THE SHINING THEMED WEDDING: Unknotting Tradition | Wedding Themes

The Shining Wedding Theme

Great party isn't it? The Shining

The majority of weddings I have attended lacked creativity by strictly adhering to clichés.  Like cloned cavalcades of bridesmaids in hideous satin, expensive white bridal gowns worn once then off to storage and every square inch of the venue filled to the gills with pricey flowers.

When my BFF announced that she was to marry in October, I was overjoyed.  I looked forward to collaborating with her in the creative process of wedding  planning. And what I mean by that is planning a non-traditional event  that many would consider subversive.

My BFF, Mini,  decided to base her wedding theme on Stanley Kubrick’s macabre and terrifying psychological horror movie, ‘The Shining.’  Not only is this my favorite Kubrick movie, but one which continues to intrigue and terrify me with its layers of cryptic symbolism.

As a graphic designer, I lent a hand designing  the invite and thank you card. In my January 2015 blog post,  I shared the twisted design for the SAVE THE DATE card, wishing you could have witnessed us brainstorming twisted and degenerate ideas for the card.  Tears streamed down our faces from  hysterical laughter.  Mini had to rein me in, as she was afraid that we would give her conservative older Brit relatives , coronaries.


(Invites printed by Their prices are wonderful and the quality is great. They will even mail you samples. Envelopes were purchased at

Email me if you would like me to consult/design your wedding invites.

The Shining theme wedding invite

INVITE FRONT – This black and white image is seen at the end of the movie. Jack Nicholson stands above the Supper Club box grinning. I superimposed the bride and groom’s heads in circles and blew them up to resemble Bobble Heads.

The Shining movie theme wedding invite

INVITE BACK – The orange and brown graphic was deliberately used in this design, since it is a replica of the carpet pattern seen throughout ‘The Overlook Hotels’ hallways.

The Shining Movie wedding RSVP card

RSVP front

Wedding Themes

RSVP back – This is little ‘Danny’, the annoying, creepy son of Jack Nicholson and Shelly Duvall, with psychic abilities who forsees murder in the hotel all while talking to his index finger in a raspy baritone, “Red rum, red rum.” RED RUM is murder spelled backward. When Mini’s British mom saw this she inquired “What’s with the little kid?” Imagine her expression when Mini explained the significance of the creepy kid riding around the hotel on his Big Wheel.

The Shining themed wedding Thank You card

THANK YOU CARD – front – This maze is from the movie. It is also the maze where Jack Nicholson chases his family with an axe, but can’t find them and eventually freezes to death on a snowy winter Colorado night.

The Shining movie themed wedding - Thank You card back

THANK YOU CARD – back – This is Shelly Duvall and creepy Danny walking through the maze. They did this to keep themselves busy during winter days. They learned to navigate this gigantic maze so well, that it saved them from Jack’s axe wielding.

The Shining wedding theme went beyond designing invites.  In tribute to this oeuvre, we considered asking guests to dress in period costumes from the 20s, one of the most elegant decades of the past century.  In the final scene of the movie,  a black and white photo hanging in the hotel hallway  depicts the lead character, ‘Jack Torrance’, played by Jack Nicholson,  grinning amongst maudlin partygoers in a ballroom, July 4, 1921.

Now you must be thinking,  “Oh my God, please tell me what else  can be done to throw a ‘Shining’ subversive themed wedding? How much blood and guts are suitable for the happiest day in a woman’s life?”


  1. Have your guests stay in a historic hotel like Timberline Lodge in Oregon, where parts of the movie were filmed. We stayed at the Berkeley Hotel, a historic boutique seaside hotel in Asbury Park, NJ which has a boardwalk and historic homes. They do not serve breakfast, but have a bar which stays open until 2am on weekends. Brunch is served within walking distance at the Supper Club.
The Berkeley Hotel Asbury Park, NJ - a historic seaside hotel.

This is the Berekeley.  A friend commented on the photo: “Where is that? Moscow? What is up with the commie-style statue and hotel?” Yup. There isn’t much going on the outside, but the inside has been renovated nicely. You know, in a Crate and Barrel pseudo-boutique hotel way, instead of an Ian Schrader-Hotels way.

  1. Ask your guests to dress retro, preferably from the 1920s.
pin curl finger wave hair

Wedding rehearsal dinner hair. I had a finger waves and pin curls combo.

Retro hair and outfit at the Supper Club in Asbury Park, NJ.

Guess who? Wear a fascinator hat, pin curl your hair and make sure your blouse is made of silk and not some shitty slave-labor fast fashion imitation. This is the second floor of the Supper Club overlooking the beach. Après pin curl hair. Fascinator: BatCakes Couture Necklace by Shourouk, Jacket by St. John Couture. 

The Shining movie wedding Retro style

The bride and groom. The groom is so stylish in a pair of red laced Doc Martens to match his shirt. The most dapper dudes wear hats to their wedding. The bride dyed her hair pink and wore a Badgley Mischka gown from Why buy when you can rent? The best way to burn your money is to buy a white gown which can never be worn again. And please, trust me your daughter will not wear it 25 years from now. Wedding photos by: PORTRAITS BY THE BAY

Badgley Mischka wedding gown Rent The runway

Mini looks gorgeous in her Mischka. Pink hair dye by: Overtone, done at VanityRoom. Eyebrows done at ArchBrow bar

Wedding couple Paramount Theater Asbury Park NJ

The historic PARAMOUNT THEATER across the street from the venue.

The Shining movie poster at Paramount Theater Asbury Park

Unbeknownst to the wedding couple THE SHINING was due to be featured on the big screen a week after their wedding at the Paramount Theater. How crazy is that? They even brought their WEDDING AXE.

  1. Sprinkle props from the movie throughout the wedding venue. We feasted at the Supper Club, a bar and restaurant on the Asbury Park boardwalk, which has a retro vibe reminiscent of speakeasy days.
Wedding axe inspired by the Shining movie

Well well, what do we have here? Doesn’t every bride and groom desire a ‘wedding axe?’ Don’t forget that Jack Nicholson went mad in The Shining and tried to unsuccessfully ‘axe’ his family. Nothing like grim, grisly humor to ease the nerves of the groom. This prop greeted wedding guests in the entrance way to the restaurant. I nearly fell out of my chair when I saw that thing. How freaking hilarious. Oh and look it is even monogrammed “Mini & Charles…Forever & Ever…

REDRUM sign at a wedding

Make sure to stick REDRUM (MURDER) signs on transfer vinyl all over the restaurant venue’s windows.

The Shining twins on vinyl sticky posters

Don’t forget those adorable murdered twins too. I don’t think the “elderly” guests at the wedding had a clue who the “dead twins” were.

The Shining story board poster for a wedding entrance.

Nothing like a good story board about the Shining for guests who have never seen the movie. This visual sure breaks the ice.

  1. Play music from The Shining while introducing the bride and groom right before vows are being exchanged. The main title song is very eerie, dramatic and gives me goosebumps.

  1. Dance and drink all night long since you never know when you’ll be axed.

I can’t begin to tell you what a glorious weekend I had with friends I have known since high school and college. I love the beach during the fall and was able to enjoy this special event with  creative and like-minded people whom I adore. Weddings should be creative, fun and amusing.  If you have always longed to have a wedding which is subversive and will make your mother cry, then JUST DO IT. Mini and Charles delivered such a wedding and so much more with aplomb and humor.  And please, ladies, lose the sloppy, drunken wedding speech from family and friends, the cutting of the cake and please, for heaven’s sake, THE SHOWER.

The American wedding racket needs to be ‘axed’ once and for all.

Jack Nicholson and Shelly Duvall in The Shining

Scene from The Shining. Poor Shelly Duvall is about to be…

Retro vintage wheelchair disabled blogger

Ahh ha ha ha, isn’t murder and mayhem hilarious???

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  1. Magda, This entry of yours is brilliant. i watch the Shining at least once a year. can’t get enough of the creeps it evokes. every. damned. time. i would’ve crashed that wedding like nobody’s beeswax, dressed like scatman cruthers with an axe in my chest. or if only i could get my hands on that atrocious usa rocket ship sweater Danny wore hanging at the Overlook. the Shining themed wedding almost makes me want to get married again… Naahhhhhh.

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