Find the "one napkin ring" at this Middle Earth garden wedding
The Offbeat Bride: Katie, Pediatric Research Assistant
Her offbeat partner: Aron, Middle School English Teacher
Date and location of wedding: Beach house backyard of the bride's parents, Rhode Island - July 3, 2016
Our offbeat wedding at a glance:
We had a Middle Earth garden wedding with a Lord of the Rings theme with a gold, navy, white, and tan color scheme. It was held at my parents' beach house. Having the wedding at their home really added not only a personal touch, but some wonderful memories to the house.
We wanted our guests to arrive and feel like they were transported to another world. Upon entering the ceremony space, everyone was offered yarmulkes with gold Gandalfs printed on them or fern and ivy crowns floral crowns. Guests were seated among flowers and ferns at different locations in Middle Earth, among folk from the realms of hobbits, elves, dwarves, and man.
There would be children there, so after the ceremony, we offered lawn games for our guests to enjoy. Everyone geeked out in the photo booth when they weren't too busy dancing. Fireworks and sparklers were introduced as it got dark.
Tell us about the ceremony:
We had a reformed Jewish ceremony, beginning with the signing of the Ketubah marriage contract inside the house with the family and bridal party. We each signed our names in Hebrew and chanted "simon tov and mazel tov."
During the ceremony, we stood under a chuppah made from birch trees, canopied with Aron's tallit from his bar mitzvah and extra lace from my dress, flocked by Aragorn and Arwen's coronation banners.
The ceremony began with me circling Aron seven times, each circle represented something different, including the home we would begin making together. Blessings were read by our immediate family in both Hebrew and English. Instead of vows, we wrote three things about each other and gave them to the rabbi: how we met, what we love about each other, and what our plans are for the future. It was lovely to hear each other's interpretations!
There were many jokes shared by the rabbi and we also shared a glass of wine from the Kiddush cup. This is called the engagement ceremony. Then, we put rings on each other's index fingers because this is said to have a direct line to the heart. Finally we were married, and as Aron stomped on the glass, our guests shouted, "Mazel Tov!"
Following the ceremony, we had yichud, which means we went inside alone for about 20 minutes, no cameras or family, just a private moment with each other to soak it all in while our guests moved on to the cocktail hour. We highly recommend taking a moment to yourselves.
Tell us about your reception:
After the ceremony, guests enjoyed cocktails, lawn games, and hors d'oevres. Children got their energy out, and of course, because it is Rhode Island, adults got to indulge in the raw bar of oysters, Little Neck clams, and jumbo shrimp.
The photo booth was set up on the deck for fun posing with chalkboard word bubbles in which people wrote movie quotes like "Live Long and Prosper," "May the Force be with You," "Wibbly Wobbly Timey Wimey Stuff," and "May the Odds be Ever in Your Favor."
During the reception, guests were transported to different regions, their tables adorned with four-foot ents, small stands of trees, carved stone, wooden signs and model castles that were handmade by our extremely talented friend Anna Finbury.
We left our guests with "The One Napkin Ring" which we had made from plain wooden napkin rings and a bookmark matching our gold and navy color scheme.
We were confused when one of the bridesmaids didn't make a toast, but later, one of the most special moments was when she ended up singing us a song she wrote for us! It was a huge surprise and something that we will never forget.