Couple hosts Tim Burton-themed wedding in Manistee

MANISTEE — It’s not too often that you hear music from “The Nightmare Before Christmas” at a wedding.

However, a Tim Burton theme seemed like a natural fit for Graham Donaldson, of Honolulu, and Janelle Swathwood, of Manistee.

“We wanted to get married this fall and Tim Burton is one of our favorite directors,” said bride Swathwood, just hours before her wedding. “Basically (Halloween) was a unique way to “incorporate that). And we’re just a little bit different.”

Burton has directed a multitude of films such as “The Nightmare Before Christmas,” “Corpse Bride,” “Alice in Wonderland” and “Sweeney Todd.”

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Swathwood is a registered nurse and works at Little River Casino Resort. Donaldson also works at the casino. 

Donaldson said the couple wanted to make their special day — Oct. 31 — a fun one.

“We aren’t the most conventional of couples and it was just like OK, how do we make this a really fun time?” he said.

It’s also not too often that wedding guests get to view a film before a wedding ceremony.

But that’s what about guests did on Monday at the Vogue Theatre before Donaldson and Swathwood said their vows on the stage below the silver screen.

Guests even received movie tickets with the couple’s names on them.

“It’s the theme of our wedding. We thought it would be fun to play that beforehand, and the Vogue was able to accommodate us with that,” said Swathwood. “Guests can arrive and have popcorn, beer, and wine and watch the movie, and then the ceremony will start right after.”

While the wedding party was not dressed in Tim Burton-type garb, guests were encouraged to dress up for the ceremony and reception.

Following the ceremony, the wedding party and guests took a short walk to the Ramsdell Regional Center for the Arts, where the reception took place.

“The Time Warp” from “The Rocky Horror Picture Show,” music from “Beetlejuice” and other Halloween-themed songs were in the musical lineup for the couple’s big day.

The reception also included henna tattoos for the kids and trick-or-treating.

While the Ramsdell is a regular wedding venue, Executive Director Xavier Verna said it has not hosted one with this theme in his tenure.

“The Ramsdell welcomes anybody who would like to host any special event, and we’re happy to work with Graham and Janelle to make their wedding day extra special,” he said.