Have you ever thought of renewing your vows, but think it’s only for older people?? I’m here to let you in on a secret… Vow renewals can be cool & fun! Showing your love for your lover never goes out of style, and renewing your vows is such an intimate & special way to do so. Shelley + Ian had the sweetest vow renewal on the beach, and I can’t wait to share it with you. They were both so nervous getting ready, even though they have been married for 20 years. It was so cute to watch their love and get to capture this perfect day for them. Let’s chat more about Shelley & Ian’s vow renewal on the beach and how to make your vow renewal the unique and unforgettable event it should be!
The Gorgeous Couple
Shelley & Ian are such a gorgeous couple. They are both aging like fine wine! Shelley has no idea how truly gorgeous she is, and spends most of her time getting down and dirty outside with her three guys (Ian and their two kiddos). She rarely gets the chance to dress up and show off her beauty. I was hyping her up the entire time, and I still can’t get over how stunning she is. Ian had the best smile and spent most of the time laughing & staring at his gorgeous wife. Ian & Shelley have two boys so they spend a lot of time fishing and off–roading in Jeeps. I loved getting to take them a little out of their element, and capture their love!
Their vow renewal on the beach had all the beachy, boho, and grunge vibes. They included tons of small, but super meaningful touches throughout to make the day truly unique to them. For the first half, we stayed in the Airbnb to stay out of the cold. Shelley wore her veil while we were at the Airbnb and switched to a (much more her style) hat while they recited their vows on the beach and we took photos at the dunes.
Shelley, Ian, and Their Vow Renewal on the Beach
Shelley + Ian were SO down to earth and such a cute couple. Ian is super sweet and is a military man of 18 years. This couple has been together for a while… they’ve been married for twenty years! Those years together have deepened their love so much, that you feel just how in love they are. Even after all that time, they laugh and pick on each other as if they’re still the teenagers they were when they got married. They got married at the courthouse as teenagers in hoodies and jeans. Their parents were there to witness. It might not be everyone’s dream wedding, but it was their perfect wedding for them at the time!
It was so special to watch them do it all over again, this time a little more dressed up. They got ready at the Airbnb and then we did a first look with a few photos in the Airbnb. Ian CRIED seeing Shelley all dolled up, like balled. It was the sweetest moment between the two of them. Their two sons had a running bet on whether or not dad would cry. They were betting against him crying, and lost that bet. Shelley, unlike the boys, knew her husband well. She knew he would cry sometime during the day because he’s always crying at sappy movies! The fact he did was such a sweet and perfect moment for the two of them. It was the perfect moment to start off their vow renewal on the beach!
Just Three Old Friends and a Vow Renewal on the Beach
We spent a good chunk of the day together, about six hours, but we were all sad when it was over. It felt like spending the day with old friends, just with a few vows thrown in the mix! We laughed, joked, and talked about our respective journeys as teen parents. They are such an amazing couple, and getting to capture their love and their vow renewal on the beach was such an honor!
There were lots of special touches throughout the day to really personalize their vow renewal. We wanted to make sure it was a super meaningful day, they wouldn’t soon forget! Because this vow renewal on the beach was in Outer Banks in the winter, there were some pretty cold winds when we went outside for more photos & the vow reading. Shelley wore her Oma’s vintage arctic fox fur jacket from Poland when we braved the cold winds. It’s really special to her, and I love that we got to capture it in some photos.
They also are a military family (just like my family). They were stationed in Alaska when Ian made Shelley a special earring out of a bullet. She wore them for the vow renewal, and it added an extra special touch to their day!
The Airbnb for This Vow Renewal on the Beach
The Airbnb we used for the first half of their day was stunning. It’s in Kill Devil Hills, right across from the beach! You can literally watch the ocean while sitting on the couch in the living room!! Stay Here OBX (@stayhereobx on Instagram) has the most perfect boho, beach vibes with a touch of the 70s. There is private beach access right across the street which, of course, we used for photo ops for this vow renewal!
Shelley & Ian got ready in the Airbnb along with their first look. We snacked on a few donuts & sandwiches for lunch (with some of the best Wilson Creek Winery almond champagne) before heading across the street for vows on the private beach. After, we headed to Jockey’s Ridge for a golden hour session and explored the sand dunes a little. It was the best day, the best vow renewal on the beach, and Stay Here OBX was the perfect Airbnb to do it at!
This Airbnb is perfect for any adventure and with 3 bedrooms, you could bring the whole family along if you wanted too! They have truly thought of every little detail to make your stay perfect. Head here for more info on this Airbnb or to book it for a vow renewal on the beach of your own!
Vendors for this Vow Renewal on the Beach:
Photography: Catherine Julia Photography
Dress: Here and Now Bridal
Donuts: Duck Donuts
Tips to Have your Vow Renewal on the Beach
Vow renewals aren’t like they used to be. Just like elopements, vow renewals are having a revival era. I think they are so frickin’ special. It’s a way of celebrating your love, no matter how long it’s been since you’ve said your vows! What makes them so special to me, is that they get to be whatever you want. Just like elopements, there are no rules when it comes to vow renewals! They can be as low-key or as high maintenance as you want. Let’s chat about some ways to spice up your vow renewal, or even convince you to have one in the first place!
Include All Your Favorites
This is a celebration of your life together, so let’s include all your favorite things from your life together throughout the years. Shelley & Ian love Duck Donuts and sparkling wine so we made sure to include it in their day! They even thought about shotgunning beers on the beach. Nothing is off limits, you get to do this day exactly how you want to!
Low or High Key: It’s Up to YOU
It’s your day, so keep it as low-key or as high maintenance as you want! Shelley did her own hair and makeup and chose a dress from an off-the-rack bridal shop in Virginia Beach called Here and Now Bridal. She splurged on an AMAZING floral spread by Bells & Whistles. The flowers were truly stunning! Shelley kept it more on the low-key side, and look how amazing the day turned out!
Do What You Couldn’t The First Time
Maybe you had a huge wedding with minimal time to take in the day with your lover. Maybe you had a more low-key wedding and wish you could’ve been a little more high maintenance. Do all the things you couldn’t (or just didn’t) do the first time around. Shelley & Ian loved getting to dress up this time and have the flowers, dress, and photos to show their grandchildren in 30 years.
Add a Ring to Your Collection… or Don’t
Use this as an opportunity to add a ring to your stack. (Another way to show your love for each other) OR if you’re anything like Shelley and Ian, skip on this one. They used the same rings. Ian had to get a new ring after driving over an IUD that injured his hand (crazy, I know), so now Shelley wears his old ring. You could also skip out on a new ring and just add something new to your rings, like an engraving or a new stone.
Last but DEFINITELY not Least
Write vows! I know it seems self explanatory. But don’t just read the vows you read at your wedding years ago. Write new ones that reflect your love now. Maybe you play off what you wrote before and refer back to it or maybe you read both versions to really see how your love has grown. Either way I promise you, you’ll never regret writing new vows to tell your lover just how much you value and appreciate them.
If I have fully convinced you that you need to do a vow renewal with your lover now, this vow renewal guide goes much more in depth on all the how, what, and why’s of renewing your vows.
Looking for a Vow Renewal on the Beach Photographer?
Hey, I’m Katie, a Southern California photographer. I capture all things love. From elopements to vow renewals to engagements, it’s my goal to capture your unique love in these special phases of your life. Basically I’m always here to remind you that life is magical & love surrounds you – always. If you’re on the hunt for someone to capture the phase of love you’re in, even if it’s a vow renewal on the beach, let’s chat! I’d love to hear all about your love story!