Tower of Terror Engagement Photo Shoot at Castle Green
Join us for Anthony and Mark’s Tower of Terror Engagement Photo Shoot as we transform Castle Green, in Pasadena California, into the infamous, Hollywood Tower Hotel. This Tower of Terror Engagement Photo Shoot set the tone for the couple’s spooky, Fall wedding, of the same theme, just a few months later at another historic property, The Ebell of Los Angeles.
Welcome to The Hollywood Tower Hotel. We are dying to have you with us! (*cue thunder and lighting!)
Anthony, a nurse, and Mark, a banker, are avid Disneyland fans who frequent the parks, as well as, on the Disney cruise line with their son, Greyson, often. Fitting that when it came time to plan their nuptials, The Tower of Terror, based on the fictional Hollywood Tower Hotel “constructed in 1929”, had to play a role.
For more stylized engagement shoots, check out the Anything But Gray Events blog.
For those that might not be familiar, The Tower of Terror, inspired by the classic television series, The Twilight Zone, was an exhilarating elevator ride at Disneyland in Anaheim, California, from 2004 to 2017, becoming a cult classic that fans miss dearly. These lovebirds especially loved the ride for its storytelling, time-period-specific design, and immersive guest experience. Those theatrical elements were aspects they wanted to carry over into their engagement photo shoot and then subsequent wedding day!
Photos: White Rabbit Photo Boutique
Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, Castle Green, in Pasadena, California acted as our version of The Hollywood Tower Hotel, a fictional hotel located in Los Angeles, CA, just toward the end of Sunset Blvd. The fictional history of the hotel, first depicted in The Twilight Zone and then later transitioned into a live-action ride at Disneyworld then Disneyland, “opened” in 1928 and quickly became a beacon for the show business elite.” As the story goes, on October 31, 1939, lightning struck the Hollywood Tower Hotel, and an elevator carrying five guests mysteriously vanished. This storyline is where the elevator’s focus comes into play as the villainous main character of the tale.
Although in no way haunted or sinister, Castle Green, now an event venue and elite condominium location was once originally the Green Hotel. The unique space paid homage to The Hollywood Tower Hotel and acted as the backdrop to our Tower of Terror Engagement Photo Shoot.
We could not have asked for a more perfect location which included a vintage elevator of its own.
Don’t worry, no one has ever vanished in the elevator at Castle Green!
With lush outdoor grounds, Castle Green has had banana trees for over 100 years.
We loved the banana trees so much, that we added them to the Dale Sizer drawing that would later become our version of the Tower, seen below.
With my background in stage management and set design for live theater, my process is probably different than other wedding planners. I knew, for such a specific theme, starting from the drawing board, literally, and setting the tone, mood, and vibe for this photo shoot was incredibly important. I worked backward from having already designed their wedding for more than a year, to finalizing the process by designing an engagement shoot that not only complimented but worked for us to create visuals to incorporate into the wedding day as well.
While it is in celebration of a wedding after all, we wanted the feeling to be more spooky than scary and more stylized than cartoony. Sourcing time-period-specific pieces that completed a hotel atmosphere like a push luggage cart, vintage luggage, and a brass desk bell, was key. For that, I turned to Gracefully Vintaged Rentals.
With a custom illustration, first painted on canvas and then converted to digital by famed artist, Dale Sizer, the imagery of our tower slowly but powerfully emerged. Our version of the tower, with warmer tones of plum, burgundy, and port created a color story that was warmer than the original, cooler-toned facade.
From there, Gilded Swan Paperie, the go-to source for custom vintage-inspired wedding invitations and stationery built a complete suite that was used through the engagement shoot and then, later, wedding day to breathe life into the alternative universe we had created, step by step.
While it pays homage to the original look of the tower and storyline, our Tower of Terror Engagement Photo Shoot at Castle Green is a one-of-a-kind depiction created especially for this unique couple.
The crafted stationery included custom save-the-dates, invitations, wax seals, a crest featuring the couple’s initials, as well as skeleton key tags, luggage tags, do-not-disturb hotel room tags, and letterhead.
Beautiful hand calligraphy by Sophscript Co. rounded out the stationery design details.
Flatlay images: Peterson Design & Photography
The devil is indeed in all the details. If you look closely, you will notice the imagery on the Save The Dates mirrors the shape of a vintage elevator dial. No details were spared in flushing out our theatrical, Tower of Terror-inspired world.
The grooms were outfitted in tuxedos by Friar Tux then custom Bellhop costumes created by Anthony’s mother for all three gentlemen. Male grooming and ultimately, SPFX makeup by Diamond Beauty Hair & Makeup.
Storytelling, overall experience, and theatrical envelopment are something we find truly meaningful. The human species thinks in metaphors and learns through stories. Storytelling can inspire, enliven, and create instant rapport. Storytelling makes you FEEL. It is that feeling that is at the core of every incredible event experience.
Storytelling and expression are at the core of every wedding, event, and photo shoot we plan, design, and style at Anything But Gray Events.
The storyboard for this Anthony and Mark’s Tower of Terror Engagement photoshoot takes the viewer on a fictional journey back in time to The Hollywood Tower Hotel.
“You unlock this door with the key of imagination. Beyond it is another dimension – a dimension of sound, a dimension of sight, a dimension of mind. You’re moving into a land of both shadow and substance, of things and ideas. You’ve just crossed over into the Twilight Zone.” – spoken by the Narrator of The Twilight Zone.
On a seemly lovely afternoon, the happy couple, Anthony and Mark, excited to check into the hotel for a weekend away together, are kindly greeted by the youngful yet reserved bellhop, played by their son, real-life son, Greyson.
As they check in and wander the ornate lobby and notice the grand piano in the foyer, their luggage is being loaded onto the bellhop’s cart. The gentlemen are to be escorted to their room in the hotel by the bellhop, now eager to make their acquaintance.
As they walk down the hall, the sound of his collection of hotel keys jingles in his pocket. They notice that there is something very strange and unusual about this hotel. The grandfather clock seems to be moving backward while the lamps that light the walls dime every so softly as they pass. A mysterious feeling washes over the couple. An uneasy dread they can’t put their finger on. A slight terror if you will.
While their fear begins to bubble up, so does their curiosity.
What is happening, they wonder.
They aren’t prepared for what is to happen next.
As they enter the elegant elevator, piled high with luggage, the bellhop in tow, and the metal door latches with a distinct scraping. The lights begin to flicker and the bulb swings. The elevator pully begins to crank wildly. They hear a crash and suddenly feel completely weightless.
They look down at once was their dapper attire to find themselves sporting the same bellhop uniforms.
They have been taken to another dimension, where they two are now transformed into bellhops, doomed to a life of servitude in The Tower of Terror for the rest of eternity!
Be warned, once you check into The Hollywood Tower Hotel, you might never check out!
With their destiny sealed, these three, now begin their journey together as the forever employees of The Hollywood Tower Hotel.
Over the last 12 years in business, I have had the creative pleasure of designing many styled photoshoots for both corporate and wedding clients, but this Tower of Terror-inspired engagement shoot is my favorite. What a unique way of celebrating not only your partner and the love you have for each other but also the love you have for a passion that brings you both joy!
For even more fun, Elevate Films created a montage of what a first-hand experience of checking into The Hollywood Tower Hotel would feel like. Check it out!