LAKE WINOLA — The wedding and reception of Brink Powell and John Dominic McNulty IV on Oct. 31 was anything but normal. Stage blood and gruesome weapons replaced classic floral arrangements that traditionally serve as centerpieces for such occasions. Guests avoided cocktail dresses and black ties, arriving instead in Halloween costumes. And, rather than yards of white tulle, the reception venue was draped in yellow crime scene tape.
Although the event better fit the description of a Halloween party than a wedding, it was the perfect fit for the couple, who wouldn’t have had it any other way.
“If he didn’t want to get married on Halloween and we didn’t have that theme to go off of, we would have gone to the courthouse,” said the bride. “I was not that little girl that dreamed of a puffy white dress — not in any way, shape or form.”
And to the groom, whose favorite movie of all time is “The Crow,” this was a wedding dream come true.
“In the film, the couple is going to get married on Halloween, and I thought, ‘Oh wow, that’s a cool idea,’” he said. “So I always thought how much fun that would be.”
Their guests agreed.
A motley crew
Dressed as everything from Edgar Allan Poe, a role assumed by Joseph Croft, bridesman (yes, that’s bridesman — why not?), to the Bride of Frankenstein, portrayed by Lottie Powell, mother of the bride, guests celebrated enthusiastically. The Halloween wedding was held at the Masonic Hall in Nicholson, with a horror movie-themed reception at the Lake Winola Cottagers Association Pavilion.
The wedding was officiated by Dane Bower II and Rev. Lucas R. Taylor. In addition to Croft, the bridal party consisted of Sara Talarico, “maid of terror;” Stacy Salerno, bridesmaid; Briana Lindsey, bridesmaid; John Carpenetti, best man; Tommy Jopling, groomsman and brother-in-law of the groom; Martin Reynolds, groomsman; and Matt Severcool, groomsman. Brandon and Aidan Jopling, nephews of the groom, were ushers.
The bride is the daughter of Harry and Lottie Powell, of La Plume, and a 2010 graduate of Keystone College. She is employed as the secretary of special education for the Lackawanna Trail School District. The groom is the son of Susan and Jude Kellet, of Avoca, and the late John “Mac” D. McNulty III. He is a 2002 graduate of Bloomsburg University and works at Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs as a guest relations representative.
When asked of her initial reaction to the idea of a Halloween wedding, the mother of the bride said she didn’t think twice about it and wouldn’t have expected anything less of the couple.
“I thought it was fantastic,” she said of the wedding. “I thought it was everything they envisioned and it was exactly what they wanted.”
From ‘theater friends’ to more
McNulty and the former Miss Powell first met at a mutual friend’s house in 2007, when both were dating other individuals. Although they had much in common, as both were heavily involved in community theater, it wasn’t “love at first sight.”
“We kind of became what I classify as theater friends, where you see people for the length of rehearsal and the show, and then you kind of go your separate ways and meet up the next time you’re doing a show together,” said Powell.
Then in May 2011, when both were again single, they independently went to see a concert by another mutual friend’s band and got to talking. Powell said when McNulty learned of her relationship status, he told her, “That’s actually great news, because now we can date.”
He called her a couple weeks later and asked her out.
She said yes.
Then she called him back and said no, explaining it was too soon after the break-up with her ex.
They then came to an agreement in which they would “hang out” in groups and get to know each other better without dating. They did this for about six months, until going out on their first private date. They became engaged Aug. 9, 2014.
When asked if he was crushed when she called him back and said “no” after he initially asked her out, McNulty said, “Oh, God, yeah. It was hard, because I didn’t know if I was making any progress whatsoever. All I had, really, was patience. So, I did my best impression of me that I could possibly think of and eventually I got real lucky.”
In the end, he said “finding this amazing person who saw me for everything I am and didn’t want to change a thing, somehow,” was “well worth the wait.”
Although some may not associate an enthusiasm for horror movies with a caring and comedic personality, McNulty possesses all three, something his new wife loves about him.
“I think what I got inscribed in his ring describes it best,” she said. “He makes me laugh. Every day, all day, just laughter.”
Aspiring to inspire
In his speech during the reception, the best man touched on the importance of communication, saying he admires the new Mr. and Mrs. McNulty in that aspect of their relationship.
“I see both of them do that very well,” Carpenetti said. “It’s wonderful to watch them interact, and…the love they have for each other.”
And that, amid all the fun and creepy Halloween decor, was the real purpose behind the celebration.
To the bride and groom, it wasn’t just about being different. It was about being themselves. It was about inspiring others to do the same, whatever that may look like for them.
“As long as everyone has fun and celebrates, that’s the point of this whole thing,” said the groom.
For the most part, the reactions the couple received from family and friends were of a positive nature. But when they took the idea to theknot.com, an online community for brides-to-be, negativity flowed. After taking her fill of rude and downright mean comments, Powell eventually stopped using the website.
“I think way too often people get sucked into what’s popular and what’s trendy, and what TLC thinks you should have at your wedding,” she said. “And I just like that ours says, ‘No, we’re doing this. Too bad.’”