Edinboro Alumni Tie the Knot, Hold 'Lord of the Rings' Themed Wedding

Wednesday, February 10th, 2016 at 11:08 PM
Edinboro Alumni Tie the Knot, Hold 'Lord of the Rings' Themed Wedding by Tracy Geibel
Dylan Brozich presents his vows to Christopher Rooney. He had carved them in stone. It was similar to what he did for their first anniversary.

“We succeeded. We did it. Our love is literally written in stone.”

That’s how Dylan Brozich ended his vows to his husband, Christopher Rooney, on their wedding day. He had “literally” carved his vows in stone.

Dylan and Chris, both Edinboro University alumni, met in 2009 through a mutual friend while they were still in high school. Chris attended Edinboro directly after graduation, but Dylan began his college education at the University of Pittsburgh, approximately two hours from his boyfriend.

The two initially bonded over common interests. Both loved theater and fantasy and enjoy the game Dungeons and Dragons. It started out rather slowly, just as a friendship, but in April 2010, Chris asked Dylan to be his boyfriend.

Chris asked him out with a small scroll. He wrote the message in the Elven language so Dylan would have to translate it.

Dylan, who had some idea that Chris was going to ask, went through the process of decoding the message before saying, “Yes.”

The College Life

The two dated throughout high school, and while other couples may choose to separate when leaving for college, these two knew they wanted to stay together.

This time, Dylan presented Chris with a surprise. He gave him a promise ring. Inside the ring, he had inscribed, “We shall succeed.”

“It was about the relationship, our lives and everything,” Chris said.

That year was tough, but the two took every chance they had to see each other. They would make Skype calls and Dylan frequently took a Greyhound bus from Pittsburgh in order to visit.

“Dylan was very familiar with Edinboro,” Chris said. “Let’s say that.”

But being two hours apart was difficult. Dylan didn’t like being so far from Chris, and so for that reason, he transferred to Edinboro University for his sophomore year.

The two moved to College Park where they shared their first apartment together. It wasn’t an easy change, living together, but they wanted to make it work. For example, Chris is a “cleaning nut,” Dylan is not, so it took some time for them to adapt to the change.

“He had to get used to my quirks, and I had to get used to his…but we have weird rules we’ve kept since the beginning of our relationship,” Chris said, “like we never go to bed angry, we always talk about our days and listen to each other.”

Both realize the importance of communication, and they talk their problems out instead of yelling or fighting. More so, they spend time together, time to appreciate each other.

“We’ve been an old married couple since we met,” Dylan said.

What they were doing worked, as they have been living together since 2011.

The Engagement

In 2013, the couple accompanied Chris’ family on an annual camping trip. Chris knew Dylan had a ring in his pocket, and he anxiously was waiting for the moment.

“When are you going to propose?” Chris asked.

“I’m just waiting for the right moment,” Dylan answered.

The two were enjoying the day near Lake Erie when Dylan asked.

“And it was the right moment,” Chris said as he recalled that day. “I cried like a baby.

There was only one problem. They both loved each other, but they couldn’t get married, not in Pennsylvania. At that time, same sex marriage was illegal.

They were holding off on the wedding until after their college graduation, but they had discussed a few different plans. The couple considered going to New York where some of Chris’ family lived and same sex marriage was legal or even running away somewhere to elope.

“But, in that time frame between graduating college and deciding what we wanted to do, they legalized it,” Dylan said.

“We never thought we’d be able to get married in the first place and be recognized by the United States,” Chris said.

The Wedding Preparation

That’s when they decided that they would “go big or go home.”

The guest list started at 50 people, and by the end, had tripled to 150.

They were first considering a small church in Erie, but were unsure about where they would hold the reception if they held the ceremony there.

Then, they decided they should check the price at the Marriott located in Cranberry, since they were originally from that area and that’s where both worked at the time.

It ended up being more affordable than they first expected.

“And from there it just cascaded,” Chris said.

Rick Antestenis, general manager of Marriott Pittsburgh North, was ecstatic about helping with the wedding.

“Our team really embraced this creative theme, and everyone from our wedding specialists to our chef were dedicated to ensuring that Chris and Dylan’s wedding was even more perfect and magical than they ever dreamed of,” Antestenis said in a press release. He helped the couple find a designer, photographer and other vendors.

“So it blew up from this tiny, little idea to this big deal with the help of so many other people,” Dylan said.

And as they were theater majors in college, they “had to” have a theme for the wedding.

After some discussion, Dylan suggested Lord of the Rings, an idea that Chris loved. Chris was and still is what he calls a “Lord of the Rings junkie.”

“Everybody’s outfit in the entire wedding party was Lord of the Rings themed besides Dylan’s and mine,” Chris said. “My side was the hobbits and Dylan’s side was the elves.”

For the wedding ceremony, the banquet space was turned into the fictional land of Eriador in Middle Earth, the Lord of the Ring’s setting. The room was then transformed into the land of Lothlorien.

“For the reception, we really wanted to go for a whole different world,” Chris said.

And he and Dylan were impressed. The room was transformed into a magical place with blues, purples and “sparkling jewels.” Table assignments were based off of places in Middle Earth. They served lembas bread. They even had their rings designed by Jens Hanson, the designer who created the rings for the Lord of the Rings movies.

“We wanted to be surprised,” Chris said.

“So we didn’t know a thing the entire time,” Dylan continued.

“We didn’t know what to expect when we walked into our wedding, which was kind of funny and a little bit stressful at the same time,” Chris said.

And they were pleasantly surprised when they saw the décor. Dylan said that the designer had got the theme perfectly.

The Other Problem

“The only thing that did cause a little bit of a snafu was our outfits,” Dylan said.

Chris was supposed to go dressed as Gandalf the White and Dylan was to be Elrond.

They found a designer from Germany, so they kept in touch with her via email and phone. They received updates on a regular basis, but the date kept getting pushed back. Then, the week of the wedding, the couple couldn’t get in touch with her.

Worried they wouldn’t have the costumes in time, the Marriott offered Dylan and Chris free tux rentals. The costumes never arrived.

“We didn’t find out until after the wedding that the reason the costumes didn’t make it was because the costume designer, she actually had a cardiac infarction…She was in the hospital.”

The couple said the designer was “very apologetic” and refunded their money.

So the wedding went a little different than they had planned, but the two made the best of it. “My best man, Sam, he made us feel a little better,” Dylan said. “He said instead of being a part of the fantasy of the wedding, we got to be ourselves and have our wedding in this fantasy world.”

The Vows

In the weeks leading up to the wedding, “he challenged me,” Dylan said.

“My vows will be so much better than yours,” Chris said.

“We’ll see about that,” Dylan responded.

Chris, who works as a wedding minister, often suggests that people write their vows either the day before their wedding or say them “on the spot” at the ceremony. Taking his own advice, he planned what he was going to say, but didn’t write it out.

He created an acronym with Dylan’s name. D for dignity, Y for youth, L for loyalty, A for acceptance, and N for nurture. He promised these for the rest of Dylan’s life.

When planning his vows, Dylan thought back on their first anniversary. At that time, he found a rock and engraved it.

“I was sitting as my desk chipping away at this rock with a hammer and a thumb tack,” Dylan said.

Then, he thought back on the day they left for two different colleges and thought of the inscription on the promise ring he gave to Chris. “We shall succeed,” it read.

It was difficult because whenever he wasn’t at work, he was with Chris, but Dylan snuck out behind the apartment. He picked out the perfect rock and took it to work with him.

The day of the wedding, Dylan presented Chris with the rock.

At the end of the vows, Dylan said, “We succeeded. We did it. Our love is literally written in stone.”

Tracy Giebel is the executive editor for The Spectator and she can be reached at edinboro.spectator@gmail.com.

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