Ethan and Chantra Briggs of Burleson were just a few weeks into a year's worth of wedding planning when they got an email that would let them bump up the date. The only catch? They'd have to get married at the amusement park Six Flags Over Texas, and they'd have to be made up as monsters for the ceremony.
But that's exactly the kind of wedding the Briggses would have planned if money and time were not obstacles. They were one of 13 couples who won the chance to have their "HalloWedding" on Friday, Oct. 13, at Six Flags Over Texas as part of a contest for the park's annual Halloween Fright Fest.
"I was online trying to purchase a season pass, and I came across the contest on the webpage, and I said, 'We should do this,'"
Being scared and watching horror movies have become a big part of the Briggses life together. Ethan says he and Chantra celebrate Halloween the way other couples celebrate Valentine's Day.
"Just about every day,
Couples either renewed their vows or got married in a special ceremony on a stage at the park's front gates. Participants received the full wedding treatment free of charge. First, Fright Fest makeup artists made them up to look like monsters. The Briggses were transformed into a Frankenstein couple, complete with face stitching.
Makeup artist Marcelina Villarreal says she and her crew had a little bit more time than normal to make the couples look their worst for their big day. She usually has less than a minute each to make up 100 actors a night during Fright Fest, but each wedding couple spent 30 minutes in the makeup chairs, being turned into matrimonial zombies and voodoo dolls.
"We did have a little bit more time with the couples so they could look a little bit fancier and
The couples also went through a quick rehearsal ceremony before their big moment at the unholy altar of love. Family and friends of the brides and grooms were invited to attend, but visitors to the park could also witness the ceremony.
"When everybody started coming in and we both walked onstage, I could just see [Chantra] shaking, and she's looking out and keeps looking at the crowd of people and whispering, 'Oh my God, there's so many people. I'm so nervous,'" Ethan says. "She was just like, 'Oh my God, this is really happening.'"
The park hosted a reception for the couples, complete with wedding funnel cakes for each couple and two huge "HalloWedding" cakes for everyone. They also got to have their first dance together and, in lieu of limo rides to head off on their honeymoons, they took their first roller-coaster rides as married couples on The Titan or The Texas Giant.
Chantra says they chose The Titan.
"My husband wanted to go on the tallest ride there,"
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The event presented a unique opportunity to the winning couples, but Villareal says it was special for the makeup artists, too.
"It kind of makes me laugh because I specialize in haunt makeup and special-effects makeup, but I've also done some bridal makeup in the past, like a lot of my colleagues when the season's not going on, but this is a wedding makeup job that you don't tend to see every day," Villarreal says. "So I'm getting to fuse the two together."
Ethan says he and his bride have no regrets about taking a laid-back, spontaneous approach to their wedding.
"People put too much emphasis on big weddings and focus on all the little things," he says. "If you just get two people together who really love each other, it doesn't matter the package that it comes in."