The procession of vehicles seen driving through the New Carlisle Cemetery on Halloween night was not a troupe of ghost hunters or thrill-seekers, but members of a wedding party who came to witness the nuptials of a couple so in love with Halloween (and each other) that they decided to make it the centerpiece of their ceremony.
Ide (Marcum) and Jeff Nickell said their “I Dos” around 9 p.m. on Saturday evening at the base of a mausoleum’s steps, the ceremony lit only by a few glowsticks and the headlights from an adjacent road. There was no moon that night, as the sky was covered by dark clouds, casting the cemetery into almost total darkness.
The ceremony had no dress code, as most guests took advantage of the Halloween-themed event and wore Freddy Krueger and Michael Myers masks instead of stiff rental tuxedos and ruffly bridesmaid dresses.
The bride did not walk down the aisle in Saturday’s ceremony, but instead arrived in a casket which was driven in by a hearse. Pallbearers, or bridebearers in this case, carried the casket halfway down the aisle before opening it up and allowing Ide to emerge and walk to Jeff, who was waiting at the base of the crypt, decked out in a top hat, tails, and a cane.
Melissa Keller officiated the ceremony, saying that the veil between this world and the next is reported to be thinnest on Halloween night, noting that Ide and Jeff wanted to take advantage of the special evening to unite themselves in marriage.
“I’ve always been a Halloween nut,” Ide said. “I’m all about the creepy, the skulls, all that stuff.”
She said she first met Jeff when she was just 14 years old, and that they then went on to raise families of their own before they reconnected four years ago at a Halloween party. Ide said the idea for a Halloween wedding began as something that was suggested as a joke, and then came to fruition after more consideration.
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She got her hands on the most important wedding accessory—the dress—before anything else, Ide said. The lavish purple and black dress was a custom-made “Gothic Victorian ball gown” that she ordered online. The hearse and casket were easy enough to rent from Foy’s in Fairborn, Ide said.
The Nickells, who reside in Medway, said they first approached the Medway Cemetery about getting married there, but were told that the cemetery was not insured for weddings. Ide said she then spoke to the City of New Carlisle about using their cemetery.
“I said ‘I have a strange request,’” she said of her phone call to New Carlisle. ”I asked them if I could get married in their cemetery…he was pretty shocked,” she said, adding that the city was great to work with on the event.
Ide attributed her happy relationship with Jeff to “lots and lots of communication—communicating about everything,” she said, adding that the couple has 14 years between them,
Ide, 38, and Jeff, 52, welcomed approximately 60 guests to their wedding and reception Saturday evening, with only a few minor hiccups encountered along the way.
“We’re still laughing about the little things that went wrong last night,” Jeff said Sunday evening.
Jeff said that his best men inadvertently sent the procession of guests the wrong way around the cemetery before the ceremony, sending them driving around the cemetery in circles before finally arriving at the correct mausoleum. He also said that the hearse arrived at the cemetery without the bride inside, and the driver left, thinking that she was already there, before the details were finally worked out and the bride was picked up at home.
“I thought they were going to open that casket and she was going to come falling out of there upside down,” he said of the bride’s trip down the aisle. “I was just sure she was going to come out of that thing upside down,” he said of his groomsmen carrying the bride.
Jeff noted that he hoped their family and friends enjoyed the change of pace from traditional weddings, saying: “We just both enjoy Halloween—the spirit of it—and we hope everyone enjoyed coming out and being a part of something we both really love,” he said.
As for the non-traditional dress code of the evening, surrounded by flying monkeys, zombies, and horror movie characters, Jeff said that he and Ide didn’t want anyone to have to be uncomfortable in attending their wedding, and that they encouraged their friends and family members to come in their costumes.
The ceremony concluded and the bride was placed back in her casket, loaded into the hearse once more, and carted off to the reception, held at the Lion’s Den in Medway.
Jeff also attributed the couple’s happiness to communication and respect for differing opinions, saying that it was important for them to express their respective opinions and appreciate them even if they differ.
“We’re big football fans—she likes the Cleveland Browns and I like the Bengals—so we save all our frustrations until Sunday and take it out on each other then,” he said.
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