Salem celebrates wedding with presiders in ghoulish attire
SALEM, Mass. (AP) — A small group gathered on the waterfront for a wedding ceremony Sunday that was plagued by interruptions.
A vampire barged into the service to deliver flowers.
Rings were “hand-delivered” by a mass murderer using a severed hand.
And a man reported missing long ago returned just in time for a light bulb in his mouth to be smashed by the Jewish groom.
Welcome to Salem, where dreams — or nightmares? — often come true.
Saugus residents Brittany and Eric Rubin were wed Sunday afternoon behind the House of the Seven Gables in front of about 20 family and friends. The event was orchestrated by Salem’s Black Hat Society, a Witch City busker duo less known by their real names: Brian Sims and Priscilla Davis.
With Sims and Davis came their own guests: horror film icon Jason Voorhees, legendary vampire Dracula and the main members of the Addams Family (sans Cousin It, which was understandable given the hot weather).
“We definitely have Salem as one of the destinations that means the most to us,” said Brittany Rubin. “We feel really comfortable there, like a lot of the stores, like to shop locally. And we’re having a hand-fashioned wedding, so we thought, ‘let’s go all out.’”
The wedding wasn’t by the Rubins’ design. Rather, it was the brainchild of Sims and Davis, who only started donning mainstream fantasy witch attire a few years ago after first meeting on social media.
“He was a Salem man. I live in Nahant and had worked for four years with another group of girls when I decided I wanted to do something a little more extravagant,” Davis said. “I stepped out of that group and was all alone and like... now what?”
At the same time, Sims posted to the web in search of a dance partner. Davis reached out, mentioning that she was accustom to dressing as a witch on Essex Street.
Their partnership formed in the interest of raising money for charity during Salem’s Haunted Happenings season. Last year, they donated proceeds to Salem Children’s Charity.
“The first and second week we were out there, city workers, councilors, business owners came out and said, ‘what you guys are doing is great,’” Sims said. “People would just say, ‘you guys are positive. You have this energy that Salem needs.’”
Which is odd... because “Borah Brewington Snaggletooth XIII” — that’s Sims under the green paint — is a cruel and sarcastic witch with nothing short of a biting tongue. Snaggletooth continually cackles and barks insults and commands at passersby, while Davis’ “Xander Diamond” keeps quiet. But she has no hesitation creeping up and in on guests engaging with Snaggletooth and trying to snap selfies.
In other words, these aren’t the most likely people to officiate a formal wedding ceremony.
“A couple reached out to us through our website and said, ‘we’re getting married,’ and would we marry them,” Sims said. “I said, ‘we’re not wedding planners. We’re not going to plan the wedding, because we’ve never done that before.’ Then they said they wanted it to be a Halloween wedding.”
Of course it had to be a Halloween wedding.
“Both of our mothers loved Salem,” Brittany Rubin said. “I’m from Rhode Island, and my mother used to take us to Salem every Halloween. We’d get together with every member of the family, dress up and go to the Hawthorne Hotel.”
Eric Rubin grew up in Marblehead, giving him a much closer perspective on the Witch City than his partner in life.
“It’s crazy to be an adult and walk around Salem now,” Brittany Rubin said. “It’s still really large, but as a kid, it felt so enormous.”
So the engaged couple had to have their dream Salem wedding, and the call to officiate it went to Borah and Xander. Where the couple was persistent with their vision, the Black Hat Society saw opportunity.
The ceremony also blended in pagan and Jewish traditions reflected of the bride and groom’s backgrounds.
“I didn’t know how this was going to come together,” Sims said. “I thought it was going to be the witches doing our comedy thing, and this separate entity of a pagan wedding.”
But by the time the group wrote up a script and hammered out a rehearsal, “it was amazing and powerful,” Sims said.
The interruptions were a complete surprise to the couple.
When rings were called for, a bewildered bride was shocked to see Jason shambling toward her and her groom, carrying a hand that looked suspiciously like that of Freddy Krueger’s clutching a pair of rings.
At the end of the ceremony, the party found itself missing a glass article to smash as part of Jewish tradition. Cue Uncle Fester running into the scene with a lit light bulb hanging out of his mouth, which Borah snatched from his teeth and quickly wrapped in a piece of cloth.
Every step of the way, bewilderment yielded to laughter. The couple joined in on jokes when enticed, and efforts to move the procession to an after-wedding reception were briefly delayed by a crushing wave of selfie requests, group photos and more.
“They went above and beyond,” Brittany said, a couple days ahead of the ceremony. “I can’t tell you... they’ve put their heart and soul into this. Anything we’ve needed, they were just there, calling us, messaging us.”
Eric Rubin said the witches were “humble, sweet.”
“I’ve never seen someone put so much effort into something,” the groom said, “to make sure it goes perfectly.”
Information from: The Salem (Mass.) News, http://www.salemnews.com