December 18, 2014

Elyria
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It’s a nice day for a black wedding

ELYRIA — Who needs a white satin gown, tuxedo and tails and a church full of people to have a spectacular wedding?
Certainly not Elyria couple Faith Charity and Shawn Culligan.

They have been there, done that and have the divorce scars to prove it. So this Halloween, the couple said they are doing things their way.

JASON MILLER / CHRONICLE
Shawn Culligan and Faith Charity will get married on Halloween.

“We have never been ones for tradition,” Charity said. “My daughter freaked when I told her I was wearing a black dress. But you know what — it’s my wedding, and I will do what I want to do.”

If you haven’t figured it out yet, this will not be your typical matrimonial affair.

The ceremony will take place at sunset against a backdrop of the Vermilion Lighthouse. Charity will wear a Renaissance-period black and red gown, while Culligan will wear a templar knight surcoat and chain mail.

The path leading to the front door of their home, where a small reception will be held following the ceremony, will be adorned with stuffed black crows perched atop wreaths and vines. Inside, small cauldrons will dangle above the fireplace. Gargoyles and tombstones across the mantel.

“I think the wedding is pretty cool,” Culligan said.

He was the one who came up with the idea to marry on his favorite holiday while playing homage to the “Lord of the Rings” trilogy and the “Dungeons and Dragons” role-playing game.

“Our wedding rings are just like the one in ‘Lord of the Rings,’ so we had to have everything else to match,” Culligan said. “We don’t do anything by tradition.”

Charity, 48, and Culligan, 38, met online while she was living in Texas and he in Elyria. After running up cell phone bills and criss-crossing the country, they decided to make their relationship permanent. Charity said she packed up and moved to Elyria in May 2006. It was the best move she ever made, she said.

“There’s not just one thing about him that I love. He’s a romantic, but doesn’t seem like it to the outward look,” Charity said as she glanced toward Culligan.

While not traditional, the day may actually be good luck, said Michelle Levesque of Grafton.
It was the day 21 years ago she married her husband, Jeff, in a small ceremony in North Olmsted. The couple ditched standing at the altar and instead hopped on two Harley Davidson motorcycles for the ceremony.

“It’s been a ride,” Levesque said. “We’re best friends and have a great marriage.”

Since then, the couple has celebrated their anniversary with a costume party with family and friends. There won’t be a party this year, however.

Jeff Levesque, who has been battling kidney cancer for more than two years, recently was admitted to University Hospital’s Ireland Cancer Center, where he is undergoing radiation treatment.

Culligan and Charity said surprisingly, they have not received too many confused looks from their friends as news of the Halloween wedding spread. However, that may not remain the case next Wednesday when guests show up to the costume-mandatory reception at their home on Georgetown Avenue.

Those who don’t abide by the couple’s wishes will be obliged to wear a mask of the couple’s choosing.
“It’s our day and we will make it fun,” Charity said.

Contact Lisa Roberson at 653-6268 or lroberson@chroniclet.com