Tara Kennedy has always had a passion for horror films, dressing up and zombies. So when it came time for her fiancé, Al Vona, a construction worker in Keyport, to propose, there was no question he would embrace her favorite holiday, Halloween.
On October 31, 2010, Al carved “Will you marry me?” out of several small pumpkins lit by candles. How could she refuse? A Halloween-themed wedding was planned for October 28, 2011, and the couple drew inspiration from the 2001 psychological horror film The Others, set in post–World War II Europe.
Tara and Al enlisted wedding planner Agnieshka Burke of Pumpkin Coach Events in Short Hills to execute Tara’s vision of a spooky affair while still remaining elegant. Burke organized details such as a contortionist to perform during dinner, managed their large bridal party (11 bridesmaids and 11 groomsmen) and coordinated donations to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital in place of favors.
The couple exchanged vows during a candlelight ceremony at Christ Church in Summit, followed by a reception at The Grand Summit. Both locations provided the old-world, gothic inspiration Tara, a high school teacher in South Amboy, felt was essential for her special day.
In keeping with the tradition “something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue,” Tara wore a blue garter under her new wedding gown by Eve of Milady and antique jewelry borrowed from her grandmother that had been passed down from her great-grandmother.
The best part of the day, says the couple, was the reception, when they could sit back, breathe and just party. The newlyweds continued the celebration with a week-long honeymoon in St. Martin, before returning to their home in Keyport.