Joanne and Daniel’s Marriage Vow Renewal in the Ladies’ Pavilion

Joanne and Daniel renewed their marriage vows with us in August.  They are from Cheshire in England and are both 41 years old.  They had been together for twenty-three years when they renewed their vows, and married for exactly twenty years to the day.  They have two teenaged sons who were their guests for their vow renewal.

They met in the first year of high school, when they were in the same class.  They were friends throughout high school, lost touch after school, and then reconnected again a few years later, when they met again at the local nightclub and began dating again.  They said that they knew, even at a young age, that you had met “the one”.  They already knew each other very well, having been friends through school, and theirs was a connection that they had never experienced before.  Daniel proposed whilst on vacation in Turkey with a red rose in his mouth, then he then serenaded Joanne with Wonderwall by Oasis on Karaoke.  So, when it came to planning the vow renewal, Joanne felt certain that particular song simply had to feature in their vow renewal! 

Some of our couples come to us for a vow renewal because they weren’t entirely happy with their wedding day.  Not so for Joanne and Daniel.  “Our wedding was lovely; a beautiful sunny day with lots of family and friends present.  It was perfect, I wouldn’t change a thing about it.” said Joanne.  “I think vow renewals are becoming more popular as couples can include things in the ceremony that they missed the first time around and include others who were not present previously,” she said.  “For us we wanted a quiet vow renewal ceremony with just us and our kids to reaffirm our wedding vows and include the kids.  We didn’t want people to feel obliged to come along as we had already had our ‘big do’ previously,” she explained.

I asked Joanne what had made them want to renew their vows.  “My marriage is very important to me. My parents were happily married for years and I’d hoped for the same thing myself.  I believe there is no better way to show your love and commitment to another individual than marriage,” she said.  They had planned for a while to renew their vows, and had considered doing it at the ten year mark.  Renewing their vows was important to them to involve their kids, since of course they had not yet been born when they got married.  “We felt it was important to involve them as they are a huge part of our relationship,” she said. 

Joanne and Daniel had a feeling that they’d like to renew their vows somewhere memorable.  “We always wanted something small and personal without a huge fuss so it was always going to be away from home,” Joanne told me.  “We discussed Vegas as we’ve been there before and know you can get the ‘no fuss ceremony’ there but I really wanted something a little classier,” she said.  So, they did a little searching online and they decided that Central Park was the perfect option for them.  “There were various stunning ceremony locations to choose from and the backdrop of the city meant we wouldn’t have to go elsewhere for amazing pictures,” Joanne said.  “My husband is an outdoor person too so it ticked all the boxes.  It’s iconic and recognisable for all ages, it’s stunningly beautiful,” she said.  Of course I agree wholeheartedly!  “I knew I wanted my vow renewal in Central Park but I honestly didn’t know where to start so finding Wed in Central Park on various social media platforms was a godsend,” said Joanne.

Joanne, Daniel and their two sons stayed in New York for nine nights at The New Yorker Hotel on 8th Avenue.  I always ask couple if they have any restaurants to recommend.  “One of our favourite places to eat was Virgils BBQ in Times Square.  It had amazing food and great hospitality,” Joanne told me.  They visited Central Park a few days before the vow renewal ceremony to make themselves familiar with the location and understand the subway stops.  “I’d definitely recommend doing this as it was a great help to get things planned and visually sorted in our heads prior to our vow renewal,” said Joanne.

Music is very important to both Joanne and Daniel so they wanted a musician to play at the ceremony, and for music to feature quite heavily in the proceedings.  They chose the Ladies’ Pavilion to hold the ceremony.  “It is a beautiful picture perfect structure and location wise it was in a quieter area of the park, which is what we wanted,” said Joanne.  It was a great spot for what they wanted, since it has benches inside, so they could sit and listen to songs being played by the guitarist before, during and after the ceremony.  Also, the Ladies’ Pavilion has a roof, so that helps to reduce most couples’ worries about rain!

We always enjoy doing vow renewals, and I love to write the ceremonies, because the couples’ stories are always so wonderful to share.  We told the story of their relationship to date in the introduction to the ceremony, and talked about what they mean to each other.  We had a reading of the poem The Art of a Good Marriage by Wilferd Arlan Peterson, which I’ll put at the end of this post, and before they began the vows, we had a break part way through for their musician to play the song Only You by the Flying Pickets.  “It was a lovely ceremony, personalised with the story of our relationship including mentions of our kids but still traditional with the usual vows adapted for the vow renewal,” said Joanne.

Joanne wore a three-quarter length ivory Bardot-style bridal dress purchased from Monsoon with ivory diamanté heels.  Their sons wore grey suit trousers and waistcoats, with white shirts and sky blue ties with brown brogues.  Daniel wore the same trousers and shoes as the kids but he had a blue waistcoat and pink tie.  “We knew it would be hot in August so opted for lighter clothing,” said Joanne (very wise!).  “We took a change of shoes for the walk around the park afterwards to be more comfortable and stop the blisters,” she added (even wiser!).

Joanne said that their kids thought it was amazing that they were holding their vow renewal ceremony in Central Park.  “They are aged fourteen and eighteen and knew all about Central Park as they have seen it in films and on social media,” said Joanne.  They took photos at Bethesda Terrace after the ceremony, “our kids were also very impressed with this location as it was featured in the John Wick film,” she said.  “Everyone who we mentioned the vow renewal to were impressed about the location,” Joanne told me.  After taking some photos around Central Park, they all went to the Tavern on the Green to toast their renewed vows with a glass of champagne.  They went to DiscOasis roller rink at the Wollman rink in Central Park later that night and then on for a meal at Carmine’s restaurant.

I asked Joanne if she had any comments for anyone else considering doing what they did.  “If you want something different then I would highly recommend getting married or renewing your vows in Central Park,” she said.  “The setting is not only stunning you will honestly feel like a celeb!  We got so much attention and so many well wishes whilst in our wedding attire, which was lovely!” she added.  Joanne said that she’s quite a shy person and thought that she would hate the attention but in the end she felt that it was actually really lovely and heart warming for people to take the time to congratulate them.

I asked Joanne how we did.  “Claire is honestly amazing, she thought of every little detail and shared her knowledge and recommendations with us in the planning of our ceremony.  She is very professional and always responded to our queries promptly.  She helped us achieve a picture perfect vow renewal with no stress or worry.  The officiant she arranged was fantastic and the acoustic guitarist was awesome!  Claire is amazing at what she does and I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend her to others,” she said.  Thanks so much for your kind words, and for sharing your story with us!  It was a pleasure to mark the twenty year landmark of your marriage with you!

If you would like me to help you with planning your own Central Park wedding or elopement, whether you’re from near or far, visit our website.  Keep updated with our news and see lots of beautiful photos, “like” us on Facebook, follow us on Instagram and follow us on Pinterest

The Art of a Good Marriage by Wilferd Arlan Peterson.

Happiness in marriage is not something that just happens.
A good marriage must be created. In marriage the little things are the big things.
It is never being too old to hold hands.
It is remembering to say “I love you” at least once a day.
It is never going to sleep angry.
It is at no time taking the other for granted; the courtship should not end with the honeymoon, it should continue through the years.
It is having a mutual sense of values and common objectives.
It is standing together facing the world. It is forming a circle of love that gathers the whole family.
It is doing things for each other, not in the attitude of duty or sacrifice, but in the spirit of joy.
It is speaking words of appreciation and demonstrating gratitude in thoughtful ways.
It is not looking for perfection in each other.
It is cultivating flexibility, patience, understanding and a sense of humour.
It is having the capacity to forgive and forget.
It is giving each other an atmosphere in which each can grow old.
It is a common search for the good and the beautiful.
It is establishing a relationship in which the independence is equal, dependence is mutual and the obligation is reciprocal.
It is not only marrying the right partner; it is being the right partner

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