Holden Beach Vow Renewal // Brian & Jen


When you say your vows on your wedding day, you don’t know what your life together will look like, as much as you may try to imagine or plan. You don’t know the curve balls that will be thrown, how the road ahead will twist and turn in the most unpredictable, beautiful and challenging – growing – ways.

You don’t know which days will be easy and which will be hard. You don’t know for certain if you’ll be given children or how many or who they’ll become. You don’t know who will walk into your life… who will leave; if your careers will collapse, pivot or take off. You don’t know how many times you’ll move, if you’ll receive a phone call or a diagnosis that will rock your world; if your investments will skyrocket and you’ll become millionaires…

You don’t know… but you imagine. With all you can muster, you try to imagine what life may be like with the one you love and if, together, you will be strong enough to weather the storms. But then, with time, the storms come, and you start to actually know. You start to know what you’re made of. What your spouse is made of. What works and what doesn’t. What’s difficult and what isn’t. What completely takes you by surprise with how delightful it is and what brings you to your knees. You learn how to communicate and how not to. Your love is tried and proven… and as you look back, you realize you’ve moved from loving someone in word to loving them in deed. Now you speak from experience when you say, “I love you.”

When Jen wrote me and said they were wanting to renew their vows after fourteen years, I knew this was something special I wanted to be a part of. They stood across from each other, eyes locked, sand dunes muting the sound of the tide coming in for the evening. We breathed in the southern, coastal mid-August air. It was just the two of them, their children, officiant and me, listening as they said their vows once more. But this time, fourteen years since their wedding day, they loosed their words with a tried, proven, knowing kind of love.

The storm clouds rolled above and away over the lapping waves of the Atlantic ocean and the skies cleared enough to reveal the sun setting in the west, as it always does, and always will, on them.

If you loved this session, you should check out this one on Bald Head Island!

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