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TRIPS TO THE ALTAR, ALTERED Novel nuptials



Published: Sun, April 7, 2002 @ 12:00 a.m.



Some fun-loving couples shunned the traditional and embraced the unusual on their wedding day.

By TRACEY D'ASTOLFO

VINDICATOR CORRESPONDENT

here are a lot of things to consider when planning a wedding.

Tuxedos and gowns. Flowers and music. Plastic spiders and wet suits. Car wax and bleacher seats.

Although weddings usually bring to mind images of formal wear, organ music and tiered cakes, many couples shun tradition, opting for celebrations that reflect their interests and lifestyles -- from underwater revelry to take-me-out-to-the-ballpark attitude.

Hall of horror: John F. and Sue Kennedy wanted to incorporate their love of Halloween and horror films into their wedding. The Youngstown couple chose Oct. 29, 2000, as their wedding date -- two days before Halloween. They kept the ceremony traditional, but planned a huge Halloween party for the reception.

Guests were encouraged to wear costumes. A chalk outline of a murder victim decorated the walkway leading to the Georgetown banquet center where the reception was held, and the grim reaper, surrounded by cauldrons of steaming dry ice, greeted guests as they entered.

John said he was a little nervous that the guests wouldn't be comfortable with the idea but was surprised when almost everyone came in costume, from the flower girl and ring bearer to the groom's 86-year-old uncle.

"We were worried that people wouldn't dress up," John said, "but in the end it turned out that if you weren't dressed up, you looked out of place!"

The costumes did present a problem as the couple greeted guests in the receiving line. "They would just stand there and look at us, expecting us to guess who they were. We couldn't tell who was who," explained Sue, laughing.

Cobwebs and spiders were strewn throughout the inside of the reception hall, a satin-lined coffin held a skeleton, and a cemetery "plot" displayed headstones bearing the names of the bride and groom and a "Just Buried" sign.

Miniature bride and groom skeletons topped the cake, and a skull-shaped gelatin mold and cookies were served as the disc jockey played Halloween music. The couple toasted with skull goblets, and the bride wore a garter of orange and black crepe paper with a miniature Frankenstein monster tied to it.

The couple, who own and operate the Royal Oaks Bar & amp; Grill on the East Side, were very happy with the results and received many compliments on the reception.

"My parents were a little leery at first," Sue admitted, "but afterward, everyone said it was the best, and most memorable, wedding they had ever been to."

"And the great thing about it is, now we can have a Halloween party every year to celebrate our anniversary," John added.

Hot rod couple: Judge Scott Hunter recalls a wedding ceremony he officiated a few years ago during the Hot Rod Super Nationals at the Canfield Fairgrounds.

A couple from Indiana was in town to show their hot rod. They asked if Hunter, who was Canfield's mayor at the time, would marry them on the fairgrounds in front of the car. Hunter agreed, and said the ceremony was beautiful. The couple wore the traditional bridal gown and tuxedo and had a wedding party, but the groom was rather despondent during the ceremony because when he had started his car that morning, the engine had caught fire.

Shortly thereafter a photo of the ceremony was published in Hot Rod Digest. Hunter quipped, "As mayor of Canfield I didn't make Time magazine, but I made Hot Rod Digest!"

Take me out: When Joeann and Bill Colburn approached bridal consultant Jennifer Kuczek, they were looking for an unusual outdoor location to hold their wedding ceremony. They brainstormed and came up with just the place.

"We arranged the first wedding at Cafaro Field," Kuczek said.

The guests came wearing baseball caps and holding pennants emblazoned with "Go Colburns!" Swags lined the baselines leading to an arch over home plate, where the McDonald couple were married.

Balloons were released after the ceremony.

"I tried to talk them into having the organist play baseball music for the ceremony," said Kuczek, part owner of Weddings Etc. in Boardman, "but they decided to have prerecorded music piped in over the loudspeaker."

Deep love: Boni and Jimmy Isabella of Poland exchanged vows under 20 feet of water. Jimmy, a scuba instructor, wanted to marry at The Statue of Christ of the Abyss, which is submerged in the ocean off Key Largo, Fla. Boni, who learned to scuba dive for her birthday, admitted she was a little apprehensive.

"I was afraid it would be tacky," she said, "but it was very dignified."

A scuba-diving friend escorted Boni to the statue. The vows were written on a slate, and the couple wrote the appropriate answers with a waterproof pen. Fish nibbled on specially made bouquets and boutonnieres.

An underwater videographer taped the event, and the bride's son-in-law took photos.

After the ceremony, an on-shore reception featured a seafood dinner and a cake decorated with shells.

"The most important thing was that our children could attend," Boni explained, "and since they all know how to scuba dive, that made it perfect."

Pool party: But if you can't make it to Florida, there's always the backyard pool.

Maxmillan Pelleschi, owner of Maxmillan Creative Photography, recalls a poolside wedding he photographed. The entire wedding party and the guests were dressed in bikinis and swim trunks. After the ceremony, the bride and groom were pushed into the pool.




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