I was almost going to do separate posts the group photos and the decorations but then I figured that was getting a tad bit ridiculous since I’m probably going to wind up doing six wedding posts and not four as I originally planned. Plus I don’t need to say a lot about the group shots per say (click on the pic if you’d like to see more info about who’s in the photo).
We had approximately 130 people at our wedding which we were able to accommodate because of the size of Brookfield Hall and because we found a cheap way to feed everyone aaand Ben works in the booze industry so we were able to sort the alcohol side of things up cheaper than most people can for weddings. If I have just one tip for organising a wedding, utilise any and all of the resources available to you!
This is the best group shot ever! Kristina asked us to put on undead, zombie faces and this was the result. Hilarious! This is definitely one photo I recommend zooming in on!
Ben’s extended family including his pop Frank on the far right dressed as a vampire. We actually requested people not dress up in costume (well, at least not in cheesy costumes) and gave some guidelines in how to dress, but Frank is his own man and looked wonderful so no one minded at all :D
Ben’s immediate family.
My immediate family! I’m not close with my extended family and my dad didn’t get an invite for personal reasons so it was just the three of us representing the Westworth’s!
Hahaha classic Cara and Erin :D
With everyone from The Scratch!
With Ben’s nan Rae, the only person who guessed I’d be in white because black would be too obvious and no one would expect me to wear white. She’s a sharp lady!
Now on to the decorations! We had a soft Haunted Mansion theme to coincide with the fact it was Halloween and because it’s our favourite Disney attraction. We could have gone full theme but we didn’t want to alienate the guests who haven’t been to as Disney park and therefore don’t know what it is (and as Australians, that’d be the majority of our guests). So we chose our favourite elements and generally made the hall we hired to look like a grand old haunted house with some (mostly) tasteful Halloween decorations thrown in for good measure.
The front of the hall was kept fairly simple, we had a giant spider over the doorway with webs, plant boxes and jack-o-lanterns. At night the tops of the two towers also lit up green and purple! After the groups photos were all done, we ushered people to the font door which had been firmly closed and had Kieran and Ash knock loudly to get everyone’s attention and then dramatically throw the doors open so that smoke billowed out. It was perfect! We really wanted this to be dramatic and it came together better than we could have hoped!
Now, remember the hall was completely empty when we hired it, so we had to find as much appropriate furniture as possible to fill it and make it look like a beautiful mansion. Luckily we already owned or were able to borrow pretty much everything for no cost. The chandeliers were probably the only thing we hired and they were dirt cheap and belonged to the hall anyway!
We covered all of the windows with dark fabric to block out the sunlight, which would have potentially ruined the effect as the guests entered the hall as it was still light when we opened it up. The curtains were made from cheesecloth we bought in bulk, cut into size then slashed and stained to look like rotting net curtains.
Fun fact: That baby grand piano is actually mine. I saved it from the 2011 Brisbane floods and have been keeping it at mum’s as I don’t have any space for it. Super glad I did because it was such a great addition to the decor!
In the middle of the hall we had a massive dining table. The original intention was to have a long one like the one in the ballroom of the Haunted Mansion but we only had trestle tables and we couldn’t get them to look any good as a long table. Plus we needed lots of table space for all of the snacks we had! We got the girls from Alphabet Cafe to make some wonderfully spooky treats for us, including bloody eyeball cake balls, meringue bones, mini pumpkin pies, caramel apple poptarts, pumpkin spice whoopie pies and cupcakes featuring gravestones and vampire bites.
Our wedding cake was actually gifted to us by a bunch of our friends because it was something we kept kind of forgetting about and actually forgot to budget for! I was planning to get a plain cake made up and have mum help me decorate it but I am soooo thankful our friends got this cake for us instead because there was absolutely no way we would have had time to decorate a freaking wedding cake on top of everything else! The cake was made by Contemporary Cakes and was cemetery themed with gravestones, pumpkins, roses, flying bats, ghosts and Ben and I in a Doom Buggy!
We decorated the raised stage area to look like an old attic, another reference to the Haunted Mansion. We used a combination of empty boxes and tables we didn’t need draped in white sheets to give the illusion of large pieces of furniture covered by drop sheets, as well as a range of cool objects one might expect to see store in an attic, including an old pram, gramophone, suitcases and even a dress form with an old wedding dress. We’d planned to make our own “bride” like from the Haunted Mansion but unfortunately ran out of time to set it all up so this was our subtle nod to her.
We set up a few areas for guest entertainment, such as the oddities table which was kindly provided to us by our friend Luke. Ben built a Tunnel of
Love Terror which was a mini-maze filled with creepy stuff and all of the photos of Ben and I from when we first started dating til now. He even built our photobooth wall! We were hoping to make it Haunted mansion themed too with the famous purple wallpaper but time escaped us yet again so we went with some lovely embossed black wallpaper instead.
Some other details included a Halloween guestbook handmade by mum’s friend Jodie, themed beer decals to go with the craft beers and cider we had on tap (some of which were brewed especially for the wedding), a candy buffet full of American candy and a caramel apple station complete with caramel my sister made from scratch, including a most delicious vegan option. There were probably a thousand other little details that added to the whole effect but I won’t bore you, but it was pretty epic (for lack of a better word) and thankfully was worth all of the effort!
I’d like to thank the following people for their help:
- Kristina, for capturing the most wonderful group photo at a wedding, ever
- Sarah P again, for minding Shiro and Midwich for us, and taking them home and feeding them so we didn’t have to worry
- For all of our friends and family who spent a long, exhausting day with us on the Friday (and Saturday morning), setting up Brookfield Hall to look like a haunted old mansion which meant trekking all over Brisbane and beyond to collect furniture, for supplying and setting up decorations, lighting and sound equipment and feeding us pizza because we were all too frazzled to remember to eat
- Jodie for the beautiful guestbook, Bev for all of the furniture, Luke for the oddities display and our friends who pitched in to get us a super awesome wedding cake