Baton Rouge couple turn haunted cemetery into wedding site

Thursday, November 1, 2012 - 11:15am

 A dream wedding for one local couple would be a nightmare for many.

Matt Burt and Jessica Rushing got married Wednesday night inside the necropolis at The 13th Gate.

Operators say it was the first time someone used their haunted house grounds for a Halloween wedding.

Rushing came up with the idea. Halloween is her favorite holiday, and once the date was settled, she reached out to a friend who runs the facility.

"I just figured if it was going to be on Halloween, it had to be a setting like this," Rushing said. "So I just thought it was going to be a lot of fun, and memorable."

"I wasn't surprised," said Mary Koehler, one of Rushing's bridesmaids. "It's right up her alley."

"Yeah, not in the least," agreed Noelle Andrus, another bridesmaid. "Very interesting, very original. Was not shocked."

Rushing said she and Burt are not a traditional couple. So aving the ceremony in afake cemetery was not a hard sell to her husband-to-be.

"He was down," she said. "Everybody's been pretty excited. We've been talking about it for months. So I think everyone's been looking forward to it."

Everyone from the wedding party was dressed in black and red, with the men in sneakers and Burt in shorts. Both bride and groom said they did not feel cheated out of the typical wedding experience.

"We're both kinda off the wall people," Burt said. "so I'm not really a fan of getting all fancied up for a tuxedo and all that kinda stuff."

While their friends loved the idea, their parents needed a little time to come around to the concept of a haunted wedding.

"Trying to explain it to coworkers is definintely an interesting experience," said Jeff Burt, Matt's father.

Most of the guests came in costume, including a pair in orange prison jumpsuits who claimed to be Jordan Jefferson and Tyrann Mathieu.

Even the pastor got in on the fun, yelling to the audience about his respect for Rushing and Burt.

"They kick butt," Michael Dodd told the attendees. "Plain and simple, they kick butt. And what happens when you have one thing that kicks butt, and another thing that kicks butt, and they get together? That's double butt-kicking!"

Matt Burt said that, while a cemetery or haunted house may not be right for every couple, making the wedding a unique experience is important.

"Do something fun," he said. "Don't do the traditional blah, blah, blah. It's way too much stress, and this has been relatively stress-free. And I've had a good time doing it."

The couple's reception was held at a downtown restaurant, where Rushing said there would be pumpkins for decoration. But Burt said their honeymoon would have nothing to do with Halloween.

With smiles all around after they exchaned vows, the fake cemetery was the perfect place for Rushing and Burt to start a new life.

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