographs of our late grandparents on their wedding days on show around the venue with a lit candle in honour of them. We also kept a chair free for him during the ceremony. Your day is yours so make the very most of it and do your best to share your love with as many people as possible, I know we did and that everyone felt it too.”