When you think of a wedding no doubt chandeliers, fairy lights, romantic décor, flowers and dancing come to mind. Huge sums of money are spent annually to ensure perfect wedding days. However, some people want to add a little extra excitement to their ceremony, and not in the sense you may think. Some choose unconventional days such as Friday the 13th or Halloween to add a little horror to their fairytale. Others choose locations that are ‘out of the ordinary’ and also a whole lot of creepy. On this list are just a few such venues around the world where you can have the wedding of your dreams… or you know, nightmares.
10 The Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel
The Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel, which opened in May 1927, is the oldest hotel in LA. It offers over 25,000 square feet of space and can cater for up to 1500 wedding guests. Its rooms are lavish, a reminder of the golden age of Hollywood. This is not surprising considering its former guests included celebrities such as Marilyn Monroe and Charlie Chaplin.
But Hollywood can be found here in more ways than one. The hotel is well known for its hauntings. And the spectres are not just any old ghosts either; they include Montgomery Clift who loves messing around with people’s luggage or annoying them with a trumpet. It is also said that Marilyn Monroe haunts a mirror that used to hang in the suite she stayed in.
Room 213 is inhabited by a headless ghost that likes to scare the living daylights out of guests while the taps and TV turn on and off by itself.
Nevertheless, if these things don’t bother you and you want a wedding with a difference, the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel might just be the venue for you.
9 Walworth Castle Hotel
Castles are very popular wedding venues and the Walworth Castle Hotel in Darlington is no exception. The castle dates to the 12th century. Set on beautiful green lawns and offering indoor and outdoor weddings, this place is truly a dream come true for brides-to-be.
However, the castle’s breathtakingly beautiful exterior belies its gruesome history.
Legend has it that hundreds of years ago a female servant was involved in an affair with one of the lords of the castle. Worried for his reputation, he had the girl walled into the staircase during renovations at the castle to keep anyone from finding out about the affair. It is also believed the girl had been pregnant at the time of her terrible death. Ever since her demise, a downcast spectre has been seen wandering around the castle after emerging from the staircase.
This is just one of many ghostly activities that have been reported by patrons and employees. Some have heard screams emanating from the wall behind the staircase while others have reported having their hair pulled or seeing shadows floating down corridors or sitting in armchairs.
8 Berkeley Castle
As a wedding venue, Berkeley Castle in Gloucestershire is just about perfect. This 11th century fortress was opened to the public in 1956. It is an imposing structure with stunning photo backdrops around every corner. Couples can choose to have a church wedding or civil ceremony in one of the massive rooms and then enjoy a picture-perfect stroll alongside lily ponds and historic terraces. Walking along the lawns, they will trace the footsteps of Queen Elizabeth I. It all promises to be an unforgettable experience.
Berkeley Castle has a dark history, however. There is a dungeon on the premises that used to house animal carcasses. It is said that Edward II was imprisoned near the dungeon in 1327 in the hopes that the rotten smell of decomposing animals would make him sick. When this didn’t work, according to legend, Edward II was murdered within the castle; his screams echoing across the lawns.
These days it is rumored that the dungeon also included human remains and one can hear their disembodied screams, mingled with the terrified screams of Edward’s ghost, emanating from the castle.
7 1886 Crescent Hotel and Spa
1886 Crescent Hotel and Spa in Eureka Springs, Arkansas offers luxury and comfort including spa and salon services, gourmet meals, a couples retreat and bridal services. Being a destination resort, guests can enjoy hikes, wine tastings, walking trails, a local skate park and much more.
The hotel is also known as the most haunted in America and its history includes terrifying events. During construction, a stonemason by the name of Michael fell to his death inside the building. In the early 1900s a young woman fell from a top story window, with some reports saying she had been pushed. The hotel changed hands many times over the years and was eventually sold to Norman Baker in 1937 who decided to turn it into a hospital.
Baker turned out to be a psycho who offered ‘miracle’ cures for cancer. He would make sure his patients had no immediate family who would come looking for them and had them sign letters stating they were cured in case anyone enquired about them. He performed surgery in the basement of the hotel, during which he would drill holes in patients’ skulls and pour mixtures of water, corn silk, carbolic acid and watermelon seeds inside it.
Under the guise of being a ‘psychiatric ward’ one wing of the building was inaccessible to anyone but Baker. Patients who cried out in excruciating pain after waking up from their ‘surgery’ could not be heard from outside the ward. When these patients died, he would send a notice to any extended family the specific patient may have had and request money for a ‘funeral’.
Many sightings of spectral doctors and nurses as well as patients wandering the hotel have been reported. The hotel offers ghost tours as a value add and guests can visit the basement where Baker’s horrors took place and view an old autopsy table still on display.
6 Hawthorne Hotel
The Hawthorne Hotel was established in 1925 and is situated in Salem, Massachusetts. It is one of the Historic Hotels of America and have accommodated more than 1 million guests since its opening. A festive parade was held to celebrate the opening of the hotel on 23 July 1925. In the 60s a dance school was established inside the hotel and in the 70s the TV show Bewitched’s Salem Saga was partly filmed at the hotel. In 1990 a séance was held at Hawthorne in the hopes of conjuring up the ghost of Harry Houdini.
However, before the hotel was built, an apple orchard stood in its place. The orchard’s owner was Bridget Bishop; one of the first women to be executed during the Salem Witch Trials. Patrons have reported the smell of apples permeating the Hawthorne Hotel in recent times. The ghosts of sea captains have been encountered at the hotel as well. It is also said that the spectre of a woman hovers at the door of Room 612 while in Room 325 taps turn on and off on their own and a baby cries faintly from a corner.
5 Lizzie Borden Bed and Breakfast
If the Hawthorne Hotel is not quite creepy enough, you can always have your wedding at the Lizzie Borden Bed and Breakfast in Massachusetts. This is arguably the most well-known entry on this list and unfortunately for all the wrong reasons. Lizzie Borden’s father, Andrew, and stepmother, Abby, were murdered with an axe in 1892. Lizzie was initially not a suspect, but after the police investigation failed to lead them to the culprit, officers started to believe that Lizzie might just be the killer.
It was discovered that Lizzie tried to buy prussic acid before the murders and burned one of her dresses shortly after the murders. Considering she had no blood on her clothes on the day, it was thought she may have committed the crimes while naked. However, Lizzie Borden was acquitted on 19 June 1893 after a 14-day trial.
The remaining mystery of who killed the Bordens is a drawcard for tourists worldwide. And, couples who want a wedding with a difference. Some patrons of the B&B claimed to have encountered the ghosts of the murdered couple. Abby is said to scream every now and then while Andrew simply walks through the building going about his usual business.
4 The Moors Castle
Muldersdrift in Gauteng, South Africa is well known for its spectacular wedding venues. The area forms part of the Cradle of Humankind World Heritage Site and is located on the Crocodile River.
One of the most popular wedding venues in Muldersdrift is the Moors Castle. The venue is completely off-grid and runs on solar power. Water is supplied via a borehole and the roof is designed to catch rainwater which is filtered to the building. The castle includes an outside amphitheatre and offers wedding packages as well as conference accommodation and live shows.
The Moors Castle also has a reputation for being haunted by dark shadows that flit about in the woods surrounding the building. A paranormal investigation team decided to follow up on the reports and stumbled upon the ghost of a Victorian-era woman in a black dress while following the sound of screams coming from the nearby river. Legend also has it that the site of the Moors Castle used to be a place of rituals that encouraged healing and that a ‘serpent’ lady used to appear in the river.
3 Death Valley
Death Valley lies in Eastern California and is one of the hottest places in the world. Much of the Death Valley National Park lies within its borders and it is surrounded by mountain ranges. There is a popular outdoor wedding venue called The Oasis located in Death Valley that features a historic inn and luxurious finishes.
Death Valley itself however is the site of many paranormal events. The valley contains many ghost towns and according to legend also the remains and ghosts of miners. It is said that Joe Simpson’s headless ghost roams Death Valley and the gunshot that killed him rings out every year on the anniversary of his death.
The Amargosa Opera House and Hotel is said to be one of the most haunted hotels in the area. Guests have reported hearing disembodied children’s voices and seeing flying objects inside the hotel. In the opera house, a ghost cat lingers, and spectral parties carry on unabated (much the same as in the Overlook Hotel).
Death Valley is also the site where the spectres of actor Walter Scott and his dog still inhabit his mansion known as Scotty’s Castle. Scott has been seen sitting at the fireplace while his dog brushes up against guests’ legs. Guests of the mansion have also reported suffering from panic attacks that dissipate once they leave the premises.
2 Dracula’s Castle
Bran Castle or Dracula’s Castle has its history linked to Vlad the Impaler who inspired Bram Stoker’s Dracula novel. The castle is situated in Transylvania and it is rumored that Vlad may have stayed over here and even attacked it. It was once the home of Queen Marie of Romania who loved the peace and quiet it offered. After she died her heart was buried in the fireplace. Her ghost remains here, walking up and down in the gardens.
The castle is also a wedding venue and ceremonies can be held inside the dungeon. (Just keep in mind that it has been reported the castle does not have running water or functioning bathrooms.) It is also believed that medieval ghosts haunt the castle and terrorize villages nearby. There are tales of poltergeists and even demonic possession surrounding the castle. Some even believe that the ghost of Vlad inhabits the place, continuing an eternal reign of terror.
1 Q Station
On North Head in Sydney, Australia, lies Q Station. This hotel and wedding venue offer heritage halls to hold ceremonies in and some of its locations overlook the Sydney Harbour and Quarantine Beach.
Before it held the promise of a perfect wedding however, Q Station (Quarantine Station) held patients susceptible to ship-borne disease between 1832 and 1984. Patients were only released when considered no longer infectious. Many died here of the Spanish flu, typhoid, small-pox and scarlet fever.
Over the years Q Station has gained the reputation of being one of the most haunted sites in Australia. Visitors here have reported seeing a man in a fedora hat holding the hand of a child. The man has also been caught on camera inside one of the old shower cubicles. Some have heard voices asking: ‘why are you here?’. Others have taken pictures of ghostly shadows closing doors inside the building.
Some tourists have become physically ill and nauseated while walking around the building while others claimed to have smelled perfume wafting from an invisible person. There have also been reports of a spectral mortician walking the grounds of Q Station and a nurse called Matron patrolling the old hospital ward.