How To Throw A Tasteful Halloween Themed Wedding

According to Lauren Matthews of, using the macabre holiday as a wedding theme can actually result in a stylish wedding! This blog post features some of her “Tricks & Treats” about planning the perfect Halloween themed event!

The Look

“To create a dramatic, slightly gothic atmosphere, hang rented antique crystal chandeliers from the ceiling,” says Diamondstein-Cieplinska. “Place large arrangements of natural branches—no leaves—in mercury glass vessels on the floor throughout the space. Use an eclectic mix of crystal goblets, white china, black chargers, and black napkins with silver napkin holders. I’d also fill mercury glass or brushed gold candelabras and candlesticks with white candles dripping wax. Arrangements of white blossoms—like hydrangeas and garden roses—of different heights and sizes would be interspersed throughout the tablescape.” If the space has a fireplace, light it to cast a magical—as in, Victorian séance—glow, or fill it with pillar candles of various heights.

At the ceremony, surround the altar with clusters of pillar candles and overflowing arrangements of blood-red blooms, or hang a black crystal chandelier at the end of the aisle. For the reception, set each guest’s place with matte gold flatware and black wine glasses, and use feathers calligraphed in gold ink as place cards. Top an ornate black lace runner with vintage vessels full of black forest calla lilies, dahlias, and garden roses, surrounded by white pumpkins, persimmons, and figs, and light as many candles as you can. For a slightly spooky twist, take inspiration from Dia de los Muertos: Add elegant and ornate skull designs and adopt “Until Death Do Us Part” as your style mantra—it’s equally romantic and macabre.


Planning Your Ceremony Music

the main event

When it comes to planning the Perfect Wedding Ceremony, there are some crucial decisions to be made first! Where will you be having your ceremony? What date and time will your ceremony happen, and when/where will you be having your rehearsal? When choosing and hiring an officiant, are you selecting a religious leader, or celebrant? Have you picked out your Bridesmaids, Groomsman, Flower Girl, Ring Bearer, and Ushers?

the vows & readings

Nowadays, ceremonies can be tailored to fit the vision of the bride & groom. Depending on who you choose to officiate, your ceremony can be very traditional with classic readings and religious references, or personalized with special poems and such. If you will be having readings, have you selected readers? Will you be writing your own separate vows? Choosing traditional vows? Or writing vows together? Don’t forget the rings! Who will be in charge of having the rings ready to be presented? *This is traditionally the Best Man

the order

Planning out the actual order of things can become a little confusing, so this is based on a “standard” flow. Some things to consider… Do you have Ushers to escort the Mothers & Grandmothers? If yes, the Usher will be arm in arm with the woman, and if the woman is married, the husband would follow directly behind to make up a unit of three. Do you want your groom and officiant to start in place or walk down the aisle? If they’ll be walking down the aisle, it typically happens right after the Seating of Parents & Grandparents along to the same song. Will the Groomsmen come out with the Groom and take their place at the altar, or escort the Bridesmaids down the aisle?

•The Seating of the Parents & Grandparents
•The Processional (Bridesmaids, Groomsmen, Flower Girl, Ring Bearer)
•The Bridal Entrance
•The Unity
•The Recessional

(*The following was an excerpt taken directly from
The Address: This is when a message is shared with your guests, a speech from the officiant, sometimes including readings. In a church wedding this would be when the minister gives a sermon. If the officiant is a friend or family member, you may want them to tell a personal story about you and your partner or explain how you met. You might want the officiant to share a reading or song lyric, proverb, or religious reading. Depending on your officiant they may or may not write the address—Priests and Rabbis usually do, friends and family might want to, or might want to write it with you.

The Readings: The readings really are exactly what they sound like. You may want someone to read a poem, lyrics, a Bible passage, or even a webcomic. Your officiant will introduce the reader, the reader will stand or come up to the ceremony, and then proceed with the reading.

The Expression of Intent: I am proceeding in caps because this is important: THIS IS THE ONLY PART OF THE WEDDING CEREMONY WHICH IS LEGALLY MANDATED. The expression of intent is when you and your partner are asked if you take this person to be your legally wedded partner, and you say, “I do,” or, “Hell yes!” or, “We do,” or “Yes, yes, a million times yes.”

The Vows: There are options with the vows. Your vows, you read them. Or your own vows, the officiant reads them, and you repeat them. You write them, or you don’t. Or you don’t do personal vows at all. Either way, having the previously mentioned thesis makes it much easier to either stick with the general theme of the ceremony or cover something outside the theme that you want included.

The Ceremony of the Rings: The officiant speaks for a moment about the meaning of rings. It usually is along the lines of, “Rings are a circle which is eternal, as is love,” but varies with different religious and cultural contexts. Feel free to add to this explanation, or keep it super simple.
The Ring Vows: This is when you present your partner with their ring. I find that most couples want to repeat after me, as it’s hard to remember what you want to say when you’re up there getting married! And I have the extra advantage of an iPad to check my notes on. You’ll place the ring on your partner’s finger and say something to the effect of, “With this ring I thee wed.” Again, you can get as creative as you like with the words to choose to say before you place the ring.

The Kiss: The kiss! I love this part, it’s so happy.
The Pronouncement: Exactly what it sounds like, the officiant will pronounce you wed, married, husband and wife, wife

the music & mics

Music is one of the most important aspects of a wedding ceremony because it acts as the soundtrack to your love and commitment. It creates the mood and conveys emotion. When we’re talking with our clients, we help guide them by asking questions about how they envision their wedding day. Most of the time, couples already have some songs in mind, but if they feel lost and overwhelmed, we’ll share a few suggestions and websites to start brainstorming.

Microphones are one of easiest details for a couple to forget! A lot of churches and venues provide speakers and mics, but a lot of them do not. It’s important for a couple to figure out who will be providing the PA equipment AND music for their ceremony, whether it’s coming from live musicians or pre-recorded.


Venue Spotlight: Piazza Messina

Photography Credits: Rachel Myers

Weddings at Piazza MESSINA offers a “destination” type setting without having to travel hours away. Lakeside Wedding sites are offered on the property, as well as a Cottage for the Bridal party to use prior to the Wedding. In addition to Weddings, Piazza MESSINA also hosts all types of corporate events, social occasions, rehearsal dinners, wine tastings and more. Situated in quaint, historic downtown Cottleville, our property is conveniently located on State Highway N and very secluded, surrounded by groves of trees. For all your events, you can expect the best that Russo’s has come to offer, such as a large selection of service styles and menus featuring global inspired and heirloom recipes. On the horizon, plans are in place for Piazza MESSINA to host seasonal events open to the public.

Piazza MESSINA is the culmination of many years of hard work and is dedicated to Fran (Messina) Russo. Fran, along with her husband Matteo Russo, started our Catering business in 1961. This lifelong business journey of commitment to quality and to our many loyal customers has enabled us to arrive at this exciting time. Piazza MESSINA is the perfect marriage of rustic and modern Tuscan decor in a beautiful natural setting. Piazza MESSINA includes 8,000 + square feet of private event space situated on 14 acres of agricultural land. Featuring a bistro, ballroom and both an indoor and outdoor bar, our venue overlooks a beautiful four-acre lake. One of the most unique features of Piazza MESSINA is the seamless transition from an indoor to outdoor setting, including a wraparound covered portico with a view of the lake. In addition, large panoramic doors open onto an open-air patio. Outdoor amenities includes decorative accent lighting, fountains, pergolas, fire pits, beautiful natural landscaping and of course our four-acre MESSINA “Lago”


Top 15 Unique Cake Cutting Songs

Looking for a cake cutting song that hasn’t already been played at every single wedding? According to, here are the Top 15 Cake Cutting Songs that AREN’T OVERPLAYED at Wedding Receptions….

1.) “Sweet Thing” by Keith Urban
2.) “Kiss Me” by Six Pense None The Richer
3.) “Everything” by Michael Bublé
4.) “Love On Top” by Beyoncé
5.) “Brand New” by Ben Rector
6.) “I’m A Believer” by The Monkees
7.) “Love Is Easy” by McFly
8.) “Silly Love Songs” by Paul McCartney & Wings
9.) “Best Song Ever” by One Direction
10.) “Crazy Luck” by Better Than Ezra
11.) “Hit Me With Your Best Shot” by Pat Benatar
12.) “Loving You Easy” by Zac Brown Band
13.) “24K Magic” by Bruno Mars
14.) “Love Never Felt So Good” by MJ & J. Timberlake
15.) “Feel Again” by OneRepublic


Hottest Wedding Trends For 2020

According to, here are some of the Hottest upcoming trends for weddings in 2020…

1.) BRIDAL DRESSES – Sleeves and pockets are making a big come back in 2020.

2.) GIANT CENTERPIECES – Over the top greenery and large decor, think huge balloons, for tables are being used as statement pieces.

3.) INTIMATE WEDDINGS – While the centerpieces may be increasing in size, the number of wedding guests is forecast to be decreasing, predicting that couples are choosing to have smaller, more intimate wedding celebrations.

4.) BEAUTIFUL LIGHTING – One of the hottest must-haves for all 2020 weddings will be gorgeous lighting effects including uplighting, pin-spotting, twinkle accents, monogram gobos, and more.

5.) BLEACHED CORAL – The Pantone Color for 2020 is a simple, yet stunning, island inspired soft hue of blue.


Wedding Spotlight – “Daniel & Laura”

Daniel & Laura
Saturday, June 1st 2019

The Dream Team:

The Dream Team:
WEDDING VENUE: Cedar Lake Cellars website
DJ: Allegro Entertainment website
BRIDAL DRESS: Cleo Bridal website
MAIDS DRESSES: David’s Bridal website
MENS SUITS: Mens Wearhouse website
FLORIST: Rouge Events & Design website
CAKE: Sarah’s Cake Shop website
HAIR: Jamie Hallquist MAKEUP: Sarah Beauchamp
PHOTOGRAPHY: Miha Photo website

The dream proposal

Dan and Laura were on a mini-vacation in Branson, and Laura had always wanted to go to the Titanic Museum. After a day at Top of the Rock, before heading back for a nice dinner, the couple went to the Titanic Museum to take a tour. When they arrived, Laura noticed that other visitors were being turned away from going on the tour, but she thought nothing of it.
As their tour began, they continued through all the exhibits until finally stopping at the replica staircase from the movie. To the couple’s delight, the staircase was still decorated for Christmas even though it was the beginning of January.

The tour guide briefly explained that “it is tradition for couples to kiss under the clock at the top of the stairs”, so Laura and Dan were sent up.
After they kissed, Dan said, “While I have you up here…” and got down on one knee!
Engulfed in awe, Laura doesn’t remember anything else Dan said, but she remembers blurting out “YES!” before even noticing the ring! 💍
EXTRA TID-BIT: Laura almost ruined the proposal by getting ready too fast earlier that day. She almost found the ring as Dan struggled to hide it in his coat jacket without her seeing it. Not to mention, one of the Titanic employee’s eagerness to constantly check in on them raised some suspicion.
Dan & Laura completed the rest of the Titanic tour, but they don’t really recall anything other than the fact that it’s where they became officially ENGAGED and that’s all they truly care about!
It was a perfect day, and a perfect proposal!♥

favorite wedding moment

“We have to pick just one?! That’s so difficult”…Laura’s favorite memory was walking down the aisle to see Dan tearing up. It was so sweet and she felt so loved.
Dan’s favorite memory was when Laura surprised him with their reception entrance song – Real American by Rick Derringer (Dan is a huge fan of WWE, thanks Hulk Hogan!)
Another fantastic memory is finishing the reception off with “Bohemian Rhapsody” by Queen with everyone dancing around us in a circle and then going crazy during the end of the song – we love our friends and family!

how was allegro?

Choosing Allegro Entertainment for our reception was the best decision we could have ever made! They were so helpful throughout the planning process and gave suggestions when we were stuck. Dori was a fantastic planner, and made the process so easy! The lighting at our venue was beautiful, and we loved our Mono-Gobo light!
Our DJ, Eric, was incredible and made our wedding and our happiness a priority! He got the crowd excited, despite the pouring rain near the end of the night, and kept everyone on the dance floor – getting soaked! We love Allegro Entertainment, and highly recommend them to anyone getting married!

how did you choose your wedding venue?

We visited only two venues and once we saw Cedar Lake Cellars, we immediately knew that was where we wanted to get married. The property is so beautiful and different from other places! We loved having our ceremony by the small lake and the reception at the Big Red Barn. Stephanie (our coordinator) was a huge help and we highly recommend her and Cedar Lake Cellars!  

tell us about your honeymoon!

We spent a couple of days in San Juan, Puerto Rico before getting on a cruise for the Eastern Caribbean (St. Maarten, St. Kitts, Antigua, St. Lucia, and Barbados) where we snorkeled in almost every port and got to see the Blues win Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Finals with a watch party on the pool deck while in the middle of the ocean!

post-wedding updates

We have been happily married for over 4 months now and have been relaxing in our house in O’Fallon. We love traveling and watching wrestling. We got an adorable, black shepherd/chow mix, dog who keeps us on our toes, mostly picking up fluff from the toys that she destroys! We are loving married life and can’t wait to see what the future brings for us!