Our (Surprise) 10 Year Vow Renewal


Vow renewals for other people seem fun.  But, when I started thinking about our 10 year anniversary and possibly doing a vow renewal it just seemed… cheesy.  The thought of asking people to come watch us declare our love for one another (again) did not seem appealing.  We’d been there and done that.  I wanted our vow renewal to be intimate and personal.  I started planning in January and going into it, I knew there were a few things I wanted.

– I wanted it to be a surprise for Chuck.  Chuck is the most thoughtful, caring, and romantic husband a girl could ask for.  I wanted to do this for him to.  I wanted to marry him all over again and show him that I am still as committed to him as I was 10 years ago.  To show him I love him even more now than I did before.  I knew that doing this would mean a lot to him and make it even more special.

– I wanted to include my kids.  I really wanted this to just be about us.  Our little family.  I wanted our kids to see that we are a team and we are still committed to each other.  I wanted them to be able to experience that and for it to hopefully shape the way they see relationships and love in the future.

And while I wanted them to be a part of it, I didn’t want it to be about them.  I chose to opt out of doing any sort of commitment ceremony with the kids.  Every single day we are committed to our kids.  I wanted this day to be about Chuck and I and for them to see that and know that our relationship with each other is just as important as our relationship with them.

I told Brayden about it 2 weeks before.  I waited until the day of our anniversary to tell Kennedy.  Because that girl cannot keep a secret to save her life. I know Kennedy won’t remember it except through pictures, but my hope is that Brayden will.  I hope he will remember how special it was that he got to walk me down the aisle.

– I wanted to include as many of the same vendors as possible.  We held the ceremony at the same place we got married, Occasions at Laguna Village, and even had the same coordinator.  I can’t even tell you how instrumental she was to help pull this whole thing off.  I couldn’t have done it without Dayna.

I also found our same officiant.  I found our ceremony text (there’s a reason I keep all those thousands of emails!) and as I read through it again I realized, gosh, that was a great ceremony!  It was so true to us so I opted to keep the ceremony very much the same as it was 10 years before.  Brayden read the Irish Blessing that was originally read by one of my bridesmaids and that was really very special.  Got us both teary.  We also read our own vows.

Lastly, I hired the same steel drum player.  He played the song “I’m Yours” as Brayden and I walked down the aisle.  That was the song that was playing when Kennedy was born.  And he played “All You Need is Love” at the end of the ceremony which was our first dance song.

It was very cool because all of the vendors were so accommodating and really excited to be a part of it.  It made a special day even more special.

–  I wanted a dress that was romantic and beachy and totally different than the dress I wore on my wedding day.  I wanted to look bridal, but not like a bride necessarily.  And I didn’t want to spend thousands of dollars on it.  After spending countless hours online and even going to David’s Bridal by myself (I felt like such a loser!), I finally found the dress in the sale section of Bhldn’s website!  The dress was $180 plus a $70 alteration since the only size they had was too big.  Score of the century.  It was even more special because it was a Jenny Yoo dress and that is the designer my bridesmaids wore on my wedding day.  I finished it off with a beautiful sash (which is actually a headband) from a local bridal boutique, Styled by TC. 

–  I wanted to keep it simple.  It’s so easy to get carried away with cute accessories and fun decor.  I’m so thankful I planned my wedding without the pressure of Pinterest and blogs.  I would have been so very overwhelmed.  I really wanted to keep the focus on us.  Instead I tried to incorporate small, meaningful details where I could.  Like having Kennedy where the first necklace Chuck ever gave me.  Using songs that had special meaning throughout our relationship.  And getting a cake that was the same flavor as the one we ate on our wedding night.

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So how did I get him there when it was a surprise?  Chuck knew we were doing something.  I had him cancel his last couple of patients for the day and pack an overnight bag.  Right before he thought I was picking him up from work, one of his coworkers gave him a bag with a card and a bag of clothes to change into.  I then had a car service pick him up and drive him down to the venue.  I also included some note cards so he could write some nice things about me 🙂  Thankfully, he’s very eloquent and had no problem coming up with some awesome last minute vows.

I was so thankful to have my friend Carina from Flawless Faces do my hair and makeup.  She’s the only one I trust with my makeup.  Not only does she make me look pretty, but she also makes me feel pretty.

And I was super thankful to have my friend Katie Beverly as our photographer.  When Katie first moved out here from Chicago she reached out to me to second shoot at weddings and she was, by far, the best second shooter I ever had.  So kind and fun to be with.  I knew I wanted her there not only because she’s a great wedding photographer, but also great with kids which was important in case Kennedy was in one of her “moods” 🙂  Katie was able to get a great shot of Kennedy and I which I am so thankful for because she hates taking pictures with me!

It was a great day.  I’m not going to say better than our wedding.  Just different.  I loved that it was all about us without any of the frills.  And I love even more that I was able to pull off this surprise for my guy.  He does so much for us and I’m glad I could do a little something to show him how much he is loved and appreciated.

*** All original wedding pictures by Hoffman Photography

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  1. Kelseu says

    Just had to tell you I loved these photos and all that you post on instagram. Amazing family and more amazing that you pulled that off. So cool. True symbol of your family.

  2. What a beautiful vow renewal. I love that it was just your family and so intimate. Your dress is beautiful Drew, you make a beautiful bride then and now!
    Andrea Worley´s last blog post ..Ava’s First Day of Kindergarten!

  3. Drew! I love this so much! Congrats on 10 years. You look so beautiful and the photos are stunning!