Monday, May 20, 2013

We Still Do! (Vow Renewal / 10th Wedding Anniversary)

This past weekend Alex and I celebrated our 10th wedding anniversary with a vow renewal ceremony during Mass.  In attendance were:  my parents, my brother, my sister and her new husband (married 3 days prior), Alex’s mom and her gentleman friend, Alex’s sister and her daughter and husband, our friends Courtney, Melissa, Yessenia, Liz (with her new baby Nick), and Erick, and a couple from our Marriage Encounter Circle.  

As we waited for Mass to start, Alex was encouraging the reader walking up with the processional to participate in Worldwide Marriage Encounter.  It was precious to hear my husband spreading good news about marriage.

Entrance procession at start of Mass
We walked in with the priests during the processional and sat at the front.  Fr. Kevin and Fr. Frank were co-celebrating, which was awesome!  The music director included all four of our requested hymns in the Mass:
Here I am Lord (by Dan Schutte) 
How Great Thou Art (by Stuart K. Hine) 
They'll Know We Are Christians (by Peter Scholtes)  
Lead Me, Lord (by John D. Becker) 
We chose these songs because they have had an impact on us and our faith journey.  We are at the service of the Master, and as a married couple, we are called to share Christ's love with the world, starting by modeling His love within our marriage.

The altar at St. Francis of Assisi Catholic Church

We got some awesome photos with the beautiful altar as the backdrop.  And just like 10 years ago, I continue to be 100% satisfied with my choice of wedding dress, which I wore to the renewal.  I cannot imagine a more beautiful dress or color!  

Alex wore his wedding vest, and I wore my wedding dress and shoes.
 For some reason, we hadn’t realized that we would actually be repeating the same vows we said on our wedding day.  There we were, standing up at the altar, holding hands and gazing into each others’ eyes as we made lofty promises that we already knew we could keep because we had kept them for the past 10 years!  Between the intense eye contact and the realization of how much more meaningful the vows were this time around, by the time it was my turn, I had to pause several times to soldier through the tears.  Fr. Kevin said “that’s one happy bride... do you know something we don’t?”  And of course he was hinting at our miracle baby, but not everyone knew yet.  

 There was a part of me that wanted to address the community and share some of the difficult things we’ve been through, and how through it all the Lord brought us closer and closer together.  I wanted them to know that it is possible to have a solid marriage, if you only include God in it the way He intended.  I wanted them to know that you will fight, disagree, be disappointed or even hurt, have to compromise, change your goals, and hold your tongue.  You won’t always like each other, but marriage – and love – is about a commitment. Alex and I promised each other that we would be there for each other no matter what, and we both believe each others’ promises.  If we didn’t believe, we’d have no trust, no foundation on which to build a solid marriage.

We brought up the gifts this time as well, just like at our original wedding.  Only this time, we weren’t in a tiny chapel with a mere 20 or so people, but in the main church with the entire parish community (at least those who go to the Saturday vigil mass) with us.  We loved being able to share with so many people the joy of our marital bliss, especially in a society that degrades marriage to an unpleasant rite of passage, generally temporary, and certainly self-serving.  

We had dinner with our families afterwards and spent some time at our favorite karaoke joint with a few close friends.  Then we went to our hotel room and opened up our unexpected but wonderfully thoughtful gifts and cards.  It truly felt like we had gotten married all over again!

I’m already thinking about the next time we renew our vows, with our child or children sitting in the pews, rooting us on.  This time, “Dino” was there and behaved quite well, but we won’t see her/him on pictures. Next time, we will :-)


  1. Wow! I really liked your blog. I am also planning to celebrate vow renewal on our upcoming 35th anniversary. I am wondering if you can share some suggestions and tips with me.

  2. Hi there :) One thing that comes to mind is that if you plan on having a reception of any sort, perhaps don't do what we did, which is trying to have two separate "events", one for family (a dinner right after the ceremony) and one for friends (meeting up at our fave kareoke place later that night). Only a handful of friends joined us in the evening.

    Another thing - if you are Catholic, I highly recommend renewing your vows during Mass. If not, and if renewing your vows during a regular religious service is an option, I say go for that! Alex and I noticed after we renewed our vows that many other couples started to do the same at our church. We can't help but think that perhaps the spark might've been reignited a bit for some after watching us renew our vows.

    Finally, as with your original wedding, try to focus on what's most important, and that's the reaffirmation of your love for one another. All the other details are not that important. This was hard for me to accept!

    Congratulations on 35 years of love! :)

  3. You looked so beautiful. I am also planning for my wedding renewal but can’t decide what to wear. I liked your dress so; can you suggest me from where you got this dress?

    1. Thanks for stopping by, Liza! I found the dress in a boutique in Poland... but several years later, I also saw it "off the rack" I believe at Macy's in the US. A few years ago while in Germany, I saw an ad where the lady was wearing this very dress! Congratulations on your anniversary and vow renewal! :)