Darling, we’re both scared
But where love is, fear won’t tread
All of these friends here agree
We’re right where we should be
Underneath all your white
My Lady, My Love, My Bride
In your darkest hours
Will I love you still?
I have and I always will
| Dave Barnes, “I Have and I Always Will” |
Noah and Rebekah commemorated their ten year wedding anniversary this month with an outdoor evening-time vow renewal ceremony and reception on their gorgeous property in Palm Harbor, inviting dozens of their closest friends to attend and celebrate with them. After I’d arrived and said hellos, I remember opening the large glass doors at the back of their home, and looking out onto a landscape prettier than I’d even imagined. With a vision in mind for an inviting atmosphere that literally sparkled and shone, Rebekah and her family had transformed the backyard into the most beautiful sight. Mason-jar lanterns hung from the large tree to the left, with white fabric draped over two large branches, forming an alter of sorts at the front of rows and rows of chairs, each wrapped with burlap and accented by Baby’s Breath. To the right, several round tables were set up around their teal pool, outlined by swooping strands of outdoor lights which continued all the way around the lines of the back of the house. On top of each table were floral arrangements and a different photo marking milestone memories in their decade-long relationship. It was literally every detail-loving photographer’s dream out there!
But my favorite parts of the evening weren’t the well-thought-out decorations or lovely landscape, as wonderful as those things were. My favorite parts were the intentional pauses to celebrate the adventure and sacredness of marriage. Noah and Rebekah purposefully filled the evening with moments to encourage spouses and to speak well of covenant relationships. Before they repeated their wedding vows, they recounted their own story of meeting, falling in love, and staying in love these past ten years, and were frank about the ups and the downs in their story, which was so encouraging (thank goodness for couples who are honest and open and willing to share!).
At one point during the ceremony, they paused to speak to their two kiddos about the meaning of what was being celebrated that day, and of the importance of keeping Jesus at the center of everything, and presented each child with a personalized gift to help them remember their parents’ commitment to one another and their declaration to love and lead them with the Lord’s help. Even just looking back through the photos later, I realized how much Noah and Rebekah’s little ones are watching them, constantly, and it reminded me that parents have such a unique and powerful opportunity to shape their children’s lives in so many areas, but especially in preparation for marriage. Even though their kiddos are still so young, Noah and Rebekah are influencing them every day about the kind of spouse to look for, about the kind of relationship they should expect and desire, about how to grow together in conflict and faith and disagreements and victories and life. Even though Luke and I don’t have babies of our own yet, seeing this special part of the ceremony reminded me of what a responsibility and privilege being parents is, and I’m so grateful for Noah and Rebekah’s example of keeping Christ at the center.
Right before they said We Still Do and kissed (be sure to look for those photos…hilarious reactions followed), they were surrounded by their families who joined them at the front and stood together with them as their close friend prayed blessings and strength and courage over their home and marriage. It was so powerful to see so many different relationships, at all stages, represented up there at the front, encircling Noah and Rebekah, agreeing in prayer with them and affirming that this wild, difficult, and wonderful thing called marriage can be done with His help.
ALL THE FEELS.
I’m honored to have had the opportunity to witness such a special evening and to have been behind the camera to capture so much joy and life! I hope that you love these images as much as I do, and that seeing another marriage celebrated and encouraged breathes fresh life into your own, like it did for mine. And if you keep an eye out, you’ll see sweet Pat and Stan snuggling for a few portraits, as they celebrated 43 years of marriage that very night, still in love and liking each other. I asked what their secret was, and Pat said, “Well, we love the Lord and try to do what He says”. Stan said, “I’ve learned to say, ‘Yes ma’am’.” ??
If you love these pictures and are looking for a wedding or renewal photographer of your own, let’s chat! I would love to tell your story through emotional and impactful imagery! You can email me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org
Rebekah’s Dress | David’s Bridal
Catering | Affordable Catering
Tables, Chairs, Linens | Elite Events and Rentals
Naked Cake | Chantilly Cakes