Who says your wedding day has to be focused on hearts and hugs and smooches and things traditionally considered lovely? There is no reason, when there is a castle-like venue in your town, famous for non-traditional types of events, and the season of ghosts and goblins and eerie music is upon you! Madison and Gregory reached out to me with a Medieval Renaissance Theme for their wedding celebration, held on Halloween night. The perfect location was available to them: An eight-acre English Country Manor called the Merion Tribute House in Merion PA. I looked forward to this opportunity, and the chance to hand-craft this celebration for them based on parameters that they set.
It is essential for a great entertainer to know his or her audience – and specifically the interests and tastes of the host and hostess at the head of it all: the wedding couple. Sometimes you defer to their interests entirely. And this was no ordinary couple. They had a deep interest in all things medieval – the bride’s full-time email address is sacredfireflower! They followed Renaissance Festivals and listened to epic medieval music. I had my work cut out for me!
I have had so many great events here. Memorable wedding after memorable wedding, one more charming and quaint than the next. Many agree that the Merion Tribute House is one of only several standing buildings that is reflective of the beauty of the early 20th Century Arts and Crafts tradition. The wood-beamed ceilings, slate floors, and a magnificent walk-in fireplace are only some of the craftsmanship to admire. But I truly never had an event here that seemed to be made for a locale. The couple had wood carvings of three dragons, signature seventeenth century cocktails, and inflatable figures from hundreds and hundreds of years ago, on display in the outdoor Terrace as well as the intimate spaces of the Hall, Lounge and Legion Room.
I had sixteen wireless battery powered uplights set to amber – a light gold that mirrored the color of falling leaves that could be seen through the military-emblem-embedded stained glass windows. In the cocktail area my purple uplights accentuated the inflatable giant dragons and fog machine blanketing the cocktail area with a gentle mist. I had two large flat-screen TV’s on tripods with black draping that played videos the couple had submitted to me in advance that I mixed with software into personalized, watchable content for their guests.
For the ceremony, the cocktail hour, and the formal introductions I used almost exclusively the music of Antti Martikainen, a favorite of the couple. Much of his style was “Epic Quest-like”, as our bride described it. It was her desire that the wedding ceremony especially would provide a sensation to their guests of primitive other-worldliness. Early Venetian lute music and melodic, “dreamy” style feels allowed me the freedom to intersperse these tracks throughout the rest of the night. Gotye, Space, Andrei Krylov, Rush, Dr. Dog, Donovan, Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds, the Ennio Morricone songbook, produced vibes galore. The groom posted a review of the evening and stated ” Walt was able to make the bridal party introduction at the reception a magical experience.” That tribute is all that I could ask for!!
When the dancing time came, the floor was packed with guests dressed in the theme of the night. The opening set of Witchy Woman by the Eagles, Psycho Killer by the Talking Heads, Evil Woman by ELO and Major Tom by Peter Schilling really got a big response. At the end of the night, the enchanting wedding balcony with secret door to access, was perfect for our bride to toss down her bridal bouquet. Madison and Gregory walked ceremoniously out the Great Doors, petted their dragons on the stone patio, and then off our couple went – full of a love that was theirs – into the night!