When Christina and Daniel first contacted me about their day – I was stoked! They were going to celebrate this event in an intimate backyard up high in the mountains of Malibu! The one thing that I wasn’t familiar with was, it being a vow renewal. Maybe it’s just me but I had no idea how a vow renewal would go other than what’s been shown in movies. The mind-boggling thing was that they’ve only been married for five years. I thought people usually renewed vows after giant milestones, ex. 20 years. The other thought I had in my mind was why they were interested in filming a simple renewal.
As the day approached, Christina and Daniel explained to me how much more important this day was in comparison to when they first devoted themselves to each other. I was personally very attached to this celebration because in my naive mind, when I think of marriage – I think happy thoughts, and never really consider the struggles that newly weds go through. They’ve gone through the hard times, the struggles, the fights. At the end of it all, it was worth fighting through. A few days ago, I read this status update and thought it to be quite cheesy but it fits so well.
a flower has to go through a lot of dirt before it can bloom
Christina and Daniel invited their closest friends and family members to join them in this milestone event. When I was told it was only to be roughly sixty guests attending, I knew I had to make it my goal to film everyone. These were the people who have been with them through the thick and thin. These are friends and family that have mentored, prayed, and fought for their relationship. But it’s very important to note that friendships do not only go one way. Christina and Daniel have affected each and everyone of the guests’ lives, including my own.
I’m thankful for the privilege of documenting life. It was a pleasure catching up with some of my couples from the past, Alice & Andrew and Bill & Carolyn. Thank you to Alice and Andrew, who if not for them, I would have never met Christina and Daniel. You both are amazing. I cannot wait to hit you guys up next time I’m in Santa Monica!
p.s. – my heart was won the moment you invited us to brunch the next morning.
p.p.s – kudos to Matt for going around and having everyone be part of the toast!
Words from the bride herself, Five years may seem like a short time to renew our vows, but for us, there was so much to celebrate. We almost didn’t make it. We hit a breaking point in the third year of our marriage, when things got so bad that we seriously considered separation. As a last resort, we tried couples therapy. Through some breakthrough moments where God really met us, a lot of hard work, and the support of our loved ones, we came such a long way that it only seemed natural to celebrate this milestone.
The day was as much about our journey as it was about honoring our friends and thanking them for the ways they supported us. We held our intimate gathering up in the Malibu mountains at Rancho del Cielo, a small cottage where the owners still reside. It had an intimate backyard feel yet was elegant with its breathtaking views of the coast.
The inspiration and subtle theme for our event was around good stories. In the best stories, there always comes a point when you don’t know if the protagonist is going to make it, and the journey of how they do is what makes the story. We felt like that has been a picture of our marriage. The subtle theme lent itself well to the overall look and feel we were going for – rustic, literary, and rich in love and depth. We brought it to life in the details: the design of our paper goods was reminiscent of a book page; actual pages from classic novels were incorporated into our signage; and our centerpieces featured classics or books on relationships. As the goal was to honor and thank our guests, we also wrote individual thank-you notes and handmade each favor. The men received cufflinks featuring handpicked quotes we knew they would appreciate, and the women received a personalized necklace.
Everything about the day was perfect. We felt so blessed to be surrounded by a community who loved and supported us through the toughest of times. In a way, the day was so much sweeter than our wedding day, because even though we know how hard marriage can be, we were still choosing to say yes.
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Special thanks to all the vendors who made this wedding possible!