How to Plan a Lord of the Rings Wedding Ceremony
This page is an educational resource for couples exploring the idea of having a Lord of the Rings inspired wedding ceremony.
This page is an educational resource for couples exploring the idea of having a Lord of the Rings inspired wedding ceremony.
Here at AMM, we're all about celebrating unique love stories. So, if you're considering a theme that celebrates your shared love of a book, TV, video game or movie series for your wedding, you have our full support.
However, choosing the road less traveled presents some challenges. Throughout the process, from designing your wedding invitations to choosing your cake, you'll find that you need to get creative -- but that's half the fun of it!
This guide will give you some ideas on how to plan a Lord of the Rings themed wedding that is both marvelously "Middle-Earth" and yet tasteful that even your less open minded in-laws won't be scandalized by your unconventional choice.
As Samwise says, "It's the job that's never started as takes longest to finish." So, without further ado, let's jump into it.
It's good to be mindful of costs throughout the wedding planning process, but you don't want to skimp on hiring a wedding planner -- especially if you have chosen a unique theme -- unless you are prepared to devote a significant amount of time to organizing and planning your special day. Our advice is to parcel out a portion of your budget to a wedding planner that craves a challenge, and is game to tackle a Lord of the Rings theme. Don't worry if you're wedding planner isn't a big fan of fantasy, as long they are experienced in executing unique visions.
An experienced local wedding planner will already know the businesses in your area that will be able to accomodate special requests, like themed cakes, specially-made decorations, and specific floral arrangements, so that the aesthetic of your LOTR wedding comes together seamlessly. You'll be glad you made the financial investment.
If you don't want to hire someone full-time, some wedding planners offer consulting services and will give you valuable advice by the hour for a fraction of the price. You can find pros in your area on WeddingWire.
Another hugely important decision is choosing your venue; it will be the backdrop of all the work you'll do on your costumes (if you choose to do costumes) and define the ambiance of your big day. This is near the top of your to-do list because your venue must be chosen before you can send out invitations.
We're guessing you aren't prepared to have a destination wedding in New Zealand, but that doesn't mean you can't find a setting that reflects the same outdoor beauty in your corner of the world. This photo is of a wedding in the redwoods of Big Sur, California.
Since much of the series takes place in nature, it's only fitting to pick an outdoor setting -- unless your dream wedding has more Mount Doom vibes. Depending on where you're located, your options will vary -- but we suggest exploring the option of reserving a space in a public park.
Most counties have web pages dedicated specifically to providing information on getting married in their public parks and how to obtain permits. Not only will this option provide an authentic backdrop, but it's also the most economical choice -- prices of permits are usually no more than a couple hundred dollars and often much less. However, there are some drawbacks to getting married in public parks. Most of them have rules regarding noise and time restrictions, alcohol use and the number of guests that are allowed to attend. Check out this guide on what you need to know before going with this option.
As an alternative, there are plenty of private venues that will give you more control over the space (and ensure no hikers interrupt your ceremony) -- just be prepared to pay more for this option. If you're having a winter wedding, an indoor venue with old architecture would be another appropriate choice. The Knot is a great resource for finding the top rated venues in your area. You can narrow your search results with their handy filters on the left sidebar.
When you're working around a book/movie theme, it's tempting to start by purchasing every item you see related to the series online, but disable your quick-buy setting on Amazon right now -- you don't want to go crazy stock-piling LOTR merch and end up with a wedding that looks like you just raided a vendor stall. (Unless that's your vibe -- then, shop ‘til you drop! No judgement here.)
The best way to narrow your aesthetic is to choose your color palette. For a Lord of the Rings theme, earth tones are a good place to start. Bridestory has a comprehensive guide on how to select your colors. Google your favorite scenes from the movies and screen-grab colors from the nature and the characters' clothing that jump out at you. Once you have narrowed it down to four to six colors that you like using one of the provided formulas (e.g. analogous, complementary, monochromatic, etc.), you can use your palette as a compass to help pick out your wedding party's outfits and the decor.
But before we get into any of those fun details, there is just one more to-do that needs to be checked off your list.
Now that you have your venue and color scheme chosen, you're ready to choose your wedding invitations. These aren't just notifications to your guests of your upcoming nuptials -- they are also a little preview of your wedding and an opportunity to introduce the theme. You have a few options as far as how to approach this.
The first option is to go the traditional route of hiring a professional wedding invitation designer. Your wedding planner will know some reputable stationary designers in your local area that can help you customize your lettering and choose the perfect distressed paper. This is an ideal option, but the most expensive -- it can cost in the range of $1000-3000 dollars.
If you'd rather use a premade stencil, there are Etsy sellers that have you covered on this front, like these invitations from Storytime Stationary. When you start the ordering process online, you will be prompted to provide your desired text. The designer will implement your changes manually and send you a draft for your review before making you a final digital version. Once you approve it, you will receive a high quality .jpg file which you can have printed at your local print shop. (This seller also has some beautiful envelopes that pair nicely with the invites.) This option will cost you less than $10 for the digital file, plus whatever the print shop charges you to produce your desired number of invites, as well as the cost of the envelopes.
Or, if you're handy with Adobe inDesign, you can make your own invitations. There are LOTR fonts available online that are free for non-commercial use. Click the link to start the download, then open the .ttf file. Once it's done, you'll see the new font pop up in your regular font lists in your Adobe and Microsoft programs. We will leave the rest of the design to your creativity.
As a wink to your guests that are true LOTR fans, include a line in Sindarin for them to decode. Dafont has a font resembling Twengar script, available for download here. Or, if you want to use the actual calligraphy from the films you can purchase the original fonts here, just $20 for non-commercial use -- a small price to pay to use the original fonts and pay respect to the artist, Daniel Reeve.
Congratulations! Now that you've gotten the preliminary to-do's out of the way, you can start thinking about the really fun stuff, like costumes and decorations.
Start by checking out what other couples have done to draw inspiration. This couple chose a LOTR theme, but went with a loser interpretation when it came to attire, while this couple didn't shy away from embracing elaborate costumes.
If you want to be more specific in narrowing down your theme, pick one Elven city or one specific forest. For instance, a hobbit wedding would be different from a Rivendell wedding which is different from a Mirkwood wedding -- because they all have different aesthetics. These choices are totally up to you.
As a general tip before we dive in, we recommend that you outsource as much of these details as you can. DIY projects can be fun for a craft-lover, but you may find that you've bitten off more than you can chew. (Frodo thought he just had to get a ring to Rivendell, but look what happened to him.) The moral of the story? Factor in more time than you think you need.
Putting together the looks of the bride and groom and the other members of your wedding party will obviously be a crucial aspect of your Lord of the Rings themed celebration, and probably the most fun. This is your opportunity to pay homage to your favorite characters and get decked out Middle-earth style.
You can go with a few different approaches here: recreating costumes that are as screen-accurate as possible, creating ensembles that are inspired by the general costume design in the films, or foregoing cosplay and wearing traditional wedding attire. All of these options are legitimate.
Our advice? Don't feel limited by the pressure to recreate the movies' characters with pinpoint accuracy, but rather, draw inspiration from the costume design. Feel free to put your own personal spin on the looks. This is your day! However, we do have some specific ideas that will help get your creative juices flowing.
Let's start with some ideas for the bride(s). Arwen and Galadriel are both seen in white or cream gowns that make perfect inspiration for bridal attire, and there are sellers online that make high quality versions. This ethereal dress from Elfenkleider is inspired by Arwen's dress during Frodo's dream vision of her, while this seller has designed a beautiful brocade number reminiscent of one of Galadriel's gowns.
For the groom(s), we have a couple of ideas. One would be to pull from Frodo and his comrades' outfits in Aragorn's coronation scene (skip to 4:16 to see what we're talking about.) Here, the hobbits are wearing off-white shirts and different earth-toned vests with dark-colored pants that make perfect semi-formal outfits for the groom and his groomsmen, ideal for a spring or summer wedding. Grab some leather bracers for the groom from Armstreet for that sexy Aragorn look. (Also, it should go without saying that Gandalf's whole outfit in this scene is an obvious choice for your wedding officiant.)
For a fall or winter wedding, a brown or maroon suit in a material like velvet or corduroy will give off Frodo vibes (in an alternate universe in which Frodo gets a wardrobe upgrade) inspired by this Frodo outfit-of-the-day in which our favorite hobbitses looks a little less tattered than usual. You can order a suit online, like this one from Indochino, which is custom made to fit your unique measurements and specifications. Pair it with a charcoal cloak or a brown overcoat for an extra touch.
When looking for outfits for the bride and groom parties, we recommend searching for keywords like "medieval," "Celtic," and even "boho" and "shabby chic," which will yield results that pair well with a foresty theme without emulating any specific characters. For instance, this Etsy seller Maria Heller Designs, makes fantasy dresses that would be perfect for the bridesmaids.
Of course, if you are looking for more specific costumes than what can be found online, your best bet is to turn make your own. Instagram's costuming community is a great resource to draw inspiration from. Try searching Instagram by hashtags like #lordoftheringscostumes, #lotrcostumes #lotrcosplay or more general terms like #historicalcostumes and #medieveldress. Some super talented folks that are worth checking out are @silhouettecosplay and @thranduart.official.
Another fun idea (if you don't mind sharing the spotlight) is to invite your guests to join the cosplay fun. Include a note in your invitation like "Feel free to dress as a denizen of Rivendell, Gondor or Hobbiton."
There are a handful of online sellers that make tiaras inspired by the circlets seen on the elves throughout the series. Arwen can be seen wearing a couple of different intricate circlets. Refreshing Designs makes a similar one that would be a perfect tiara for the bride, and can be paired with a veil. There are also simpler versions, for an entourage of elven bridesmaids. (For the true nerds, we are going to leave this DIY elven ear tutorial here The choice is yours.)
Arwen's Evenstar necklace would be another lovely addition to a bridal look, not only because it's just plain pretty, but also because of its beautiful symbolism, as Arwen gave it to Aragorn to represent her eternal love and devotion. You can find sellers on Etsy that make versions at various price points.
And we would be remiss not to include this website, that makes replicas of, well... the One Ring, for the wedding bands. (These are the guys that made the original used in the film!) The symbolism of the original engraving doesn't fit as well in the romantic context of a wedding as Arwen's token of eternal love, but come on -- it's a beautiful piece and it would make for some great joke fodder for your officiant to dish out during the ring exchange portion of your ceremony. (By the way, if you're in need of a template for your ceremony script, we have some available here.)
Or, if you want a more personalized custom engraving, they offer that, as well.
Do not underestimate the power of decor. This is your opportunity to sprinkle in those extra homages that will really pull the LOTR theme together.
What are your favorite motifs from the series? You can incorporate these in the ceremony area -- in the aisle and at the altar -- as well as in your reception, in your table setting designs, and in decor hanging from above. Check out this list that has a ton of helpful examples to to kickstart the brainstorming process.
For instance, we love the idea of having a wedding altar that imitates the Doors of Durin, like this Romanian couple managed to pull off. This would be a big undertaking, for which you'd probably need the help of a woodworking or metal sculpture artist, but what an incredible touch!
If DIY-ing an altar is too lofty of an ordeal, use the design to decorate another area of your wedding.
One other cute way to incorporate the design would be to include a photo booth for guests decorated to look like the Doors of Durin; the riddle inscribed on the doors translates to "speak friend and enter" which seems like an appropriate phrase for your beautiful gathering of friends and family. (Here is one you can buy online-- or make your own!) Instead of providing typical props like mustaches and funny glasses, you could have fake beards, little paper swords and axes.
Other details, like mossy centerpieces are easy to DIY. Check out this list of rustic wedding decor ideas that will help bring the nature of Middle-earth to your guests' tables. White candles, wood elements and tufts of baby's breath are great additions.
The cake is another glorious opportunity to showcase your theme. While vendors may not necessarily be accustomed to helping couples achieve a cake in the style of LOTR, they can help create ethereal forest-inspired designs. You'll have to do some research to find the right cake designer -- some wedding cake designers may not be as experienced at this -- but the right one will be able to create a cake that mimics the majesty and whimsy of the Forest of Fangorn.
Make sure to take screenshots of a few examples and be prepared to point out elements that you like, to make the cake designer's life easier. Here's a link to some incredible woodland cakes from Weddingomania.
Well, that does it for our Lord of the Rings wedding guide. The AMM team wishes you and your partner a love as pure and everlasting as Arwen and Aragorn's. We hope you're feeling inspired to pursue the fantasy wedding of your dreams -- judgemental family members be damned.