Like many of us, Erica and Jeff seized their first opportunity to travel after multiple pandemic lockdowns and the tricky work-life balance that ensued after March 2020. Not only would they have their first family trip to Puerto Rico, but they'd also celebrate their 10-year anniversary beach vow renewal.
This family consists of a healthcare worker mom during her busiest season ever and a dad holding the fort home for their two lovely, intelligent kids. An easy choice could've been to skip the 10th-anniversary celebration during times like these and just let each crazy day blend into the next one. But instead, they intentionally set time apart, unplugged, and bought cool outfits for this milestone.
Renew your vows in Puerto Rico
We connected over a Zoom call a few months before their beach vow renewal.
It isn't too common to shed tears during a first client meeting; I can only recall three times when this has happened during my 15 years as a photographer.
Most times, we keep things candid and light. However, Erica and I bonded so quickly; I could feel her kindness and eagerness to experience this happy day for her, her family, and me.
During our client consultation call, we communicated our intentions about what would happen during their anniversary photoshoot. I then shared some beach vow renewal ideas with her. After laying out their vow renewal package, we discussed locations.
Beaches for Vow Renewals
Being an archipelago, Puerto Rico has no shortage of beaches. I try to match beach locations with clients based on their accommodations, the scene they're looking for, accessibility or safety concerns, and their plans after the photoshoot.
This vow renewal would include their pre-teen kids. Based on that, the beach should be intimate and safe for a family to drive and park. It should be beautiful but also free of hazards: we want to be able to take our minds off worrying about supervising the kids.
Even if you don't want pictures of your family or guests, you should always disclose their presence to the photographer. We must ensure the beach is safe, fun, and appropriate for them, too.
Beach Vow Renewal and Family Portraits in Loiza, Puerto Rico
On the session day, the lovely family arrived at Loiza Beach, and like every time there are kids involved during the session, I made an effort to connect with them first. After ensuring they were in on our plans, we scouted the beach for the perfect location for their impromptu wedding ceremony.
On their vow renewal ceremony, their kids officiated the moment as witnesses of the most extraordinary love story ever: their parents'. I loved that this family incorporated the kids in that way.
As a woman who's now closer to the age of parenting than to the period when I believed in fairy tales, I thought about how this moment would be held forever in their kids' brains.
Could their future views of romantic love be shaped by the intentions and promises mom and dad made to each other on that sunset in the Caribbean? If so, what a privilege!
It must be fascinating to witness your parents' commitment and true love and grasp the importance of promises and words. I'd love to meet them in 15 years and ask about their memories of that day.
Make your anniversary photoshoot special.
It wasn't a complicated event, but I always vote for couples to make it as memorable as possible.
After the ceremony, they played a song to dance to together as a family. My heart was whole.
When kids are present, I'm constantly fine-tuning the sessions around their mood so they enjoy and cooperate. Since they were still engaged in the activity, we did family portraits and fun candids first, after which I set them off the hook for a little bit. Then I did couple portraits of Erica and Jeff.
We had a lovely sunset and had so much fun during this peaceful, picture-perfect afternoon that felt like it was made just for them.
May you have many more moments like this as your family and love continues to grow.