Who, When, Where, etc.
The bride (Erin) works as a cog in the great corporate wheel of a large company. The groom (Shelby) is a horror and fantasy writer, and has several published short stories, as well as an illustrated book of creepy poetry. They met in March 2014 when Erin launched the meetup group West Covina Game Night to find other nerds who enjoy playing board games, card games, and any other table-top games. They discovered that they share a love of Tolkien, the Star Wars universe, video games, travel, board games, and so many other things. Shelby proposed on Christmas Eve 2015, and after a little contemplation they decided that the appropriate way to celebrate this union was to invite a few friends and family to Middle Earth to solomnize the wedding.
Re-creating Middle Earth in California wouldn’t be easy, but they couldn’t imagine anyplace better for their ceremony than a cool, shady grove deep in the woods. But not the chaparral forests of Southern California where they live. It had to be something grander, more elegant … more like Lothlorien.
The perfect place turned out to be Sequoia National Forest, set like a magnificent gem in the Sierra Nevada mountains of central California. It lacks the crowds of Yosemite (which is only about a 2 hour drive north of the Forest), but the scenery is equally stunning.
After they settled on Sequoia, finding the location was pretty easy. They held the ceremony itself on a long wooden bridge on the grounds of Wuksachi Lodge, the only hotel within Sequoia National Park, which describes itself (well, its website describes it) as “Sequoia’s signature hotel, a striking stone-and-cedar mountain lodge situated in the heart of the park and surrounded by a mighty sequoia forest and soaring Sierra peaks.”
On September 17, 2016, forty guests joined Erin and Shelby in Middle Earth. The bride wore a custom-made elvish-design satin gown with chiffon sleeves, above-the-knee soft leather boots, and a chiffon cloak. Rather than wear prosthetic elf ears, she chose silver ear-cuffs to give the illusion of pointed ears. The ensemble was topped off with a silver circlet and silver and crystal hair ornament. The groom was decked out in custom-made leather armor, a long cloak, high boots, and a massive gauntlet, and he carried a heavy antique sword to protect his bride.
The couple had asked their guests to come dressed in Middle Earth-style fashion, and all but three obliged, many designing and making their own attire. No two outfits were alike, and they represented a panoply of cultures: hobbits, warriors, lords and ladies of Gondor and Rohan, elves of Rivendell and Lothlorien, and many others. The minister dressed in full wizard attire, from the cloak to the pointy hat. Even the photographers blended in perfectly.
The weather was a stunning 70 degrees and sunny in the mountains that day up in the mountains. The ceremony was held on a quaint bridge over a gorge, and was followed by a reception and feast in the lodge, with great food (and cake!), music, dancing, and merriment for all. After the reception, the guests carried lanterns and formed a procession through the dark forest back to the bridge to bid farewell to the bride and groom under the full moon.
Blog entries on this page will provide tons more details, photos, and more. Please follow the blog to get updates when they are posted, or check back regularly.