We’ve always wanted to renew our vows. We’d been talking about it for years, and knew it’d be special whenever it happened, but we underestimated just how meaningful the whole experience would be for us. Now having experienced a vow renewal ourselves, we’d wholeheartedly recommend every married couple create an opportunity to do one together at some point in your life! Here’s why.
We were so in love when we got married. We meant every word we said that day as we exchanged our wedding vows in front of all of our friends and family, but we just couldn’t fully understand what our vows meant because we hadn’t LIVED them yet.
And really, once we got married, we never looked at our vows again. Even though we had our entire ceremony written out word-for word and stored in our files, we just didn’t ever think to get them out or look at them again, so we’d really forgotten what we’d included in them.
As our vow renewal ceremony started, the words felt brand new to us. It was such a gift to get to stand together hand-in-hand, looking right into each other’s eyes, and redeclare the exact same promises we made to each other seven years ago, but this time, understanding the words so much more deeply than ever before because we’ve been LIVING them.
It’s so easy for all of us to forget the everyday gifts that we’ve been given. And that’s one of the reasons we wanted to do this, and would encourage other married couples to do, too. To celebrate what we’ve been given, and all that we’ve experienced together since our wedding day.
We didn’t expect to feel so emotional, but as Michael read every word from our original ceremony, from the prayers to the readings to the ring exchange to the vows, we were overwhelmed with emotion. One part in particular, during the prayer really got us:
Heavenly Father, may Amy and Jordan always praise You for having found each other. May they seek to minimize each other’s weaknesses, be swift to praise and magnify each other’s strengths, and strive to see each other through Your eyes.
Those ideas are so simple. Praising the Lord for finding each other. Just finding each other. After seven years of marriage, spending every single day (and truly, almost every single minute) together, it’s so easy to forget what a gift it is that we found each other in the first place. To take each other’s presence for granted. And as we stood in that field of lavender, in God’s beautiful creation, with no one else in sight, we were able to pause long enough to really reflect on those words and take in the incredible gift we’ve been given.
As we’ve shared before, one of our biggest regrets has always been that we didn’t take even one traditional portrait of the two of us looking at the camera and smiling on our wedding day. But now, thanks to our dear friend, Katelyn James, we finally have our traditional portrait (and so many other images we cherish!) to add to our home. Here’s why this was extra important to us:
One of the most meaningful elements we have in our home hangs in our hallway. A collection of six frames representing the over 250 years of marriage we come from. Our parents have both celebrated over 25 years of marriage (and counting!) and all four sets of our grandparents made it to 50 years each before losing the one they love. So we wanted to pay homage to that legacy of love that was fought for, struggled through and passed down to us. To honor the harvest we got to reap. To have a portrait that represents our own marriage, and the marriages that came before us.
We contacted the amazingly talented Katherine Bignon, who’s passion is creating custom heirloom dresses, and she couldn’t have been a more perfect fit. Amy explained she wanted a dress that would incorporate elements from each of our moms and all four of our grandmas. A tangible representation of the legacy of love we’ve been blessed to inherit. Katherine just “got” the vision right away. She was so sweet and warm, and immediately made us feel like our vow renewal was just as special to her as it was to us.
After we sent her the images of our parents and grandparents, she sent us a sketch that perfectly captured the legacy of love we wanted to honor. A classic silhouette that looked so much like her grandmothers’. Delicate lace and silk that made the dress look like it could’ve been from any generation. Amy was in love with it right away.
We couldn’t believe how Katherine was able to create something for Amy that was so meaningful without even ever meeting her about it in person, and on such a tight timeline. If creating a perfect custom gown over a few Skype calls and email exchanges all the way from New York isn’t impressive, we don’t know what is!
We knew we wanted a bouquet, but didn’t know a single florist in Europe, so we actually found our florist by searching Instagram! Thank goodness for the internet! We searched though the Provence florist hashtag, and as soon as we saw Laetitia’s work, we fell in love. She is so talented, and we were so excited she was available to help us on such short notice. We met her at her in-home studio, and we’ll never forget her giving us directions over the phone while the four of us were crammed into our rental car. They sounded something like “Up ahead, you’ll see a stone bridge. Go under the bridge and then you’ll see a beautiful chateau on your right. Turn left at the chateau and follow the line of trees, then you’ll see me standing outside in my apron.”
You’ll see a chateau on your right. Probably our new favorite sentence. It felt like something out of a storybook! When she handed us that beautiful bouquet all we could do was hug her! It. was. perfect.
We didn’t know exactly where we were going to renew our vows. We’d been toying with the idea of a vow renewal for a few years, and knew we wanted to do them somewhere beautiful and private. But when we discovered that we had clients bringing us to Italy to shoot their anniversary only a few days before our friends Katelyn and Michael had clients bringing them to France to photograph a wedding, and that we were going to be there RIGHT over our seventh year wedding anniversary, it just felt like fate! The lavender fields in France have always been a bucket list destination for us, and we couldn’t think of a more beautiful, private place than that! Laetitia helped give us directions to a field nearby her home, so even though we didn’t know what it was going to look like until we got there, it was even better than we’d imagined.
And you know what? In that stillness. In that quiet. In that abandoned field halfway around the world under a tall, old tree with deep roots that reminded us of the ones our parents and grandparents planted for us, we felt their love; and as the glowing sun broke through the overcast clouds and cast the tree’s oversized shadow on us, we felt it more… and His warmth, too. Because walking in our parents’ and grandparents’ shadow, riding in their wake, and running in their wind, isn’t a weak thing — it’s the best thing — when those people have walked, do walk, and forever will walk with the Lord. Between our parents and grandparents, we inherited a legacy of marriage over 250 years long, and it’s never lost on us just how special that is. We just feel thankful that they paved the way, because it’s made our path straighter and easier, which is why we’ve made it our mission to impact as many other marriages as we can. To keep carrying the torch for the couples who sacrificed before us.
It’s why we love what we do. Preserving a young couple’s love in its raw, pure, joyous, unfiltered, emotional state for generations to come. Because we believe that a legacy of love, passed from one family generation to the next, has the power to transform marriages and, therefore, entire family trees.
And during our vow renewal, in the middle of the lavender fields, we were reminded, in such a naturally supernatural way, that He is loudest when we are most still, He is strongest when we are most small, and that a life and marriage rooted in Him has the power to grow into something far better and greater than our human eyes could ever see.