This storybook ending for Melanie Kazmercyk and Eric Morgridge was nine years in the making. After connecting on a dating website in 2014, Morgridge sent Kazmercyk a message about one of her photos in which she brandishes a sword from The Lord of the Rings franchise, something near and dear to both of their hearts. Two bottles of wine later (they “closed” the restaurant that night), they knew that their love story was more than a fairytale — it was the real deal.
In the winter of 2021, Kazmercyk and Morgridge stole away for a romantic getaway to a secluded lake house in New Hampshire. After a full day of ski lessons on the slopes, the two hadn’t had enough of the gentle snow starting to fall. Bundling back up, they ventured outside to play in the fresh powder. Between giggles and snowflakes, Morgridge fell to one knee and proposed — complete with Lord of the Rings references for good measure. When it came time for the engagement photos, model and creative director Kazmercyk took the fantasy idea and ran with it. “I wanted to go all out,” she explains. “We got such great feedback, and it was nice that it didn’t have to be the standard engagement shoot.” Set against Breitenbach Castle in Altamont, clad in elaborate medieval garb (and weapons!), the two seemed plucked straight out of a novel, holding true to the roots of what brought them together.
Held at the pastoral Seven Ponds Farm in Summit, the rustic outdoor ceremony offered an intimate and mellow tone, much like the couple themselves. And for many taking planes, trains, and automobiles to attend, the venue was ideal as a hub for all wedding festivities. “We knew we had a lot of family traveling in for the wedding,” explains Kazmercyk. “From the rehearsal to Sunday brunch, we knew we wanted to do the whole weekend.”
From tasteful subtleties to self-proclaimed “dorky” details, every step was curated and personalized without leaning too hard into the theme. “We didn’t want any of the old traditions, and we’re not religious,” says Kazmercyk. “So, we thought, let’s make a new tradition, and wanted to go dorky in the classiest way possible.”
The pre-ceremony music was filled with instrumental versions of fantasy movie and video game music themes, and the ceremony was speckled with Tolkien references. Perhaps one of the most awe-inspiring moments was the presenting of the House Sword they had forged from two different metals for the occasion. When the vows were said and the bride was kissed, the two were officially introduced as “Lord and Lady.”
While the gowns and armor could be squirreled away for the Ren Faire, Kazmercyk encouraged her guests to bring a prop or some accessories to get in on the fun — one guest even carried an axe. “It was really lovely to have our guests involved in that way and want to be part of it.”
The seating chart displayed artist watercolor paintings of locations from Middle Earth, and each table had a location theme, such as The Shire, Gondor, and Rivendell. Moss, ferns, floating candles, earthy fall flowers, lanterns, and fairytale-themed wine charms adorned the dinner tables, letting the feeling of whimsy hang in the crisp fall evening.
The bride’s dress was volumized with layers of tulle, capturing the ethereal and romantic vibe of the day. In lieu of traditional bouquets, the bridal party carried lanterns adorned with cascading ivy while sporting elegant rust-colored gowns. The groomsman, also playing off of the autumnal color palette, wore forest-green suits with brown accents.
For Kazmercky, there is no moment that stands out as most memorable — the entire day, from start to finish, was dreamier than she could have imagined. But if she had to pick a moment when she realized it had all come together, it was their first dance as a married couple. The two floated across the floor with a choreographed routine to Disney’s “Once Upon A Dream,” as their own love story’s next chapter was written before their eyes.
Jessie Casey Photography
Selene Bridal Alterations & Custom Designs
Matty Stuart of MD Music & Entertainment
Hans of Behold Films
Brittany Burl of Krystal Rose Studios
Leah Francesca Makeup
Amanda Kingsley of Allora Farm & Flowers