An Alternative Halloween Wedding at the Mission Inn Hotel & Spa in Riverside, California

Lindsay (37 and a designer) and Justin (37 and an artist) wed in the fall in a dramatic, avant-garde celebration that stitched together elements of science, magic and the hereafter. A passionate palette of gold, black, red and plum was threaded throughout the event; Lindsey’s bouquet and the reception’s centerpieces boasted proteas, black dahlias, black calla lilies, red roses, feathers and Spanish moss. During the ceremony, a mystifying cloud of faux fog followed Lindsay into the St. Francis of Assisi Chapel at the Mission Inn Hotel & Spa (also the couple’s proposal site) in Riverside, California, where a custom Ceremonial Thelemic Magick Ritual was performed under a towering 18k gold altarpiece that is more than 200 years old. Custom tarot-card-style programs guided guests through the ceremony, cocktail hour and reception. After the vows, 85 guests stepped into the adjoining Spanish Art Gallery, where they sipped on a Monster Smash whiskey cocktail, under high ceilings projected with shadowy branches, creating the atmosphere of an enchanting haunted forest. To help guests find their tables, names were printed on brightly colored liqueurs in potion bottles (which doubled as favors). In keeping with the science-meets-magic theme, each table was named for an element from the periodic table (such as copper, mercury and gold). Centerpieces were crafted from black curly willow, stacks of vintage books, and apothecary bell jars filled with tiny lights—appearing as self-contained galaxies. The couple had their first dance to “Love Me Tender,” a heartfelt tribute to Lindsay’s mother, a devoted Elvis fan who was battling an illness at the time. The revelry went on into the night as black-and-white 1920s Halloween cartoons flickered on screens around the dance floor. —Carolyn Meers