As New Zealand gears up for glitz, glamour and goblins, with the world premiere of The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey’s held in Wellington this week, one Auckland couple has already thrown themselves right into Middle Earth.
Self-proclaimed “geeks” James and Jen Knoesen wanted a wedding to suit their interests, and they saw no better way than to exchange “precious” wedding rings in a Lord of the Rings-themed ceremony. “We’re complete geeks,” laughs Jen, who met James through a mutual friend two and a half years ago.
“We’re both huge Lord of the Rings fans, and we really wanted a fun day that reflected our personalities rather than a traditional, straight-laced day,” adds James.
Everything about the romantic ceremony had a mythical element to it, from the guests dressing in capes and elf ears, to the Celtic tradition of handfasting, where six ribbons are tied around the couple’s joined hands to symbolise the strength of the union.
Jen and James also donned outfits inspired by Sir Peter Jackson’s trilogy – Jen dressed as Liv Tyler’s character Arwen, while James chose to base his costume on Aragorn.
“In the films, Aragorn has the tree of life on the front of his jacket,” explains James. “But I put a lion on there, ‘cause Jen think I'm kind of like a lion."
“That’s right,” giggles Jen. Even the groomsmen and bridesmaids were treated to custom-made tunics and gowns, with the men acting as James’ “ranger guards”, while the ladies were Jen’s “elfin ladies-in-waiting”– although the boys’ outfits required a little bit of Kiwi ingenuity.
“Mum and dad went to Mitre 10 and got some toolbelts, so we modified them to act as swordholders,” grins James. “We were so excited that all of our family and friends really got into the theme of the day,” adds Jen.
“When we first told everyone we got a few strange looks and a few surprised comments, but the closer the day got, the more excited everyone became.”
Despite their differing tastes in music – “James loves his metal and I grew up with gay men, so I love my Kylie,” laughs Jen – the bride was escorted up the oak-lined aisle by her dad David to theme music from the
LOTR movie soundtracks.
Once the bride and groomwere standing under the flower-adorned archway and the groomsmen’s swords were firmly sheathed, James and Jen exchanged both vows and “personal words”.
James wrote Jen a poem and thanked her for making him a better person, while Jen said she loved the way James sees the “real me”. And of course, no LOTR-themed wedding would be complete without the rings.
“It was funny, a couple of months after we started going out, there was a picture on Jen’s coffee table that looked like two hands holding something, they formed kind of an off-centred diamond,” remembers James. “I asked, ‘Is this a wedding ring?’ Turns out it was, and that’s the ring she has now.”
Although the newlyweds don’t quite live in Middle Earth, they’re looking forward to their married life together, as well as a very special date – going to see The Hobbit. “Oh, we’re absolutely going to be there,” grins Jen.