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.
WITNESS OUR WEDDING ART:
(Invites printed by Gotprint.com. Their prices are wonderful and the quality is great. They will even mail you samples. Envelopes were purchased at Vistaprint.com).
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.
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.
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.
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.
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?”
A ‘SHINING’ THEMED WEDDING to-do list:
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.
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.
Ask your guests to dress retro, preferably from the 1920s.
Wedding rehearsal dinner hair. I had a finger waves and pin curls combo.
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 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 Renttherunway.com. 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
The historic PARAMOUNT THEATER across the street from the venue.
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.
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.
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…
Make sure to stick REDRUM (MURDER) signs on transfer vinyl all over the restaurant venue’s windows.
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.
Nothing like a good story board about the Shining for guests who have never seen the movie. This visual sure breaks the ice.
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.
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.
Scene from The Shining. Poor Shelly Duvall is about to be…
Ahh ha ha ha, isn’t murder and mayhem hilarious???