There and Back Again: a Photographer’s Tale


I fell in love with Tolkien and my husband at the same time.  It was my junior year of college and I borrowed The Lord of the Rings from a guy friend in my class.  He was reading them for the 3rd or 4th time and was writing extensive notes in the margins about his favorite character, Samwise Gamgee.  His insights into that character opened my heart to realize that there was much more to this friend, I realized that I was falling in love with him.

That was over 12 years ago.  Today we, along with thousands of Tolkien fans, are so excited for Peter Jackson’s movie: The Hobbit, An Unexpected Journey.  I daily check my favorite fan site for the latest news on this amazing project.  One of the first images that was dissected by fans around the world was the image of Bilbo Baggins reading the contract from the dwarves.  This image was the foundation of the styled shoot, but instead of a concerned hobbit, a loving groom would be reading a love letter from his bride-to-be.  The original photo can be seen here:

-The Details-


Our Collaborative Group of Vendors has been planning this shoot for several weeks.  I chose Cedar Lake Cellars for the venue because they have a barn loft area that has so much character, as close to a hobbit hole I could think of.  The bar area was decorated with moss, flowers, and books.  A signature cocktail, Ent Draught, was made with sweet tea, vodka infused with herbs, and garnished with blueberries.  Of course, hobbits love their ale, and it was amply provided by the Cedar Lake staff!  Earthy breads and a cheese and meat platter were artistically plated by Chef Lee Gustin.  Our invitations for our couple were made by a wood press and cut in a circle to echo the hobbit hole doors.  A quote from J.R.R. Tolkien was included on the menu board, “If more of us valued food and cheer and song above hoarded gold, it would be a merrier world.”

-The Bride and Groom-


Our models did a fantastic job portraying our Bride and Groom.  Tina Parrish, owner of the Aveda Salon, Lumenisce, writes, “I think one of the most important components that made this shoot such a success is that each individual can incorporate their own artistic interpretation into the shoot.  I wanted to incorporate a soft, almost whimsical approach to the hair, airy with a soft visual flow.  I love working with this group, everyone takes their passion and personality and together reach the amazing final outcome.”  Amy Koehler, our Dior Makeup Artist writes, “I was inspired by the Dior Golden Jungle Fall 2012 Color Palette. I wanted to create a polished look:  soft brow, gold tones, a hint of rustic orange, and a mauvy brown lip.” Our bride wore a green necklace to give homage to the emerald necklace that Bilbo gave to the Elven King.


She wore beautiful Kate Spade shoes and a cuff bracelet from Michelle Phan’s Ever Eden jewelry line from Glamhouse.  The bride’s dress was provided by Fleur De Lis Bridal. They matched a perfect dress for our soft and natural theme.


Our groom was in brown pants and an orange vest that mimicked the colors we see Bilbo wearing in the Hobbit. Groom’s clothing was provided by The Bridal Shoppe in Crystal City, MO.

-First Look-


I wanted to tell a cute story of the Bride and Groom’s first look.  So I planned a gift exchange.  The groom gave the bride the cuff from Michelle Phan’s Ever Eden line.  I thought this would be a perfect gift for a Hobbit fan, because Michelle understands what it means to be an obsessed fan.  She is the number one subscribed female guru on youtube and her makeup tutorials inspire millions.  I’m sure our bride would be excited by the golden rings of the bracelet.


In The Hobbit, the leader of the dwarves, Thorin Oakenshield, has the key to open a door to the heart of the mountain.  I thought a key motif would help set the tone for shoot.  Instead of a key that would unlock treasures, our bride gives our groom the a key to her heart.  It was so important to get this photo just right.  I’m so happy with the results.



Our florist, Troy Flower Shop’s Carla Emert, went above and beyond the call of duty.  She writes, “When Andrea and I first started our brainstorming discussions leading up to the finished product, we were very excited about the infusion of organic, tactile floral elements into the natural setting of Cedar Lake Farms. We wanted to incorporate and layer the various textures of garden flowers and foliages while capturing the underlying mossy “green” element.”  I love the heart wreath that she bedecked with keys.



Our ceremony location was strategically placed to be most beautiful at sunset.  We wanted the setting to reflect Hobbiton.  Our stylists, Alaina and Ashleigh of All Dressed in White, made banners patterned off the flag banners seen for the briefest second in the latest trailer of The Hobbit.  We hung lanterns from the Party Tree and had a rose covered path down the center aisle.  Wood stumps decorated with flowers and candles made each row a lovely and inviting place for guests to sit.  Barrels play an important part in The Hobbit, so we had a welcome barrel with handkerchiefs for the guests to take when arriving at the ceremony.  Our flower girls wore customized dresses from Sweet Petunia Clothing and beautiful green wreaths in their hair.  To add another layer of fun, we had musician Lena Leclaire play an ancient instrument, the ocarina.  Although the ocarina plays no specific part in the Hobbit, Lena delighted us all by playing a rendition of “In Dreams.”


Image Image

Hobbits love their food.  Foods that are were important to include in our shoot were: mushrooms, strawberries, potatoes, sausages and ale.  Angie Roach of Creatively Sweet designed a cake modeled after Bilbo’s birthday cake from the Fellowship of the Ring.  She added natural elements and confectionary mushrooms. Custom wood-press chair signs were designed by Papercuts Paperie.

To see more images and video- check this out:

Hobbit Inspired Wedding Video

Thank you to all my vendor/friends who made this dream a reality. It was truly a night to remember. 🙂

11 thoughts on “There and Back Again: a Photographer’s Tale

    • Lol Amy!! I’m not good at doing makeup like you!! I wish I had better fashion sense- I’m working on it. 🙂 Thanks so much for the kind words

  1. Pingback: Hobbit Nerd « I love to tell the story

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