MUNCIE (STAR PRESS) - Consider it a traditional wedding with a twist.
The bride wore a white dress. The ring bearer and flower girl were adorable children who walked down the aisle playing their part. The groom smiled brightly as his bride walked toward him.
But all, including the officiant Brian Blair, were covered in gray skin with darkened eyes, fake blood dripping down their face, hair disheveled and clothes worn with holes and rips.
They looked like the walking dead. And they were happy about that.
"Abby (Riggs, the bride) and I have been pretty much into the zombie thing for a while and when I said to her, 'Let's have a zombie wedding at the Zombie Walk,' she agreed," said Thomas Ehmer, the groom for Saturday afternoon's wedding on the Ball State University Quad. "We've both been married before, so we know how serious weddings usually are and we wanted to do something that was fun. Something people would remember."
This wedding is definitely one the couple's family will never forget.
Ehmer's mother, Kay Chenoweth, said she was shocked when her son told her his wedding would have a zombie theme. She was still shocked Saturday afternoon as the vows were read.
But she was also happy for her son, who was marrying "a great girl."
"I love Abby. I think she's wonderful. But this wedding. ... When he told me, I was like, 'You have to be kidding?'" she said. "I did ask him, 'Is there going to be a Christian prayer?' I needed to know. He was like this as a younger boy, though. Always doing something different and being his own person so I know they're happy and that's all that matters. Everybody's having fun."
The Zombie Walk, now in its second year, provides zombie fans in the vein of the Ehmer newlyweds a chance to show off their costume creativity.
A zombie Peyton Manning held his football while shambling from block to block. The zombie Care Bear had fake blood around her mouth and pinkishly gray skin to show off what was once a sweet, living stuffed animal.
A pair of four-year-old zombie cheerleaders also played "Ring around the Zombie" to the tune of "Ring around the Rosie."
Even Blair, the wedding officiant and co-founder of the Zombie Walk, shuffled along in cardinal garb with drooling dried fake blood falling from his mouth and gray, raccooned makeup around his eyes.
"When these zombie walks started popping up in Fort Wayne and other places, I got with Brian to see if he was interested in doing one here," said Robert Abner, campus minister at Grace Village. He was the emcee for the walk. "I heard about some cities using it as a fundraiser for local groups, and I thought that was a great thing we could do, and he agreed."
Last year, zombie walkers and hunters donated more than 1,000 pounds of food to the Animal Rescue Fund and Second Harvest Food Bank of East Central Indiana. Organizers hoped to donate more this year.
The charity side of the Zombie Walk - all walkers and hunters are asked to bring nonperishable food items for pets and humans - made the day extra special for the bride.
She thought having her wedding would bring more attention to the Zombie Walk, perhaps encouraging more people to assist ARF and Second Harvest.
"It's for a great cause," said the new Abby Riggs Ehmer. "And this has been a great day. Usually at a wedding, you're worried about things not being perfect. Not today. We wanted to have fun and do something for a good cause. And we did."
Ivy Farguheson, Star Press