Planning weddings are my passion — and when someone comes to me asking if I can plan a 25th anniversary vow renewal for him and his wife, who never had a wedding, a myriad of emotions begin welling up inside me. And when the groom is my own brother-in-law, it makes planning this occasion even more special! After all, 25 years of marriage is quite an accomplishment!
Let the Planning Begin!
This particular vow renewal wedding started out as a surprise for the bride. She would be told that there would be a vow renewal ceremony, but she wasn’t going to know anything about the reception, or the décor — or anything else! But as I began planning the elements, I quickly came to the realization that this could not be done without her input. So, my husband and I visited his brother’s church one Sunday, and following the service, we joined with my brother-in-law (Jeff) and told his wife (Darla) about the whole plan. She was moved to tears! So, the planning began in mid March for a December wedding. By mid April, Jeff began asking if the wedding had to be on their actual anniversary and, of course, it did not. He then told me that Darla had always wanted a summer wedding and asked if it could be done! Without hesitation, I told him I would find a way to make it happen. I first called the photographer to ensure that she was available for the new date set for July 22, 2017. Thankfully, she was available! I then called my Décor Design Assistant (Rachel) to ensure that all of the centerpieces and other décor items could be completed five months sooner than planned. Once I got her agreement — we rolled up our sleeves and dug right into the planning of this very special vow renewal!
Incorporating Religious Aspects
Jeff and Darla are very faithful Christians and wanted their vow renewal to reflect that faith. They also wanted a sense of elegance and class, and yet an event that would also be casual where everyone would feel the love they have for each other and for God, and be relaxed and have a good time. We started by completing several questionnaires together to determine their color scheme, the aesthetics and “mood” of the wedding, and their budgeting priorities. Their final color scheme was going to be challenging, but Rachel and I found a way to make it work — it’s not every day that you see the colors of silver (representing 25 years of marriage) combined with teal and red, after all! We were also challenged by a relatively small reception space — the basement of Jeff & Darla’s church. But it was important to them to have the wedding in this building, so Rachel and I went to the church a few times and actually set up the room in different configurations to ensure that it would really work. Once we knew we had the floor plan set in our minds, we began the task of designing and making the centerpieces.
Centerpieces & Décor Design
We spent hours spray painting and silver leafing glass vases, making fabric roses and carnations. I think both of us ended up with numerous hot glue gun burns! We also silver leafed picture frames and a large cross. We recruited help from friends to finish up the fabric flowers and the ceremony chandelier. Our ceremony and reception design reflected elements of the Trinity – candles in groupings of three, tealight candles forming a cross on the tables, a Bible guest book for guests to highlight their favorite verse and write their name next to it. Rachel even made a three-tier cake for them — and made different flavor cakes, fillings and icings for them so that they could experience a cake tasting! That was so much fun! The cake flavors made for the tasting were vanilla, chocolate and lemon. Fillings were cherry, strawberry, lemon and chocolate ganache. Icings were the ganache, plain buttercream, cherry buttercream, and strawberry buttercream. Jeff & Darla decided to have one tier to be the vanilla cake with cherry filling and plain buttercream, and two tiers were lemon cake with lemon filling and strawberry buttercream — and it was DELICIOUS!
Creating a Moving & Emotional Ceremony
The ceremony was an emotional one to be sure! We incorporated a “ring warming ceremony” — Jeff & Darla’s wedding bands were placed in a ring bag and passed throughout the guests to say a prayer or offer a blessing over their marriage — sort of a “renewing” of the wedding bands as Jeff & Darla were renewing their vows of commitment to one another. As they read their vows to each other, neither one could prevent the tears from falling — and neither could any of the guests!
Time for Some Fun!
At the reception, Jeff and Darla had a very special dance to “Glory of Love” by Peter Cetera, and then Darla shared a very special dance with her father — something she had never done before! The tears flowed once again during this precious moment! But soon, the tears turned to laughter as we had Jeff & Darla play the “Not So Newlywed Game”! You would think a couple married for 25 years would know more about each other — but their wrong answers made the entire game even funnier! Darla ended up with the most points — and the prize is a date night activity of her choosing!
Making Dreams Come True
All in all, Jeff and Darla’s 25th anniversary vow renewal was everything they had hoped for — and more! It was such an honor for me to have been asked to plan this special occasion for them and, in the end, my husband and I decided that they deserved to have this day without the worry of how they would pay for it — so we gifted the entire wedding to them! It was worth every late night, every stressful moment, every hiccup, and every waking moment spent being obsessed with this wedding, to see their happy faces and still hear from them today — four months later — how magical the entire day was for them! None of this could have happened without the following people: My loving husband, Terry Osborne (Best Man); my beautiful and talented daughter, Rachel Feltner; Jessica Osborne (Maid of Honor); my friends, Raine McClung, Peggy Trauger, and Shannon Wright for helping with the décor and setups; and Dorothy & John Turnbull of DoJo Photo for the photographs! Thank you all! Finally, I would like to dedicate this blog post to the bride & groom — Jeff & Darla Osborne –and congratulate you once again on 25 years of marriage filled with love and commitment.