Lembas bread, hobbit outfits, Gandalf, elves, maps and even the “One Ring” are just some of the fantastical elements that helped create the one-of-a-kind Lord of the Rings themed wedding that couple Christopher Rooney and Dylan Brozich had been dreaming of since they got engaged in 2013.
Pittsburgh Marriott North hosted the lavish ceremony and celebration, their staff, wedding specialists and chef joining the enthusiasm to ensure that the grooms' theme was carried through to all elements of the festivities. The hotel’s banquet space was transformed and decorated in lush greenery and a rural backdrop inspired by The Shire in the fictional land of Eriador in Middle Earth, where Lord of the Rings is set. The reception, held in the same room, was transformed into the mystical land of Lothlorien with deep blues and purples and sparkling jewels. Other signature touches from the epic novel pulled together the theme such as symbolic leaf place cards, table assignments named after geographical places in Middle Earth and a tree planting ceremony reminiscent of the White Tree of Gondor.
To add to the authenticity of the themed wedding, the couple’s rings were designed by Jens Hanson, the same designer who created the very rings in the Lord of the Rings films. The wedding party dressed as hobbits and elves to round out the mythical theme.
Enjoy the following Q&A with grooms Dylan & Chris, as they share the story of their engagement, and some of the details of planning such an elaborate and unique themed wedding!
RWN: How did the two of you meet? Was it love at first sight? What were some of the qualities that attracted you to each other, and made you realize that 'he was the one'?
Dylan & Chris: We technically met in high school, but we went to different schools. We had a mutual friend who invited us both to a movie night at his house. Being in high school doesn’t always allow “love at first sight” meetings. We were 17, and it was a very turbulent time in our lives. We didn't really know who we were, or fully understand our sexuality. After our first meeting however, we couldn't get each other off of our minds’. It wasn’t until a couple of months later, Dylan opened up a Facebook chat, beginning our communication. It was on a whim, and it just grew from there. Neither of us were “out of the closet” at the beginning of our relationship either. We brought out the best in one another, and gave each other the strength to be ourselves. We grew with each other, finding fantasy gaming to be a mutual passion. We often got together with our friends to play Dungeons & Dragons, which we still do. This was something we both loved, and sharing that made us grow closer. When we finally came out, we realized how comfortable we made one another. We knew we were meant to be together.
RWN: What's your engagement story? How long had you been dating before deciding to get married?
Dylan & Chris: Well, the engagement story is a long one! When we were getting ready to depart for two different colleges, we wanted to stay together… Chris gave Dylan a promise ring that they would make it through college. A year later, on Lake Erie at dusk, Dylan proposed to Chris with a ring that said, “We shall succeed.” This was a phrase we used before we went to different colleges to remind each other of our commitment. After this distant time in our lives, we would be together forever. It was the same year of the proposal that Dylan transferred to Edinboro University, where we started living together. We were dating for about two years before we chose to get married; although, we waited for another three years before we actually did, due to college.
RWN: What was the initial ceremony planning like? Did you both agree on the type of wedding you wanted? Any particularly amazing planning moments you'd like to share? Any particular issues with non-accepting wedding vendors? Any wonderful moments with extremely supportive wedding vendors?
Dylan & Chris: In the beginning it was, “Hey, let’s get married. We will go to New York.” Then when the USA Federal government approved it nationally, it opened up a whole new set of ideas for us. We never thought we would legally be able to marry, but now, we wanted to bring our families into it. So, we decided to have a small wedding with close friends and family at our church, The First Spiritualist Church of Erie. We had big ideas, but not a huge budget. With the distance for guests to travel, and the lack of ideas for a reception, it was just not lining up. That is when the Pittsburgh Marriott North came in. We both worked there for a while, and Rick, The General Manager, asked if we wanted to have our wedding there. We never imagined being able to afford a big lavish wedding, but with his help, we planned something with a reasonable budget. Then it escalated very quickly. It seemed to go from a basic wedding for 50 people to a large, themed wedding for 150 people overnight. Both having theatrical backgrounds, we wanted something striking and amazing. We both have a love for fantasy that inspired us, and Chris’ favorite books and movies are the Lord of the Rings. It all seemed to click! That was our wedding; Lord of the Rings Theme.
The hardest part was finding what to do for the reception instead of a garter toss (we wanted to change it up). We went back and forth with different ideas. We ended up landing on a Newlywed Game (Who knows the Newlyweds the best?) It seemed like fun, and turned out to be a great laugh! The Vendors were fantastic all the way through. Andy, the DJ, was such a great guy, and really supportive of the entire event. We helped him grow as a DJ, and he made the evening so much fun! He really went out of the way to look for our themed music for both the ceremony and the reception. Fantastic all the way through. Through the process, it did bring up a lot of questions. Who is changing their last name, if at all? How do we walk down the aisle? We made it our own. We made the event ‘us.’
RWN: What were some of the high points of planning such an elaborate theme wedding? Any advice for other couples?
Dylan & Chris: The high point for us was the research! Trying to plan some of the different ideas for the outfits and decor made the whole thing seem surreal. We took the time and made the event really reflect us as a couple. We wanted something elegant and fun. My advice to any couple planning a wedding.. Make it yours.. make it how you feel.. and make it FUN!
RWN: Are your families supportive of your relationship? Any details you would like to share with our readers?
Dylan & Chris: Both families were very supportive in the relationship and marriage. When we first came out, it was a shock for most of the family. Our parents were not immediately sure how to handle it; however, we are blessed to have families that are supportive enough to learn. Everyone grew to understand, and continue to love us no matter what. Honestly, the biggest issue that we ran into was what we were going to do with our last names. Both families were at first a bit uneasy about their sons losing their last name. Our advice is to do what you as a couple feel most comfortable doing. Dylan hyphenating his last name was the best option for us. It joined our names together without completely taking out either of our families’.
RWN: How did you feel on your Wedding Day? What was the range of emotions? Was it different than you'd expected?
Dylan & Chris: Wedding Day emotions were crazy. Words cannot describe the feeling you get when you're getting ready to go into the ceremony. We were jumpy, nervous, excited and even shaky. It was an emotion that we have never felt before. As the doors opened and we walked down together… It felt perfect and right. Once the ceremony was over, the party began, and we just laughed and made incredible memories. It was perfect. It was nothing you could expect… It felt real, and like a fantasy at the same time. It was crazy to even think that we were getting married.
RWN: Describe some of your Ceremony & Reception Highlights. We’d love as many details as you care to share!
Dylan & Chris: The biggest highlight of the Ceremony was the vows, which we both wrote ourselves. Dylan has a knack for carving rocks and making them really meaningful. For our one year anniversary, Dylan carved a small stone, using Dwarven runes, with a cute message. So, he did it again for the ceremony. He pulled out this huge rock with a detailed inscription of his vows. Interesting to say the least. They say nothing is written in stone… but our vows are! :) The favorite part of the Reception was totally the food and the people. We had Lembas bread, (a movie bread) which was awesome! Our wedding party, as well as a number of our guests were dressed in costume for the event. We had a themed cake and beverages, and several other things in the spirit of Lord of the Rings.
RWN: Any fun details about the Honeymoon you'd like to mention? Where did you go / are you planning to go?
Dylan & Chris: We really want to see New Zealand some day! We are hoping to plan a trip there in the next couple years, but we will go!
RWN: Why are marriage rights important to you? What is your advice to other committed couples, as they consider whether or not to have a wedding of their own?
Dylan & Chris: Marriage rights are highly important to both of us. We are all born equal, so we should all have the ability to make the same decisions. To any couple out there, if you want to get married… DO IT!! It’s a lot of fun! It is amazing in itself just to see the amount of support you have from your friends and family! :) Make the wedding always a reflection of the two of you! If you don't want to get married, that’s fine too! Do what feels the best. You know what makes you happy, so don't let anyone else make the decision for you.
RWN: Favorite Quote from our Happy Couple?
Dylan & Chris: “Not all those who wander are lost.” -J.R.R. Tolkien
Additional wedding vendors included: Sara Arvay, wedding designer, Andy Hutelmyer, DJ, Missy Wyzkoski, photographer, GreenSinner, florist, Tammy Rooney (mother of one of the grooms), baker, Men’s Warehouse, for photo tuxes, Jens Hanson, rings and Evelyn Lohse, costumes.
Marriott Pittsburgh North was ranked number one in sales service and number three for overall events in North America for Marriott. Marriott Pittsburgh North is located in Cranberry Township off of Route 228. For more information visit www.PittsburghMarriottNorth.com or call (724) 772-3700.
This article provided in part courtesy of:
Krol Media Associates LLC
Krol Media Associates LLC
Photographs provided courtesy of: Missy Wyzkoski, photographer with Mason Brandd Photography