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A vow renewal to celebrate your love. We love them. Photographers Chastidyi and Ian opted for a vow renewal at the beautiful Muckross Abbey in Ireland.
From Chastidyi, the bride:
“We got married in 2005. We were both young, in college, and broke. This was before it was mainstream for couples to do themes, unusual locations, etc. so we got married in a little stone church in Gatlinburg, Tennessee. The day was hectic. My poor mother was super frazzled because her boss wouldn’t let her have the day off and still be eligible to receive holiday pay so she was trying to coordinate florals and stuff from work. I didn’t have any idea because she took care of it while my aunt took me to get my hair done. We had a few friends and family stand up with us as our bridal party surrounded by tons of candles. One of my great uncles played the piano for the entrance, and my grandfather walked me down the aisle. I cried during the ceremony. I had a traditional dress with a halter top and a mid-length veil. My husband wore a black tux. Our photographer was a family friend. We got basic photos inside the church, and those we unfortunately lost in a house fire in 2013.”
how was the location for the vow renewal chosen?
“We had planned a vow renewal for our 15 year anniversary, but Covid happened so we postponed. When things opened up again, we decided to start planning again. Now that we are a bit older and more stable, we decided to splurge and make it about us—and we’ve both always wanted to go to Ireland. We invited a few family members and friends, but (because we were traveling outside of the country) the only two that were able to make it were my two Aunts, Cammy and Cheri.
Once we had the general destination locked down, we scoured the internet for ideas for a mini vow renewal in Ireland. I fell in love with Muckross Abbey because of the tree that grows in the middle of the abbey, and Ian was on board as soon as he saw it. Entry to Muckross Abbey and the surrounding area is free. I contacted someone at Muckross House and Gardens to ask them about what we were planning. I was told because it was just the four of us, that we didn’t need any permits or anything. We would just need to be respectful of the people around us. On the drive there, we picked wildflowers to create a bouquet. (We got permission from the owners of the land we stopped at, of course.) Let me tell you how happy I am that we chose this location. It was so gorgeous. We explored afterward, and it was just such an amazing place.”
leave no trace
“We did plan for it to be just a few of us in order to not leave a footprint. We used local, native florals for the bouquet. I think the big thing to consider in this area is to leave things as you found them so people will continue to be able to use the space in the future.”
top tips for planning your vow renewal in ireland
prepare well and take it slow
“I am typically very much the plan everything in advance sort of person, but I surprisingly wasn’t like that for our vow renewal. We had the date, the location, and a rough idea of the time. We decided on the wildflower bouquet after we got there because I didn’t see a place for florals on the way. My tip would be to research any local vendors you might need or be prepared to bring things with you because there aren’t a lot of large towns nearby. Be prepared to take it slow and go with the flow — and stop in the local pubs for a pint. The people there are all lovely. The food is amazing. Don’t be afraid to try something new.”
For the photography, I reached out to a few local photographers. As a photographer myself (and a woman with body issues), I wanted the ability to do some of the editing. Unfortunately, (though I understand completely why) I was unable to find anyone up for working with me on that. So, I brought a tripod for some of the shots and had my aunt take some of the photos. I would set up the shot, get the camera set correctly, and then have us switch places so she could get the shot. I got to direct from in front of the camera for a change, lol. We didn’t get anything truly candid, but I love the way the photos turned out. Plus, it’s great being able to hang my own artwork in our home.
My advice would be to do it. Do the thing. Pick the place you’ve always wanted to go. Don’t compromise because ultimately this is a moment for the two of you.