Lately, I’ve been asked to do several vow renewal ceremonies. I hope this is a trend! While nothing beats the celebratory atmosphere of a wedding, large or small, a vow renewal ceremony has a certain emotional gravity. For, as we gather together, the couple and guests are giving thanks for the past, while embracing the future.
Each vow renewal experience is a little bit different. Often a couple will select a milestone anniversary (10 or 20 years, for instance) to organize a celebration. In other cases, a couple will have choose to have a renewal of vows as a rededication to marriage, after a separation or challenge. In the case of a recent couple, Erika and Oliver, the groom orchestrated the surprise ceremony to, in part, honor his beloved’s 40th birthday, as well as the 10th year of their marriage . The couple travelled from their home in Switzerland with two long-time friends. Oliver didn’t have a great command of English, so their travelling companion Karin helped with all of the details.
The scheme was straightforward. On the day after arriving in New York, the foursome planned to ice skate at Wollman Rink in Central Park, an item on Erika’s “Bucket List.” As they approached the rink, they were intercepted by yours truly, along with Laura Pennace, a photographer with whom I work regularly. Shortly after, the vow renewal was on the way. Karin provided real time translation of the ceremony into German, their native tongue. The personalized ceremony was completed by music (the couple’s favorite song, “Robbie Williams’ “Angels), champagne, custom cupcakes from Magnolia Bakery and a bridal bouquet, of course.
Having never had a proper wedding a decade ago (the couple married in a brief civil ceremony at the clerk’s office), the bride was thrilled and grateful that her very romantic husband organized such an outstanding addition to their holiday to New York!