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This Hudson Valley Castle Engagement Shoot Will Blow You Away

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All photos by Jessie Casey

A love for fantasy led this couple to plan their fairytale, medieval-themed engagement shoot at Breitenbach Castle in Altamont.

Melanie Kazmercyk and Eric Morgridge have a relationship out of a fairytale, with a stunning fantasy engagement shoot to match. The couple showcased their love for each other through a medieval-themed photoshoot that pays homage to the passions that drew them to one another.

The two first crossed paths on a dating site back in 2014, when Morgridge messaged Kazmercyk about a photo on her profile that pictured her brandishing a sword from Lord of the Rings – a franchise beloved by both Kazmercyk and Morgridge since childhood. 

fantasy engagement themed lord of the rings

After we closed down the restaurant on our first date, just talking over our second bottle of wine, it was quite obvious we had a lot more in common than just our love for all things fantasy,” recalls Kazmercyk.

Fast forward to the winter of 2021, where Kazmercyk and Morgridge were enjoying a romantic getaway to a secluded lake house in New Hampshire. After a day of ski lessons on the slopes, the two cozied up inside, sipping cocktails as the snow began to fall. True to the sense of adventure ever-present in their relationship, the pair bundled up and ventured outside to play in the fresh powder. 

“We were laying out there enjoying each other’s company, being silly and basking in the silence and darkness with soft snow falling. Suddenly Eric got down on one knee, started talking about how happy I made him, and asked me to marry him – complete with a Lord of the Rings reference for good measure,” says Kazmercyk.

Through joyful tears, Kazmercyk said “yes!” With that, the couple turned to the next chapter of their epic romance – engagement!

fantasy themed engagement

Considering Kazmercyk and Morgridge’s love for everything medieval and fantasy, incorporating these aesthetics into their engagement shoot was a must. For years, the couple attended renaissance faires and reenactments dressed in full period garb – swords and shields included, of course.

fantasy themed engagement

“We knew a typically themed shoot wouldn’t be authentic to us and we needed to indulge and show our dorky side, so a medieval fantasy theme was a no-brainer,” says Kazmercyk.

fantasy themed engagement

Nothing says medieval fantasy quite like frolicking through the grounds of a magical stone castle. Breitenbach Castle, located in Altamont, serves as the perfect backdrop for the engagement shoot, transporting the couple to a magical land akin to their favorite fictional worlds.

fantasy themed engagement

Every detail of the shoot was meticulously planned by Kazmercyk, Morgridge, and their impressive creative team. 

The couple donned intricate braids deftly woven by hair stylist Brittany Alison, inspired by the elaborate styles worn in Lord of the Rings. Their ethereal makeup was flawlessly done by artist Leah Francesca, drawing attention to the couples’ intense, loving gaze.

Their outfits are a collection of the various garments Kazmercyk and Morgridge gathered over their years of dressing up for events and festivals. Kazmercyk wears a gorgeous embroidered maroon gown, custom fitted by ArmStreet. Morgridge’s dashing look was designed to complement his bride-to-be, with pieces from Medieval Collectibles and complete with a replica of Gandalf’s sword.

lord of the rings engagement

Photographer Jessie Casey brought the vision to life. In one photo, Kazmercyk and Morgridge look serious and powerful, ready to slay dragons and save their kingdom. In the next, the couple giggles with infectious smiles and seemingly can’t hide their adoration for one another. But every shot showcases the couple’s love and devotion, in both their dream-like fantasy and real-life relationship.

As an artist of many trades, including modeling, Kazmercyk is no stranger to the camera. But doing a photoshoot with her future husband was unlike any other experience.

fantasy themed engagement

“It made me so happy that this guy I was marrying was as into this as I was. We were so excited that we had to keep from smiling and giggling and do our best to have more ‘soft’ and ‘serious’ expressions,” says Kazmercyk. “It was definitely my first shoot where the photographer kept instructing me to kiss the other model so much – and I didn’t mind it!”

fantasy themed engagement

When the couple ties the knot in October, the ceremony will include elements of their fantasy theme. Instead of flowers, bridesmaids will carry lanterns trailing with ivy, and arrangements will include moss and greenery to invoke feelings of an enchanted forest. Guests are encouraged to wear medieval accessories like crowns and jewelry to match their titles of Lord and Lady or Duke and Duchess. As a symbol of their union, Morgridge will forge a “House Sword” from two different metals, honoring the couple’s love and commitment.

fantasy theme engagement

The creative team from the engagement shoot will work with the pair again to capture the magic of their special day. Set to take place at the idyllic Seven Ponds Farm in Summit, the wedding promises feasting and merriment fit for kings and queens.

Related: Natural Beauty and Romance Shine at This Rustic Catskills Wedding

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