Today's blog post has been in the works for a whole year! Ok, maybe not the blog post itself, but this event was a SECRET for that long, so I am just about to burst from the anticipation of FINALLY sharing this with you.
McLaurin asked me last summer about shooting a vow renewal for her 5th anniversary, and I was immediately on board. The catch was that I couldn't tell Kyle, who was going to be surprised by the whole thing on the day of. You see, these two got married at the courthouse in 2012, and even though they had a big reception for their families later, they have always felt like they missed out on having a church wedding that properly gave the glory to God for the gift of marriage. McLaurin decided to change that, and I was thrilled that I got to be a part of making it happen--and thankful that our own Rev. Scott Castleman did the hard part of figuring out how to get Kyle to show up!
When the big day finally came, there were torrential rains, and I was getting pretty nervous about the fact that all our dreamy beach portrait ideas weren't going to happen, but when McLaurin and I arrived at the chapel, all my anxiety went away immediately. Kyle was SO surprised, and SO touched that I just about started crying before we even got started. It was such a joyous, HOLY moment!
Did I mention there were no guests at this ceremony? I had wondered how that would feel, but it was absolutely perfect. Jesus told his disciples that where two or three are gathered in His name, He'll be there, and He definitely came through on that promise. This chapel was anything but empty! It was a true honor to witness this reaffirmation of marriage vows. Truth be told, I felt like all four of us were renewing our vows! (Never mind that Alex and Rebecca weren't there, ha!)
I am always in awe of McLaurin's chalkboard artwork, and I am SO glad she created one for this occasion. In the absence of florals and stationery and all the typical wedding accoutrements, this one detail really tied everything together perfectly. Along with those fabulous shoes, of course!
We didn't venture outside much for portraits, and I might've been a little sad about it at first, but now I actually love the symbolism of the fact that every single picture we took is right here at church. I think it was meant to be that way all along.
Celebrating the gift of marriage is always an honor, but doing so with McLaurin and Kyle was a special treat. Not just because they're my friends, but because they are people of true, deep faith in the God who created us, and created marriage, and gave us the ultimate gift of Jesus, the best example of the sacrificial love we are called to. These two live out that kind of love in real life, and it is a beautiful thing. It encourages me as a fellow believer and as a human being.
Full disclosure: I used to think vow renewals were silly. But as I've gotten older and more aware of the effects of broken marriages, I have come to value the idea that we must keep reminding ourselves of what we've promised, and why, and to whom. Marriage is a serious thing, and a hard thing, but all the best things in life are, aren't they? Life is hectic, and reminding ourselves of what matters most is always a good idea. Thank you, McLaurin & Kyle (and Scott!) for putting this in perspective for me. The idea that I can use my love for photography as a tool for celebrating and strengthening marriages is not something I take lightly. If you're reading this and need a photographer for your own wedding or vow renewal, let me know! I'd love to chat!