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.”
Rebecca bought Cati’s dress from a charity shop. She had actually owned it for years but never worn it. “I bought the years ago but I have never been able to fit into it but could never throw it away”, she said. “I knew Cati would love it and on the day it fit her perfectly! It was the charity shop/lace version of Cinderella and the slipper. Her leather belt was bought from the same Hospice shop I bought the crocheted doilies for the dream catchers.”
Most of the décor in the outside space was made from things the couple already owned. “I used a lot of Cati and Ash’s own furniture, throws and trunks for props”, Rebecca said. “The logs come from a local tree felling company. I hand drew the owls, feathers and skull on the smaller wooden discs. I made the arrows from twigs, washi tape and card board ‘feathers’.”
“The teepee was very easy to construct. After the renewal, Ash dug the tepee poles into the ground for the kids to play in. The dream catchers were also very easy to make by stringing doilies in the centre of crossstitch frames, bent branch circles (I did this) or even hula-hoops. The log discs were just slices of logs which we drew on with a marker. You could also use a stencil and paint.”