top of page

A Match Made in Valinor: Our Silmarillion-Themed Wedding

I was married November 12, 2022 to my very best friend of over 10 years. It was THEE BEST day. From the moment I awoke to when my head hit my pillow that night, everything was better than I ever could have dreamed. Don't worry, this post will not explore the orchard of our relationship, but instead it will be covering every detail of our wedding planning up to the big day.

We knew from the start that we wanted to have a "Tolkien" themed wedding since our favorite fandom is that of The Lord of the Rings. Though, we weren't sure what that would exactly look like, it helped that I was reading The Silmarillion at the time. I was in love with everything about that book. Tolkien's writing of the celestial and ethereal beings known as the Valar captivated me, and it seemed meant to be that The Two Trees of Valinor serve as the symbols on our wedding sigil. From there, I deep dived into Pinterest and many websites/blogs Google led me to. However, despite researching for days, I just didn't like any of the LOTR inspiration I was finding for weddings. So many of them, while lovely in their own ways, all were too "on the nose" for my taste. I wanted my wedding to feel elegant and not at all like a cosplaying event.

I soon came to the realization, if I was going to have the exact wedding I wanted, I was going to have to craft it myself!

The rest of this post will be segmented by project or vendor for easy navigation. Enjoy!

I wanted to design a sigil that would not only represent our partnership, but also stay true to our theme. The Two Trees of Valinor came to mind immediately since they too were partners, and were also written as male (Telperion) and female (Laurelin). They were the light source for all of Arda (Earth) and represented the sun and moon. I ended up incorporating our sigil throughout other elements in the wedding as well, which I think tied everything together nicely.

I didn't have a strict selection of colors for the wedding. Instead, I picked an Earthy palette. I leaned into shades of greens and grays with pops of ivory, gold, and silver. I felt that these would most reflect the elven/hobbit/celestial vibes I was going for.

I wanted the reception to really feel like a hobbit celebration. Good food, drinks, and all sorts of merry-making. Therefore, I wanted the dinner to be something you'd likely find in The Shire. We hired Wood Ranch after we had eaten there a couple times (it's important to taste test first so you know what you'll be serving your guests). While I didn't get any photos of the spread, I do remember what we ordered: BBQ chicken breast, tri-tip, skillet baked beans, garlic roasted potatoes, Caesar salad, and baked garlic rolls. It really was a feast fit for a hobbit. We had very little left overs, and even those were delicious. Their prices are quite fair, so I highly recommend them for catering any large social gathering!

I spent many weeks researching various wedding venues in the Southern California area. I knew I was looking for something with lots of trees and nature as I wanted the ceremony to be outside. So many that I found were gorgeous, but way out of my price range. Even without their event services or rentals, they were not going to fit in our modest budget. Luckily, I had attended a friend's beautiful wedding in 2017 and decided to look into the same place. While they had been married in the spring, I was getting married in the fall, so I needed to be sure the venue was still alive during that season. So, a year before our wedding, Brian and I toured Orcutt Ranch in West Hills and knew right away it was perfect. It was local, affordable, had lots of foliage, and it also had tons of opportunity for decorating. The historic Orcutt Residence is surrounded by 24-acres of gardens and a citrus orchard. The gardens include heritage oaks trees, wandering garden paths, formal flower beds, and a variety of interesting specimen trees, exotic shrubs, and flowering plants. If you're interested in seeing more of the historic home and ranch, just give it a quick search and you'll find it's a hidden gem with a 5-star rating!

I didn't want to invest a large portion of my budget into my save the dates because I knew I was going to be EXTRA for the invitations. Therefore, keeping my color scheme in mind, I spent a couple hours designing them in photoshop and then ordered prints on postcard cardstock via my local FedEx.

At the end of your magical day, the one thing you'll keep with you forever are the photographs. Brian and I decided early on that we would reserve a large portion of our budget to this vendor to ensure we got the exact photos we wanted. Once again, I did plenty of research on various photographers before I found the perfect one. Tajreen Hedayet was more than I could have ever hoped for. She was friendly, professional, thorough, and best of all...she is a Lord of the Rings mega-fan! Of course, I didn't know about these traits from the start. I looked through all of her wedding shoots listed on her website and browsed through her Instagram as well. I payed special close attention to her style of shooting as well as editing. During the time of my wedding, light and airy edits were very popular, but I wanted darker and richer tones with an ethereal vibe. After our first conversation, I felt completely and utterly at ease with Tajreen--fully confident I was in good hands and wouldn't have to worry about my photos at all. I won't post the entire gallery here (that'll be it's own post), but here are just a few to give you an idea of her incredible talent! *Most of the photos within this post were all taken by her as well.

In addition to having Tajreen shoot the event, I also purchased a FujiFilm Instax polaroid camera for my guests to use for our guestbook--but my sister-in-law had the amazing idea to bring the camera out for pictures during the reception and I am so glad she did because we got some amazing candid shots.

Shortly after I started planning, I soon realized I wasn't going to be able to do it all myself. I definitely wasn't going to be able to decorate the day of my wedding, I made the decision to hire a wedding planner. I was referred to Three Little Birds Event Planning, and hired them for partial planning. This meant that my planner would help me a bit with picking vendors, ordering rentals, sticking to my budget, and ultimately creating a timeline for my day. I also hired them for day-of coordinating because I truly didn't want to worry about anything on my wedding day. I only wanted Brian and I to enjoy the fruits of our labor and the precious time with our friends and families. Truthfully, I don't think I got as much help during the planning process as I thought I would. I ended up finding most vendors on my own as well as making a lot of my own décor. I will say that the day-of coordinator they provided was amazing and went over and beyond to ensure my day ran smoothly. I will forever be grateful for her and the 3LB team, and highly recommend anyone else getting married to at least hire someone for the day-of. It ilvaites so much stress and ensures you, your partner, and your friends and family aren't burdened with trying to keep everything together.

As far as rentals went, I also hired Three Little Birds Event Planning for all of the major items we needed: tables, cloths, chairs, plates, utensils, wedding arch, bistro lighting, and some other smaller décor. I would highly recommend them for their décor selection as they have a lot of different styles of décor to choose from, and their prices are competitive on most items.

We hired Sunseri's Bar & Beverage Catering to provide drinks for our guests. They had very fair pricing for open-bar, and the bartender they sent was amazing! They kept the drinks going all night, and all of our guests raved about their service. I was especially thankful that they adhered to my special request of adding edible glitter or "starlight" to our signature cocktails: Telperion's Twilight (wine sangria) & Light of Laurelin (long island iced tea). It was a small detail, but really added a magical touch to the themed drinks.

Chris Olivas was both our emcee and DJ. His process for music selection and planning his set-up prior to the wedding was so smooth and easy. (His website isn't very user-friendly, so I just emailed/text him instead) When the day came, he was kind, professional, easy-going and played all the music we requested. The vibe was perfect all night long. There were zero issues and he really went above and beyond for our day by bringing all his own gear--including lights, and was professional and tactful in announcing all of the important moments during the day. I would hire him again for any future event I may host as his pricing is more than fair and the service was 10/10.

I'm a papyrophiliac, someone who loves stationery. So I knew from day 1 that I wanted to go big for my invitations. What better time to bust out the gold foil, wax, and calligraphy than for a wedding invitation, am I right? To get the romantic and celestial look I wanted, I needed to partially outsource for the actual printing of the invitations. I found Paige & Co. somewhere while searching on Pinterest. Her luxury invitations are to die for and checked all of my boxes for what I was looking for. Her customer service is amazing, and the invites looked even better in person.

To enhance the stationery, I took the liberty of adding the gold foil to the edges myself. I also had our sigil custom made into a wax seal and finished off the vellum jackets with gold thread, and pressed ferns that were hand-picked in my mother-in-law's garden in Salem, OR. You may notice ferns were used in a lot of my decorating. This was intentional as they represent good luck, new life and new beginnings, as well as family and hope for future generations. I absolutely loved everything about these invitations from the planning to the construction. They were tedious but extremely satisfying to make. I think my favorite detail is the wax seal that was a hand-mixed blend of silver and dark gray wax. I then used silver and gold paint pens to color in the trees and other details. The final touch was a clear Swarovski crystal placed in the middle of the seal.

Details on our rings can be found in the other blog post that covers our ensembles.

We hired The Enchanted Florist in Burbank, CA. Their name is extremely fitting because their service and floral arrangements are nothing less than enchanting! I emailed them with my inspirations and overall aesthetic I was looking for, and not only were they prompt in replying and providing quotes, but their rates were extremely fair in comparison with other florists I had reached out to. There wasn't a lot of communication after payment, so I truly wasn't sure what the arrangements were going to look like on the big day. Naturally, I was a little worried they'd be underwhelming, but I couldn't have been more wrong. I was blown away by the elegance of all the arrangements. They were more beautiful than I could've imagined, and they fit perfectly with the theme. See for yourself!

I custom ordered a guestbook from Catch This Moment on Etsy. They worked with me to design my guestbook exactly how I wanted. I asked that our sigil be on the cover and the pages inside were to match the font and other designs that I used throughout our various signage. The first book arrived and had some formatting issues, so when I reached out they immediately sent another one out free of any charge. I was extremely grateful, and guestbook came out perfect! I'll definitely order from them again for any other photo album needs.

As mentioned before, I made or curated a large majority of the décor for my wedding. I had a specific and somewhat unique look I was going for, so it made sense I needed to make or pick a lot of it myself. You won't likely find a wedding planner that knows what a Silmarillion-themed wedding would look like. They'd likely write it off as a "woodland" or even a "fairy" aesthetic, but it's so much more than that. So, I didn't want to risk someone missing the mark. Additionally, I wanted a lot of what I was investing in to be able to be used again for either another event or as home décor. It was a lot to ask for, but I was determined. I may go into more detail in another blog post or two showing how I created some of my decorations in case it might help others in the future, but for now, here is a list of some of the items I made and curated:

The Seating Chart Banner

The Welcome Sign

Draping and lantern accents

Repurposed the floral arrangement and lanterns from the ceremony arch to decorate our sweetheart table

The centerpieces included a gold elven-like lantern filled with fairy lights which sat upon a wooden charger covered in moss.

I used clear glass flutes that I felt were reminiscent of The Light of Elendil. They were filled with a faux fern frond and fresh baby's breath.

The napkins were lotus-folded to add an elven touch to each plate. I used Egyptian cotton pressed paper and silk chiffon ribbon for the name tags

I used simple picture frames and small mirrors with gold borders for all of my signage

Designed my own signature cocktails menu based off our sigil design

A couple of acrylic stars as celestial accents to the sweetheart table

I found a vintage silver and gold pitcher that reminded me of Galadrial's.

I picked out clear balloons with fairy lights to hang in the tree above the dance floor. I wanted to add to the ethereal ambiance of the evening.

I mentioned to many of my closest friends and family that I wanted our wedding ceremony to feel very classy and "elven" while the dinner and reception to feel like a true "hobbit celebration" Therefore, I opted for smaller desserts and a small wedding cake. That way there were all sorts of treats for my guests to choose from. Also, they would likely feel more comfortable grabbing a couple cookies or pastries on their own accord than eating an entire slice of cake (that they might not even like the flavor of).

Genesis, owner and extremely talented baker at Wildflower Kitchen Co., baked and decorated our humble wedding cake. Brian and I asked for a semi-naked lemon cake, with fresh berries. I requested it have ferns and baby's breath to match the rest of the floral arrangements. Not only was the cake gorgeous, but delicious as well. Absolutely none of it was thrown away--my guests ate it all!

Since I make enamel pins professionally, I thought it would be fun to make custom pins as our wedding favors. Luckily, Brian suggested we make magnets instead; that way our guests would be more likely to keep their favors since we know only a few of our guests actually collect enamel pins. I thought it was a brilliant idea since enamel pins and magnets are made essentially the same way. So, I used our wedding sigil as the design and ordered the magnets with our names and wedding date stamped on the back. I then ordered small faux suede pouches and used my cricut cutting machine and heat-transfer vinyl to create the star design on the front. Lastly, I had small cards printed with a thank-you note to be slipped on the back of the favors. In the end, my guests were extremely surprised to find their favors waiting for them at their tables. Since then, I've seen many of the magnets on the refrigerators of my friends and family. It always fills my heart with joy remembering that day we shared together, and I will forever be grateful.

I hope that you've enjoyed seeing into the detailed planning of my Silmarillion-themed wedding. Overall, it was extremely fun but stressful. Everything came out how I envisioned, and I am thankful that I will never have to do it again. Wedding planning is not for the feint of heart! That being said, if you're someone who is planning their own wedding and have stumbled upon this page, I hope you have found this blog to be inspiring and helpful for you. Feel free to comment or email me if you have any questions, I'd be happy to give tips, share links, or give more detail on any of my design choices.

Lastly, if you enjoyed this post, there will be others published discussing the details of our attire and accessories as well as our wedding album!

291 views4 comments
bottom of page