Sam and Timm were married ten years ago in Vegas. They wanted to renew their vows and so they invited all their friends and family to a party in their own back garden.
“We had originally planned to have a big wedding ten years ago, but we had a few hiccups so we decided to run off to Vegas, keep things small and get married by Elvis instead!” Sam began. “We’d always wanted a big wedding though, so renewing our vows was our chance to do just that. As we didn’t need to worry about any of the legal stuff, we hosted it at home so we could have everything exactly to our taste. We didn’t want to have compromises or restrictions this time!”
The couple have had a tough few years with Sam being very ill, so the vow renewal was also a really amazing way for them to celebrate coming out the other side. “Our renewal fell a year after, almost to the day, of my first life saving surgery so it was a really poignant moment”, she continued. “I had struggled enormously with my self esteem and confidence after the surgeries left my body totally changed. The day was just so amazing. I loved all of it. It was the best day ever from start to finish.”
More than 100,000 get married in Vegas every single year. There is something quite magical about getting away from it all and eloping on your own terms! That’s exactly what photographer Bethan wanted when she and her husband John decided to renew their vows. They wanted to have the day just for them and the only person they brought with them was their wedding photographer, Lisa Jane.
The couple met at 18, when they were both at the same university and have been together ever since. “That first year of university, and every year that has passed since, has been pretty damn awesome”, Bethan told me. “In fact 16 years of adventures and good times have passed and John and I live one of those sickly true love story things but neither of us are embarrassed to shout about it.”
“Our 16th anniversary might seem like an odd year to celebrate in style but the truth be told the year before that been just a little crazy. Renovating our house, putting our heart and souls into our business and just about managing to remind our friends and family that we existed, so we didn’t get a chance to do much at all that year. We had a wonderful wedding six years ago, a brilliant day filled with loved ones and partying, but it passed so quickly. I wouldn’t change a thing about our actual wedding day, and I am from a very close family, but when we decided to renew our vows, we thought it would be fitting for it to just be us. No distractions, no worrying of people were having a good time, just all about me and my boy and our love for each other. It felt a little self indulgent at first but sometimes there is nothing wrong with a little selfishness and celebrating how much you blooming love each other.”
Seven years after their wedding, Cati and Ash renewed their vows. They did so in their own back garden in Johannesburg with just their kids and their photographer in attendance. They wrote their own vows and had them printed on the back of their wedding album, which they read out to each other.
Rebecca from Runaway Romance helped them plan the whole thing. “This in essence was a styled shoot that included my very dear friends letting me take over their home and gorgeous children”, she wrote. “On a deeper much more personal note this was part of my own healing process. It felt like I had been holding my breath for months, watching my friend and her family go through the excruciating stages of cancer treatment. I couldn’t do anything, I couldn’t change anything. So when it finally did come to an end, this was my way of exhaling, rejoicing and doing something. For me the point of the afternoon was to celebrate the fact that this family had gone through incredibly hard times and come out not only intact but thriving.”
“When Rebecca originally approached us with the idea of a vow renewal, I did not expect it to be as meaningful and powerful as it was” Cati continued. “She presented us with a moment that was unbelievably beautiful and intimate. She really understood who we are and how we would celebrate. Her attention to detail and her thought behind each aspect really blew me away. We have come so far, and we are not the same kids that promised for better or worse seven years ago. To be able to renew our vows to each other, with our children standing right by our sides, made us realise just how much we have done together and just how much love can accomplish.”