Love recognizes no barriers. It jumps hurdles, leaps fences, penetrates walls to arrive at its destination, full of hope. -Maya Angelou
When they first married, Nicole and Patrick didn't have a formal wedding event. Fast-forward many years, two kids, and a pandemic, they decided it was time to celebrate a destination vow renewal ceremony and reception for their ten-year milestone with their family and friends.
Family Photos in Georgetown, Washington DC
One of the many beautiful opportunities my photography business has given me is traveling for work. This is an experience that every photographer should try at least once, as it's incredibly inspiring to find yourself in new locations so different from home.
A few months after having booked me for their upcoming vow renewal in Puerto Rico, I announced my 2021 travel dates to the DMV area for weddings and photoshoots. During my trip to Elizabeth & Juan's wedding in Washington DC, I was so happy to connect with other future and former clients, including Nicole, Patrick, and their lovely kids.
We met on a quiet Monday morning and explored Georgetown while taking some lovely family portraits. We grew an appetite, so we called it a day and went for breakfast as we talked a bit more about weddings, photography, love, and life.
Destination Vow Renewal in Puerto Rico
Initially scheduled for January 2022, their vow renewal plans hit a bump just the week of their trip to Puerto Rico because of a positive COVID test in their family.
Over the following weeks, Nicole and their diligent planner Sari wrangled all the vendors and found a new date for their vow renewal, this time in July.
Best times for outdoor photography in Puerto Rico? It depends on the season.
Moving their vow renewal six months meant a complete timeline overhaul. Summers in Puerto Rico are scorching hot and humid, and sunlight for photography feels unflattering for most of the day.
So I reached out to Nicole and their planner to remind them we needed to revise the timeline for photos.
We moved the ceremony from 4 pm to 6 pm, with most family portraits happening before the ceremony, but saving the best timeslot for couple portraits, right before sunset at 7 pm.
Vow Renewal Ceremony and Celebration in Hacienda Siesta Alegre
Although they initially planned their vow renewal at Villa Loma Sol, the venue they really wanted was Hacienda Siesta Alegre. The staff informed them that their original dream venue was possible for their new date.
My day started at the bridal suite after photographing some decor elements that were ready early. This event felt very effortless and laid-back, we had been waiting for this day for a long time, and this gorgeous family would make the best of it.
We started with family photos and then did a few couple portraits until it was time for their ceremony. Their vows were beautiful, personal, and powerful: having lived a nurturing relationship and built a strong household gave them wisdom on what promises to make to each other moving forward. After their new first kiss, we walked around the venue for additional couple portraits while their guests moved to the reception area.
Breaking away from tradition for the reception toasts
Nicole and Patrick's toasts were one of the most beautiful moments I've captured over the years. Instead of having someone toasting for them, and since their guestlist was relatively small, they wrote a toast for everyone that traveled to Puerto Rico to celebrate with them.
I love new love stories, but there's something special about photographing and celebrating a lived-in relationship. Vow renewal events are magical: they're not merely about honoring the marriage but also about acknowledging its rewards. The friendships that have grown more profound, the growing family, the jumped-through hurdles, victories, big and small!
That night we celebrated Nicole, Patrick, and the beautiful, loving community they have cultivated. Happy 10th anniversary!
For this event
Vow Renewal Vendors
Wedding Planner: Tropical Weddings
Florist: Lorraine's Flowers
Wedding Cake: D’lights Cakes
Music & DJ: Big J Music Services
Make-up & Style: Christine Aquino
Officiant: Tim Blackford, Peace Love Weddings
Bridal Dress: Revelry
Reconstruction: by LaBella Bridal in Occoquan VA
Favor Candles: RICANDELA