A Nova Scotia couple who love all things macabre, dark and spooky took their relationship to the next level earlier this month by getting married inside a haunted house.
The couple, Ceilidh and Sebastian Wilkolaski, had their first date at a haunted house, so it was only fitting that they said their vows at Phantom's FreakShow in Kentville on Oct. 14.
"It's become our thing and our niche and it's just always such a good time," Sebastian said.
"I just thought it would be a pretty awesome and unique [way to get married]. It's very us."
The Wilkolaskis met through mutual friends about four years ago and quickly formed a bond over their love for all things horror.
That's why a haunted house was the perfect first date location for the couple.
"Unlike a restaurant or a movie theatre, a haunted house is definitely the best and quickest way to see what a person is like under pressure or under unforeseen circumstances," Ceilidh said.
"I think by being put — voluntarily, mind you — in these scenarios, it really helps you see how you're going to click with that person and how you're going to work through things together, even though they may not be real situations."
Ceilidh said the terrifying experience allowed them to be vulnerable, which doesn't typically happen within the first few dates.
"You get a really good picture of who you're with and your potential life partner," she said.
"It certainly did for me anyway and it seems that I was not wrong in my assumptions about Seb, especially after our first few dates."
Although the pair love the Halloween season, they didn't originally plan a wedding inside a haunted house.
They had planned a destination wedding in Jamaica last year, but the COVID-19 pandemic forced them to postpone multiple times.
So in September, after more than a year of waiting and with the Halloween season approaching, Sebastian suggested they get married where it all began — at a haunted house.
Ceilidh was immediately on board and contacted a friend, who happens to own and operate Phantom's FreakShow in Kentville.
Phantom's FreakShow is an annual haunted house — complete with special effects makeup, dozens of actors and spooky sets — that raises money for local charities every Halloween season.
The organizers, Jaimie and Aaron Peerless, were more than willing to help their friends get married.
Jaimie, who paints living-art portraits, even designed a black-and-white set within the haunted house specifically for the wedding.
"All of the furniture, all of the decor on the walls — everything looked as if it were in a painting, like you walked into the room and the room was a painting, essentially," Ceilidh said.
"It was almost like being in a creepy dollhouse," Sebastian added with a laugh.
After only two weeks of planning, Ceilidh and Sebastian had their small, quiet and dark ceremony inside the haunted house with their close friends and family.
Ceilidh wore a lace black wedding dress, crown and veil, and Sebastian wore a black suit.
They said the ceremony was everything they had imagined and more.
"Even though we didn't initially imagine getting married in a haunted house … I believe that things didn't work out before for a reason so we would have this opportunity to get married in a haunted house, which is by far more 'us' than Jamaica ever, ever would be," Ceilidh said.
Ceilidh said she's incredibly grateful to her friends at Phantom's FreakShow for hosting their wedding.
"Their hospitality and generosity, that's what made our day possible," she said. "Without them and their understanding, we literally wouldn't have had a wedding."
In a Facebook post, Phantom's FreakShow said the Wilkolaskis's wedding was the first ever within their ''haunted halls," but it won't be their last.
They have another wedding planned for Halloween on Sunday.
"Apparently this is a trend. Either way we love being a part of making happy memories in our haunt," a spokesperson said in a Facebook message.
"It's a different vibe than making people pee their pants."
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