Brides and grooms opened up to the New York Times about their decision to tie the knot at the famed Stanley Hotel
Those looking for a fright on their wedding day are turning to a spot that Stephen King knows quite well.
Just in time for spooky season, multiple couples opened up to the New York Times about their decision to wed at the Stanley Hotel in Estes Park, Colorado — the venue that inspired the legendary author to write The Shining following a 1974 stay.
The hotel is an especially desired location for nuptials around October. This is due to guests' often shared love of fangs, Frankenstein-inspired cakes, skeleton cake toppings and jars of pig hearts as decoration. For one couple, the hope was that it would feel like "an elegant Victorian funeral."
"A wedding is the ultimate expression of who you are, and there are just people in the world who, this is who they are,” local planner Shayna Papke told the Times. “They’re the outliers who like dark music and dark stories. They’re fascinated by the death part of life.”
According to the Times, over 100,000 people visit the Stanley each year, thanks to its offerings of ghost tours, weddings and more.
As the story goes, King, who was one of its visitors in September 1974, had a dream at the hotel that his then 3-year-old son was running through the halls screaming, according to The Smithsonian Channel. He then was inspired to write his book and called the hotel in The Shining The Overlook. While the 1980 movie of the same name did not film at the Stanley, the hotel was later featured in 1994's Dumb and Dumber.
The hotel isn't too easy to secure during this time of the year, as the outlet notes that only a limited number of couples are approved for October ceremonies, citing owner John Cullen.
Newlyweds Melanie Pingel and Kyle Johnson tied the knot at the Stanley on Oct. 13. As Pingel told the Times, she also booked a space in the hotel for family members who weren't as into the spookiness of their ceremony.
“My mom called it the place where the old ladies get to go have a break from it all,” she told the outlet.
The Stanley Hotel's website notes that the spot offers historical tours and special events throughout the year, including a costume ball, an annual concert gala and of course a "theatrical seance experience." As for the weddings, the site boasts the "unique mountain destination" in the Rocky Mountains via three indoor wedding spaces and some outdoor action, with a "memorable and unique mountain wedding venue experience in the shadow of the stunning Colorado Rockies."
In the month of October, some soon-to-be newlyweds like Pingel and Johnson basked in the location's spooky ambiance for their big day. That included mini coffins as place settings, flowers used as an ode to dripping blood, guests getting seasonal tattoos and even spooky-themed cabaret dancers, according to the Times.
“Our taste is a little different than most people’s taste,” Johnson told the outlet.
Even Pingel's black wedding dress, designed by Kim Kassas, was in theme. As Papke explained to the outlet, other weddings she helps put together at the venue (like that of Lauren Nichols and Jeffrey Sheffler on Oct, 28) will feature bridal fangs, bat wings, an animatronic The Conjuring doll and a best man dressed as a dragon.
As she explained, she doesn't intend to help plan “weddings where everything is styled very pretty, where it’s a white dress and blush flowers and guests walk in and it’s chicken and mashed potatoes and then people dance to ‘Y.M.C.A.’ and leave to bubbles in the ballroom.”
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