Vow Renewal on Lockdown
By Chrissy Somers, Owner + Founder, FamiliesOnTheFox.com
Celebrating your ten year wedding anniversary while "Sheltering in Place" because of a global pandemic is certainly something to remember. Granted, it wasn't exactly how we wanted our ten year to go, but we turned those tart lemons into some sweet Whiskey Lemonades!
To give you some background, our wedding ten years ago was one of the best days of my life. It was memorable for EVERYONE in attendance, not just us. I mean, when you get people continually texting you several years later because they heard "Shots" (thank you, LMFAO and Lil Jon) on the radio and were immediately reminded again of the great time they had at your wedding, you know it was a good time.
I loved our wedding and everything about it, but I have two regrets:
I didn't hire a videographer to capture the life and feeling our wedding + reception had, and
We didn't write our own vows.
We have said for the past several years that we would have a vow renewal for our ten year anniversary, with our kids present, and share our new vows with one another.
Well, our ten year rolled around on May 15, 2020, and my sweet, sweet husband... that poor man envisioned us going out in the backyard as a family, dressed in our Quarantine Best (aka sweats), saying our vows to each other, and heading back inside.
Now if you know me, you know I hate surprises. That being said, I REALLY enjoy surprising others. Tyler's menial expectations of what our ten year vow renewal would be lent itself to be the perfect surprise opportunity!
PLANNING THE BACKYARD VOW RENEWAL
To be honest, I had four weeks to plan this little shindig while keeping in mind social distancing guidelines that had been mandated at the time.
Families on the Fox created a PREMIER WEDDING GUIDE in partnership with Aces Event Planning that serves as a resource guide for anyone planning a wedding in the west + far west suburbs who wants to use local vendors.
You bet your cute little bum that I used the PREMIER WEDDING GUIDE to plan this backyard affair in a jiffy!
During this 10+ week Shelter in Place order, I knew how much our local businesses were suffering. So I used this vow renewal as a way to help support local businesses while also making a beautiful memory for our family.
First step... THE DRESS...
I contacted Love Theory Bridal in Geneva because I love the style of dresses Nikki carries. All the dresses are timeless yet showcase the latest trends in wedding fashion. I wanted a dress that had lace and beading to replicate those features in my original dress, but I wanted something with an open back to represent what I currently love in wedding dresses.
I knew my budget and timeframe was tight, so buying off the rack was just about my only option. Luckily for me, Love Theory Bridal was offering discounts on dresses purchased OTR (meaning, no custom ordering from the designers, no waiting for the dress with the exact measurements to come in, etc.).
I tried on several dresses and fell in love with this one because it was EXACTLY what I was looking for. I left with this Eddy K Bridal gown in tow at the end of our appointment!
We were doing this in the backyard, so I knew I wouldn't need a lot of floral arrangements. What I DID want was bouquets for me and my three babes. I've always loved the look of light pink peonies with pale greenery. Those were the exact words I gave to St. Charles Florist when I called them to be creative with our bouquets.
To say I was taken aback by their creations would be an understatement. In all honesty, these bouquets far outweighed the beauty of my original wedding bouquet. Not only was my bouquet simply stunning, but St. Charles Florist made sure to create three mini bouquets that identically resembled mine for my three beautiful babes. Their attention to detail was second to none. They even made sure to throw in a boutonniere for Tyler too (because I forgot to cover his floral needs)!
Third... CAKE + TOPPER...
So much changes in wedding fashion and trends in ten years!
Cakes even look so different now than they did ten years ago! I love the look of a lightly frosted cake (aka a "naked cake") with real florals and greenery.
I called Jenna with Swanky Cakes because I've personally tried her cupcakes and they are AMAZING. I knew she did birthday cakes for littles, but she also does cakes for all occasions. Since I only needed a small cake, she was able to turn it around quickly.
The top tier of the cake was red velvet with cream cheese frosting separating the layers.
The bottom tier of the cake was a chocolate cake with peanut butter frosting separating the three-layers of deliciousness. Without fail, Swanky Cakes delivered on appearance AND taste!
I also had the cake topper custom-made by a local artisan, Manek Design Studio. Again, I have several home decor pieces from MDS and knew she also has done cake toppers, so with a simple message sent to Tessa, I had a cake topper ready in just a few days.
Next up... PHOTOGRAPHY...
I had ZERO question in my mind who I would use for our photography. Fox + Grey Photography has been our family photographer for the past several years. She has also done headshots and other professional photos for me when I started Families on the Fox.
Jen has seen my family grow and having her capture this milestone in our family's life was a no-brainer. I love her style of editing and the way she can capture real-life moments without making it feel posed. Jen usually continues to take pictures between the posed moments, and I fall in love with these the most because those are the REAL moments.
We need PARTY FAVORS...
We knew, because of this Shelter in Place, we wouldn't really have an audience, let alone a little bash to celebrate. We still needed little "thank yous" for our vendors, nonetheless.
I worked with Scentcerely Yours to create custom label hand sanitizer! How perfect of a favor for a viral pandemic?!
These 4 oz. sanitizers were the PERFECT addition to our ceremony. Because I frequent Scentcerely Yours so often, I have a custom scent on file that I use for my candles, car diffusers, lotions, body scrubs, reed diffusers... just about everything, really!
Working with Rob and Susi on the label and custom scent was a breeze!
Last step... THE OFFICIANT...
There was nothing "official" that needed to be done for our ten year vow renewals, so hiring an officiant was unnecessary for this event.
However, I knew we still needed someone to lead the ceremony. To create the structure and outline. Someone who knew us as a couple AND as individuals.
I asked my best friend, my ride or die, my sister from another mister who also happened to be my Maid of Honor ten years ago, if she would officiate the ceremony.
Brenda was all in and did an unbelievable job. In fact, after our ceremony was over, I suggested she should look into becoming an officiant because I was floored by how professional and well done her ceremony was!
I hope that in reading this, you are inspired to support local businesses and vendors in your family's most special occasions. In fact, Families on the Fox as already created three VERY important resource guides for this exact reason:
Our Ten Year Vow Renewal was one we will cherish forever. Though we were saddened not to have our parents, family, and close friends present, we knew our girls would remember this - would remember our strong love and devotion to one another - for the rest of their lives.
Regardless of who our girls fall in love with in the future, we hope they always have high expectations of being respected, being cared for, and being loved... the way their parents did for one another.