A Lord Of The Rings Inspired Wedding
It was a gloriously sunny morning on Friday June 6th when I jumped out of bed feeling refreshed and exhilarated, “It’s my wedding day!”. What happened to my wedding anxiety dreams I’d been having for the past two weeks? The morning of my wedding, I was sure I would awake from a broken night sleep but no; somehow I slept like a baby, plus against what was forecast, the sun was shining! Even banging my head on the shower holder as I got ready couldn’t break my spirits. After over two years of planning, our big day was finally here and I was on cloud 9 nine.
Richard and I put our heart and soul into planning our wedding and were determine to make it as personalised and fun as possible. I can’t even remember how we decided it now, or whose suggestion it was, it just seems to fit so perfectly with us, we chose a (geek alert) Lord Of The Rings inspired wedding. One of the interests that bonded us was our mutual love for Lord Of The Rings. In fact Richard even proposed to me with a duplicate ring from the Movie adaptations (click this link to read my engagement story). By choosing a theme that we both love it made planning our wedding a huge amount of fun, getting us both involved and inspired.
As a Wedding Photographer, I have been so completely and utterly in my element while planning our wedding! Working in my dream job I have had the privilege of meeting so many wonderful wedding suppliers who helped make our day every bit as magical as I hoped it would be.
To photograph our big day I chose my friend and talented photographer Louise Morris. Louise and I met on a course at Aspire Photography training and instantly hit it off. It was so important to choose a photographer who I clicked with. The way Louise talked about how much she loves telling a story of a couple’s big day and all details big and small, really resonated with me. I knew she would capture all of the emotion and sprit of our day, especially as I am a bride and photographer who is all about the details.
We chose The Orestone Manor, Devon as our wedding venue for many reasons, the stunning views over the bay, the beautiful boutique décor, the way it fitted our theme, the list goes on. Although Richard and I live in Woking we decided to have our wedding in Devon (where Richards’s parents live). It was a great excuse for our family and friends to make a weekend break out of it and see just why we love Devon so much.
Being a lover of blogs and DIY brides, I have seen so many inspirational weddings that I decided to make the Centrepieces and stationary myself. It was mood board and Pinterest central as I gathered ideas for each table. We chose to have each of our tables as a realm in Middle Earth (Where Lord Of The Rings is set for all of you non LOTR fans). Each realm is individual and we wanted each centrepiece to reflect this. After my failed attempt to make the centrepieces from scratch, (Blue Peter style out of plaster of Paris and loo roll!) I decided to contact a lovely florist (Make it Special) who ordered me in some twisted Willow branches, which I used in addition to the twisted Hazel branches given to me by my lovely bridesmaids husband. Out were the old mood boards and in were the new. During a week in Devon I turned my Father-in-laws garage into ‘Lorraine Claire’s workshop!’ After having trouble buying flower pots out of the Christmas season, we decided to buy some gold spray-paint. Ebay was my friend, as I used it to find bits and pieces for my decorations as well as card for my stationary.
Gathering inspiration for Lord Of The Rings, I designed our Save the Date magnets from scratch in photoshop. There so many fab tutorials, and fonts available online which I used as a starting point for my designs. Rich and I were inspire by other designs for wedding invitations, so we built upon this, painstakingly copying the map of middle earth into photoshop to be printed on our card. It was important that all of our stationary design flowed so I created a main design theme (using a combination of Celtic paint brushes and an emblem from the books) which was the base for all of my designs.
We were very aware that many of our guests (shock horror) hadn’t seen Lord Of The Rings. So to help our guests understand a little bit more about the Realm (or table) they were sitting on, I made a little ‘Table Info & Quiz’ booklet, which described the history of each place. We also used it to explain about our favours (Fudge from The Shire), ‘Top Trumps’ for our guest to play on the tables and for our quiz about Rich and I. Remember I told you about my failed first attempt at making the centrepieces? Well I spray-painted what was intended to be Hobbition, gold and we used it as a Trophy! Nice to see my hard work didn’t go completely to waste, plus it got a few laughs along the way!
My sister and I visited the lovely Amaryllis in Alton where I found my dream dress, Donna by Ronald Joyce. I love the floral detail, sparkles and over the shoulder strap (which I could detach in the evening to wear with my other headband, well a girls got to change it up a little!). I could have gone with the theme and got a Lord Of The Rings elven style dress, but I didn’t want our theme to dictate the style of dress I really wanted, and I really wanted a dress that made me feel like a princess!
After struggling for ages browsing through shops and online to find my ideal headpiece, I confided in my sister and bridesmaid Luci, who recommend Paul from The Vintage Sparkle Company. Paula was a breath of fresh air! She used my idea’s from my mood board and a photo of me in my dress for inspiration making exactly what I was after. It was perfect. I love the fact that is bespoke one of a kind, made for me. After receiving my headpiece, I even went back to Paula for another hairband for the evening as well as some earrings. I loved the personalised service Paula gave, she even sent me a text the morning of my wedding to wish me well!
I met Emma of Be Designed Jewellery while photographing a wedding fair for Ameryllis. When speaking to Emma, you can really get a sense of her passion for her job. I knew there and then that I wanted Emma to design my wedding ring for me. Not only did she design me the perfect wedding to compliment my engagement ring, but she also designed me the most fabulously sparkly shoes using photos of my dress for inspiration.
Our colour theme was earthy colours to reflect middle earth, creams, greens and golds. My 3 adult bridesmaids were dressed in gorgeous sage Jenny Packham maxi dresses, they were all stunning! My baby niece was our sweet little flower girl, dressed in monsoon, she looked good enough to eat!
Make it Special who was so helpful in sourcing the twisted willow for our centrepieces also provided us with our stunning flowers and chair covers. Keeping to the earthy rustic theme we choose gorgeous gypsophila bouquets for the bridesmaids. My bouquet was a teardrop with rustic accidents including ivy, white roses and peonies, we had a similar design for the floral fireplace displays to which we added some of Richards mums candles. I knew they would do a great job but when I saw the flowers and chair covers in the dining room with all of my decorations, I was overwhelmed, amazing!
I am so lucky to have such wondered friends so I was a little greedy so as well as having my bridesmaids, I asked my other best friends to be my ‘Something Blue’. We brought them a cute little blue bracelet each for the girls to wear on the day.
On our wedding morning, I presented my bridesmaids with their gifts. I designed the bags myself, so it would fit in with our theme. In the bag was a scroll letter with a personal message to each of my bridesmaids, along with their gift, a floral Chinese inspired dressing gowns from Good Morning Beautiful. They truly lived up to their name and were indeed beautiful, the girls loved them!
Our hair was styled by bubbly Estelle from Be Lush. Estelle did an amazing job and her energetic personality ensured there were lots of laughs on my wedding morning.
The boys were dressed in rather dashing Moss bros suits by Ted Baker. As my father passed away when I was a teenager, I asked one of my best friends Martin to walk me down the aisle. It was lovely to have such an amazing friend to support me. Richard also, did the honour of wearing my Dads old cufflinks in his memory, along with a pendent of the dragon Smaug from The Hobbit.
I am very surprised to say that the ceremony was one of my favourite parts of the day (but oh I just loved it all). Initially I was apprehensive about all eyes being on me as I walked up the aisle, but when it came to it, seeing Richards face smiling at me as I walked, made me want to just run into his arms! Against convention we shared a little kiss as we met up! During the vows Rich made everyone laugh by forgetting what Lynne (the registrar) had said! It was all the more funny as this was on the sentence about sharing with your bride! Everyone laughed as we joked that he didn’t want to share! We had two readings, my sister read a love poem by JRR Tokien which Richard picked, the other was read by his little sister, a poem entitled ‘Love Is’ which I had written for Richard, this was the first time Richard heard it. The poem was light hearted and sentimental, including lines like “Love is making his sausage sandwiches and watching Lord Of The Rings in bed”. The whole tone of the ceremony was wonderful and there was laughter throughout, such amazing memories. We had the wonderful harpist Darcy playing beautiful ‘Elven’ style music as we left the ceremony room to have our Pimms and lemonade.
Thankfully the weather was as glorious for the cocktail hour as it was in the morning. After the group photos, Richard and I went down to the beach for more couples portraits. It was a wonderful time in the day where Richard and I could be alone, sharing a quiet moment together.
During our wedding breakfast Richard and I were presented with a parcel from his little sister. Nothing had prepared us for what we opened. Laura had written to Sir Ian McKellen who played the wizard Gandalf in The Lord Of The Rings, explain about our wedding, asking if they could sign something for us. Sir Ian went above and beyond, sending Laura a personally signed, framed print, wow, just wow! We were taken aback by not only how generous Sir Ian was, but the thoughtfulness of Laura.
Just when we thought we couldn’t feel any more special the speeches came, which were all funny, heartfelt and completely summed up the mood of the day. Andy, Richards’s best man asked if he could grab a few photos from my computer for his speech, I (some might think) rather foolishly granted him full access. In true Andy style he had the whole room in stitches bring out truly cringy and rather embarrassing photos of the both of us, from childhood right to the present. Would I offer Andy full access if I could do it all over again? Absolutely! It captured the mood perfectly and our guests loved it!
To complement the theme Richard and I scattered little ‘LOTR’ touches around our venue, using plush toys that we had found online. After the wedding breakfast, we announced to our guest a little treasure hunt we had planned. Somewhere around our venue we had hidden ‘The One Ring’, the person who found it will win a very special prize. Everyone really got into the spirit of things, while searching of the ring. Finally, our friend Adam found the ring, and he even wore it the following day to our post wedding vintage tea party!
The evening entertainment began with our first dance to ‘Till there was you’ by The Beatles. We then continued with an 80’s feel, playing all the classics from then, right through to early 90s dance later on.
We also opened our prop and games room, which included Lord Of The Rings dress up and Pin the Tail on the dragon game. Richard and I spent many months sourcing the outfit for the Propbox. We are so glad we did, as the guests seemed to love dressing up as all of the characters. I used my backdrop stand to hang a green screen for the guest to pose in front of.
To top it all off we had gorgeous Chinese lanterns for our guests and to my surprise Richard and his dad prepared a fireworks display. The night ended with everyone in a group huddle singing Take That’s ‘Never Forget’ at the top of their lungs. I get goose bumps just thinking of it. It truly was the best day of our lives!
Once the wedding was over I designed our Thank You cards using the images from our Prop Box, superimposing different ‘Middle Earth’ backgrounds from the green screen. Our guest commented that the cards were a lovely keepsakes, plus provided a few laughs, hearing that was music to my ears.
Just… 6 weeks 3 days 14 hours and 18 minutes until our honeymoon to middle earth, but who’s counting! I would like to thank all of our friends and family for making our day so special. Our wedding day was every bit as special as I hoped it would be and more.
A huge thank you to all of my amazing wedding suppliers:
Photographer: Louise Morris Photography / / Bridal Gown: Amaryllis Bridal / / Wedding Ring & Shoes: Be Designed Jewellery / / Hair pieces and Earrings: The Vintage Sparkle Company / / Florist:Make It Special / / Venue & Catering: The Orestone Manor / / Bridesmaid’s dresses: Debenhams (Jenny Packham No.1) / / Groom/ Best Man & Honorary Father Of The Bride: Moss Bros (Ted Baker) / / Entertainment: Live Events (DJ)
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What a wonderful way to celebrate your day. My own wedding was a quicky in Reno and didn’t last (although still good friends with my ex). If I had had a choice of weddings though, I can’t think of a better way than what you did. congratulations and may your road go ever on and on!!
Thank you so much Paula for your kind words. We have so many beautiful memories of our special day. I’m a very lucky lady 🙂