“We were distant friends throughout our college years and finally decided to date three years later after an incredible road trip from Arizona to Florida in 2005,” Nancy Kim Ngyuen recalls of her love story with Andrew Shadowens. As time passed, Andrew was ready to surprise his sweetheart with a ring in Houston, where they would tie the knot nearly two years later.

The day before the couple’s Halloween-themed reception, they recited their vows during a Catholic ceremony in honor of the bride’s religious upbringing, followed by dinner at a Vietnamese restaurant. “It worked out well since we were able to have a more traditional and conservative event on the ceremony day. I knew the next day would be the crazy-fun celebration,” she remembers. Guests arrived at the reception in their best costumes and were enthralled by the spooky, yet sophisticated, ambience. “I wanted the décor to be elegantly morbid [with] lots of black, gold, and silver,” Kim explains. “I shopped at craft stores for the year prior and built up an inventory of Halloween décor.”

Envisioning a combination of eeriness and elegance, the couple utilized white roses and anemones to offset the candelabra, cages, spiders, webs, and skulls that adorned the tablescapes. In lieu of signing a conventional guest book, attendees posed for Polaroid photos and taped them into a scrapbook designed by Kim. “I am a scrapbooker and paper excites me.  I definitely spent way more time choosing the right invitations than shopping for my wedding dress,” she smiles. In the true spirit of the holiday, the couple hosted a costume contest where guests flaunted their ensembles during a Soul Train-style line dance. “Winners won trophies based on loudest applause,” the bride recalls. Other unique elements of the duo’s “Hallowedding” were the whimsical confection, signage customized by a chalkboard artist, and their wedding hashtag #Shadoween2016.

Reflecting on every detail of the soirée, Kim is thrilled that her friends and family enjoyed themselves. “All my guests thought the whole Hallowedding reception was unique,” she confides. “To this day, they are still commenting on how amazing it was and how much fun they had.”