Mandie Bettencourt and Julian Roman became acquainted online playing Final Fantasy XI, met in person for the first time at Game Stop, and got engaged at a Renaissance Faire. So it seems only natural that the two married on the SyFy reality show My Big Fat Geek Wedding in a Lord of the Rings and Game of Thrones-inspired celebration.
After being selected to appear on the show, the whirlwind of wedding planning began. The couple worked with celebrity wedding planner Kristin Banta as well as the show’s production company to confirm major details; however, some aspects of the day were concealed, for the sake of the show and the newlyweds’ reactions. “Thankfully, it all turned out great and they treated the whole event with respect,” Julian says.
The couple’s 80 guests gathered at a stunning southern California home modeled after a 17th century castle, chosen due to its authentic, medieval yet not cheesy design. The ceremony, inspired by the ethereal Elven forest called Rivendell in Lord of the Rings, was held under a cluster of giant trees from which chandeliers were hung. Wooden pews faced the altar: a circle formed out of cut logs, interspersed with white flowers and bordered by stones. The bride, groom, wedding party, and many guests were outfitted in medieval-style costumes; bridesmaids also donned prosthetic elf ears while groomsmen carried swords.
During the ceremony, Julian surprised Mandie with a choreographed swordfight between himself, Legolas, and Khal Drogo. “It was very hard to keep such a cool secret from Mandie,” Julian reveals. “Personally, I’d love to see sword fights become a wedding staple in the future.” The vows included a handfasting ritual and, per Mandie’s request, a live falcon delivered the rings.
The party moved inside the castle – which would befit King’s Landing of Game of Thrones – for dinner. Guests dined at long wooden tables, decorated with vibrant floral centerpieces, moss-covered wood, and colorful fruit. Medieval-style music helped guests become absorbed in the atmosphere, as did a surprise appearance by a dragon during the couple’s speech. A cake inspired by Bilbo Baggins’ birthday cake, topped with Daenerys’ box of dragon eggs, capped off a magical night.
The newlyweds hope their fairy-tale wedding inspires others to express themselves and their interests proudly. “Don’t be ashamed!” Julian urges. “Whatever you’re into, let your geek flag fly high and free!”
Beauty Kat Bardot Bridal Gown Firefly Path Bridesmaid Gowns Tadashi Shoji Cake Fantasy Frostings Consulting/Event Design Kristin Banta Events Entertainment Dream World Cirque Floral Design Krista Jon for Archive Formalwear Western Costume Company Menus East Six Jewelry EidelPrecious Lighting Design Zach Driscoll for T Group Productions Linens Archive Rentals Photography Alexandra Lee Nurthen Photography Registries MyRegistry.com Rentals Archive Rentals; Classic Party Rentals Venue/Catering Lobo Castle Videography T Group Productions