I met my wife while playing lord of the rings online an mmor game.
It all started when mines of moria expansion came out our kin (band of people across the world) rushed off to level their characters up so they could play the new 6 man instances.
I played a hobbit minstrel named Bappi, and Shirley played a elven Guardian named Kahlan. We teamed up to do the quests as Kahlan had the hitting power and I being a hobbit healer kept her alive or revived her if she succumbed to her wounds. Once most of the kin had leveled they needed a healer so Shirley and I were playing together all day virtually every day. We got quite close and found we could comfortably chat to each other about most of life's problems so swapped Facebook profiles so we could see the person behind the characters. I liked what I saw. After a brief spell we swapped mobile numbers and text most days usually when she was doing the school run picking her 2 girls up.
I was in a rocky marriage and waiting for the right time to leave, it came out of the blue mid April when my (at the time) wife decided she wanted a trial separation, I knew what that meant and moved out lock stock and barrel That night.
Shirley was also in a rocky marriage (wondering how to get out) but couldn't, my moving into digs pushed her forward and she decided to come on holiday to make sure I was doing OK, Shirley lived in Newcastle in the UK and I was on an island the Isle of Wight on the south coast UK.
Shirley booked the May Bank holiday weekend to come down and due to her then husband being the usual tit binned the coach ticket, She then decided sod it I'm going regardless and picked the ticket up out of the bin.
The day arrived and Shirley had an early start and got to the island late evening after a 12 hour coach trip.
I picked her up from the hovercraft this very shy cute girl had traveled a long way to see me.
We didn't say much on the journey back to the hotel she was staying in and I thought that might have been a bad omen but this was short lived, We arrived and she checked herself in then went to the bar to chat and have a few drinks, it was quite late by this time and we decided to walk back to where I was staying in sandown. So we walked along the sea wall from Shanklin to Sandown about a mile and a half usually taking 35 minutes. well we finally got to my place around 1am.
The next day we met for dinner and went to a nice restaurant then had another walk on the downs followed by an evening meal at yet another restaurant. We hit it off so well it seemed we had known each other for ages and everything just slotted into place making both of us feel right at home in each others arms. The Sunday was pretty much the same had Sunday lunch and talked about what had happened and what was going to happen for the future, we chatted about our feelings and what ifs, we decided that this was right for both of us and therefore the outcome would be that Shirley was going to go home wait for her redundancy pay check then pack and move down to be with me.
Monday morning came around and I was not looking forward to saying goodbye I drove Shirley back to the boat where she bought her ticket (the plan was I was saying goodbye at the pier and going back home) YEA RIGHT......
I decided I was going to jump on the ferry last minute so I could be with Shirls just a little longer I could wait in Portsmouth with her while she waited for her coach to take her back to London then onto her other coach back up north. When we arrived at the coach stop Shirls coach was already in so we said our goodbyes had hugs and kisses and a few more kisses, then Shirley got on her coach and sat in a window seat looking at me my face must have shown I was feeling upset she kept telling me to smile.
Suddenly around the corner a young woman appeared ushering her 2 kids and pushing a buggy "how much to get to London please" she said the driver told her and she climbed on board, the bus driver loaded her buggy in the baggage rack and climbed back on board.
WELL ..................... NEXT I knew I was climbing on that coach saying ticket to London please fella............ yep I bought as ticket and sat down next to my elf.
It took 3 hours to get to London so we chatted more about what we were going to do for our future. Arrived in London.. I then had to go and buy another ticket to get back home then realized I had forgotten to get a ticket for my car which was parked on Ryde pier oops!!!! that could mean a fine or wheel clamped when I got back.
Finally the time came when I couldn't go on and had to come home so we said our goodbyes and each got on our respective coaches to start the long journey without each others company. It was a long lonely trip home and many texts were sent between both of us, Shirley was asked by a fellow passenger if she was OK as she had started to weep.
She also did something she didn't very often do and phoned a friend for advice, the advice was to do what would make her happiest.
When I finally got back to my car there was no ticket & there was no wheel clamp. Was it a sign?
The next month was very quiet both texting each other at every opportunity finally the chosen day had arrived a flat had been found paperwork had been filled in except for Shirley's signature which she had to rush to the library to print off sign and send back to the estate agents to allow me to be able to pick the keys up. Shirley's then husband had to go and be best man for a friend who was having the stag do over a weekend in June. He went off and a van pulled up with Shirley's dad and uncle, belongings were hastily packed up boxed up loaded onto the van and then a dash to the train station for the return journey to me. Everyone turned up late into the evening of the Saturday night Sunday morning. Kids were put to bed Shirley crashed and so did dad and uncle. Sunday we all said goodbye to her dad and uncle so they could get the ferry back home and our new lives could start.
2 years later Shirley's mum and dad also moved to the island for a better life together away from the cold north air.
Shirley had said right from the start she NEVER wanted to get married again and as this was my 3rd go at love I agreed, so I promised Shirley I would never ask her but if ever she changed her mind she would have to propose to me. Well 8 years later and no arguments between us her daughter Katelyn got round to telling mum she wished I was her step dad and that put cogs in motion.
One Saturday we were sat in the sunny field waiting for Katelyn to finish horse riding, and Shirley mentioned that word MARRIAGE I told her if she was waiting for me to ask she would be waiting a long time and reminded her of my promise I would never ask her and SHE would have to propose to ME...
Soooo she did, I made her do it all again on 1 knee and with witnesses present and of course her daughter so she couldn't back out.
Over Christmas 2016 Shirley wanted to know what I wanted for Christmas so I told her I wanted a date, we thought of 2, May 1st or July 29th both fitting to our story. A venue had to be found our first choice was not a very good one and certainly not wheelchair friendly, so we went to venue no 2. This was Ventnor Botanic Gardens, Shirley's boss told her to shut accounts and go have a look to see what they thought of the place, it was a good area and the part we would be married in was called the New Zealand garden, very appropriate.
We decided to have a cosplay themed lord of the rings wedding and plans were put into action, costumes had to be found a cake had to be thought up and made.
I decided I was going as my in-game character although this swiftly turned into Bilbo Baggins, Shirley found a gorgeous Elven wedding dress on pinterest and I found a very good Bilbo outfit on another site, mine was ordered and a custom fit had to be made with measurements sent in at the time of ordering, wasn't happy about the colour of the trousers so ordered some tobacco coloured corduroys to go with the outfit. Shirley decided if she could find the right material she was going to get the dress made locally so it could be made to fit correctly unfortunately we couldn't find the right material and with time running out I went ahead and ordered the one we had originally seen. Dress arrived a bit long and a bit tight so round to a friends to get her to look at ways to adjust. This was done and dress fitted perfectly. My outfit arrive trousers I had ordered turned out to be more like a pair of very short shorts almost showing my butt cheeks .... they went straight in the bin.
You cant have a party in middle earth with hobbits and dwarfs without bear barrels...
I hunted around and eventually found a company that rented wooden bear barrels out for 25 pounds each, 4 were ordered 3 were rough looking and 1 was white oak near new condition this was to be placed center stage with our cake on it.
We went to a wedding fair to get ideas as to flowers and center pieces for tables this was being held at our chosen venue so we went and had a good look around with 1 month to spare till our day. While waiting to speak to a person on a stool with flowers we were approached by a wedding photographer asking if we were collecting paperwork ie leaflets advertising. We got talking and eventually got round to our novel wedding idea. Well Duncan (the photographer) was into all this he was a pagan and loved the whole larping scene. Unfortunately we hadn't thought of a photographer having decided instead to use an online app and have all guests upload their pics so we could all see each others and pick out any we wanted to keep. Finally meeting the flower lady we made arrangements to meet at her shop for a chat as to what it was we wanted.
A few weeks later we had discussed and chosen autumn/winter flowers for one bridesmaid spring/summer flowers for the other and for the bride we chose flowers that had healing property's and herbs to match our theme. The lady said that Duncan had been very disappointed we hadn't asked him to do the wedding pics and gave us his number just in case we would change our minds, well we thought about it called and said our plans had changed could he do it, he was over the moon we had asked and of course was told can't come unless your dressed up in costume this he was only too pleased to do.
We bought wedding invites and made our own bits to match and sent everything out electronically to all our guests. The cake was ordered and designs were picked out (but I never saw the finished cake till wedding day). We decided to have each table themed with different elements of the game so a drinking horn was located bought and placed on a bed of moss (this was Boromir's horn, a wooden treasure chest was purchased and 1 kg of midget gem sweets were bought along with 1 kg of chocolate coins. We had an old fish tank ornament with 2 faces on which resembled an Ent so this was used also. We bought a model of Minas Tirith and that also got used along with an arkenstone and other bits. A money tree was bought and 40 leaves were designed and cut out with ribbon attached also bought 40 small hessian bags. 40 laurel leave broaches/necklaces were also bought these were to be given to all guests as a keepsake. The money tree was decorated with surplus leaves and upon every plate was to be placed a hessian sack a leaf and a small card along with the laurel leaf.
We spoke to the wedding coordinator about our menu which we wanted plain foods nothing spicy and had to fit in with our theme, they really went to town with it sending us 2 versions and updates as they went. We even changed our wedding vows to fit our theme apart from the few words that have by law to stay the same. The registrar checked and agreed to our masterpiece.
The date 2nd May the time 3pm the venue Ventnor botanic gardens.
40 guests had been invited and 36 came dressed in costume only 4 didn't.
We arrived at the venue went upstairs to change our flowers were already there and they looked stunning, the headpiece was carefully unpacked and our bride was helped into dress and head piece by myself and my sister, the registrars turned up at 2:30 and had unfortunately not been informed it was a costume wedding so didn't dress up but said if they had known would have loved to do so. We went through the formalities and she looked at our wedding vows and gulped, yep there were words and names she would have to read out that she didn't know, she had 1 try in front of us seemed to go OK.
3pm came all the guests arrived and were ushered into the gardens where our wedding would take place remember this was a public gardens and there were unsuspecting public wondering around everywhere except our part where we had put up the obligatory signs " no admittance except on party business" placed on barriers blocking the access.
no one knew what was going to happen next apart from bride and myself. Shirley had decided she didn't want to be walking down the aisle as center of attention like in a normal stuffy wedding as seeing as we had so far kept every tradition well away from our day this was to be no exception, so we formed a fellowship, There was Saurman in white at the front followed by Shirley my elven maiden and me Bilbo, then came my son dressed as dwarf taking up the rear we had 3 yes 3 bridesmaids Rosie cotton (bar wench), Katelyn (elven princess), and amber (elven huntress).
Our chosen tune was played to tell us it was time to start walking into the grounds we all marched forward. Bilbo was bare footed and the groundsman had lovingly put fresh wood chippings down in front of the wedding chapel, it hurt....
After the wedding ceremony was over we reformed our fellowship and walked back out. There we broke up and went into the marque to look at the wonderful cake that was on display and boy was it great. The lady had gone to town on it the bottom layer was round with white icing and piped onto it was the outline of buildings from Rivendell there in the center was an icing replica of Arwens evenstar necklace,this layer depicting the elves, next tier was a hobbit hole with a door windows and foliage around the door windows etc on the reverse side was painted a scene overlooking the far away hills and fields this depicted the hobbits, the top tier was had an arch on it with an even star hanging from the center this was the necklace Arwen wore in the film. Around the arch had been placed ivy leaves and this was also put on the top of the cake and down 1 side and to finish it off around the base of the cake in gold elven script was the words congratulations Shirley and Adrian.
OUR wedding day had been a roaring success it was party atmosphere from the start to the finish and nothing traditional ............... it's still talked about today.
Unknown to us at the time the islands first Comicon was being thought up.....................................................
Well when we found out plans were put in motion to get our wedding gear checked out ready for the day, then tragedy happened 1 month before the opening of the islands first ever Comicon I ruptured a disc and slipped another and was in severe pain. It was looking like we wouldn't make it to this years event which was a pity as Manu Bennet was to be attending yes the white orc himself. Well the Saturday 4th November came around I was still in pain but walking on crutches I still couldn't drive and sitting hurt like hell, but I was determined I would go at least one of the 2 days. Sunday couldn't come quick enough we were picked up dressed in our wedding cloths (who gets to wear wedding outfits at a Comicon). We arrived at the venue got our tickets and proceeded inside It was a great day we met Manu, Shirley got his autograph I got to grind teeth at the white orc and flashing my 1 ring. We were stopped so many times by so many people it was great everyone loved our outfits and when asked why we chose what we were wearing we both just said "this was what we wore for our wedding". Victoria Atkin was there and asked for our picture, she was from Assassins Creed, Manu announced he could smell hobbit so I said want your arm back and by the way I still have precious in my pocket. Alien Covenant had a stall there were 3 of their team there and again pics were asked for by them of us. I was asked if I was entering the cosplay competition and I told them my woeful tale of my back and not thinking I would even be there today. While walking around the area where all the guests were busy signing autographs we were told by a few we should get a desk sit down sign autographs and have our pics taken as well . Well that made me start thinking, I asked if I could enter the comp and was told NO. We walked down to the Q&A area where we waited for Manu Bennet to take his turn I got to ask a question too. Well one of the guys running the Q&A Alex Watts came to the back of the area where we were standing after announcing the cosplay competition was about to start so I took my chance and asked if I could enter telling him I was unsure I would have got there because of my back so hadn't entered. I WAS IN, he said tag onto the back of the queue forming. Well slowly but surely 1 by 1 cosplayers went up on stage told who they were what character they had come as did their turn posed for pics and left. I finally had my turn, I managed to get on stage and Alex announced and this chap who needs no introduction nearly didn't make it today why was that. So I had to tell everyone in the audience about my ruptured disc and slipped disc and why I nearly didn't enter the competition. Well next came "and why did you choose your character" I had everything ready to say and blurted out "this was my wedding outfit" no that's not what I had rehearsed. Well what happened next questions came flying in Des O'Gorman asked if the young lady in white was my wife and I said yes Alex asked her to join me on stage Shirley shook her head and stayed sat down. Well Des wasn't having that and leapt off the stage and went over grabbed her hand and said come on.
Once on stage we had to go through the saga of how we started playing the game online together and levelled up and then met in real life and got married in our themed wedding.
The 3rd place winner was Mithrell from final fantasy,
2nd place went to 3D printed Batman
Then the winner was announced yes it was BILBO BAGGINS
i was gob smacked I couldn't believe it .....
What a day it had been painful but worth it.
I hope you all liked my tale this is a true story and fairly accurate recollection of facts and occurrences that happened and led up to my winning Sunday 5th November IOW COMICON 2017.