Hannah, a wedding photographer, and her husband James decided while on holiday in 2013 that they wanted to renew their vows. They decided to do it in France in July this year. They only brought their two children with them as witnesses, but having a great photographer was also really important to them. They booked Jordanna Marston to go out with them from the UK. The ceremony took place on the banks of Biscarrosse Lac.
“We had talked about renewing our vows when we were on holiday in Slovakia in 2013”, began Hannah. “It was such a beautiful place, we were sat by a stunning lake surrounded by mountains, I knew then that I wanted to do our vows by the water somewhere gorgeous! We didn’t want a massive fuss or a party, it was more about us and how we felt about each other and of course our kids. I had a client tell me last year she was having a handfasting ceremony, so after looking it up I thought it was a lovely symbolism and we had Jake and Erin tie ribbons around mine and James’ hands.”
“I looked at eternity rings but found them all… well, a bit crap!” she continued. “Then James suggested that we get tattoos instead. For us, this is way more meaningful. We’re both artistically minded and it’s a way we express ourselves and document times of our lives. I had a hot air balloon to signify the journey of our relationship, the anchor was important because James is my anchor. He keeps me grounded even in rough seas. James chose a swallow as they’re loyal and strong so it represented our relationship perfectly… plus as he pointed out ‘you like birds’ (I’ve got a few swallows as tattoos, on dresses and jewellery!!) We went to Charlotte’s Web in Northampton for our tattoos. It was the first time we’ve had one done together and was an ace experience.”
“Looking into vow renewals, I decided we didn’t want or need an officiant. We wanted it much more intimate than having a stranger there. Jake, our 15 year old, opened the renewal with the reading ‘I Like You’ by Sandol Stoddard Warburg, then we said our vows to each other which we’d both written separately. After that the children tied our hands and Erin finished the vows with a lovely poem.”
“After the ceremony I booked a table at L’idylle Café, which was on the beach of the lake but it had one table out on the lake which is where we had our meal afterwards”, she said. “It was so gorgeous watching the sunset over the trees inland in our own private little place on the water.”
“It’s hard to pick one favourite moment”, Hannah explained, “but I can’t actually believe how nervous I felt as I was getting ready with Erin and Jordanna at the hotel. Considering James and I have been together for 10 years, I still had butterflies! Hearing my children do the readings was up there… James managing to get my untidiness into his vows made me laugh. Strangely, the part I was most anxious about was what I ended up really enjoying and that was having our photos taken. Jordanna was brilliant. Being out in the lake with no-one around, the water was super warm, the sun had set behind the trees and this beautiful pink and purple haze was surrounding the lake. James and I were just having a bloody good snog out there on our own… we didn’t even really notice Jordanna. It felt ace!”
“The only thing we really spend money on was our photographer”, she concluded. “My dress was from TX Maxx and it cost £16! Nothing else was really important to us in terms of monetary value though. I wanted the memories saved forever. Jordanna’s work is beautiful and I had the utmost trust in her to capture our vow renewal. What I wasn’t expecting was to have my breath totally blown away when I saw the photos. It was like she’d crawled inside my head and seen my vision. She nailed it, and then some! I’m not body confident and much prefer being behind a camera, so I was more worried that I would cock it up for her! I need not have worried though, Jordanna concreted the story of our renewal, the emotions we felt, the happiness, the warmth… everything.”