Joe and I have always been big on celebrating milestones. From anniversaries to birthdays to graduations, we love commemorating special occasions. For us, we find enjoyment not only in the celebrations themselves, but in the planning and anticipation.
For our five-year wedding anniversary, we were fortunate enough to be able to travel to Sedona, AZ. At the time, the warmth of Arizona was a welcome break from the cold January weather of Northern Virginia. We had a wonderful and unforgettable experience at Sedona Cathedral Hideaway, where we were treated like royalty by owners Kathy and Larry. Like many visitors to Sedona, we absolutely fell in love with its magic – the magnificent red rock monoliths, blue skies, peaceful hikes, and pitch dark nights under millions of stars.
While we cherished the romantic seclusion that a trip to Sedona has to offer, we wanted our 10-year wedding anniversary & vow renewal to be a broader celebration of our family. With that as the premise, we decided to plan our event around the week of our traditional summer vacation in Door County, WI.
Door County has a special place in our hearts for many reasons, not the least of which is the memories that our family has built together over time. In fact, we have been gathering in “the Door” every summer since Joe and I were first together (the tradition actually dates back many decades – Joe’s mom took her first steps in Door County). Our current group, which includes Joe’s parents, his three siblings and their wonderful families, totals 20 people in all.
As I ordinarily do in my capacity as a professional wedding planner, I began with the guest count as the starting place for determining the right location for our ceremony and reception. A disclaimer before I proceed any further: Joe was every bit the planner of this event, working with me every step of the way and even taking the lead on coordinating several key aspects of the day 🙂
With our group of 20 – which includes a mix of adults, teenagers, and young children – we knew we wanted a reception venue that was cozy, comfortable, and intimate. We also pictured an outdoor vow renewal along the waterfront, preferably at sunset. Door County, with nearly 300 miles of Lake Michigan shoreline, offers a number of options for the type of event we were looking to create, but perhaps none as perfect as Gordon Lodge, our chosen site.
Gordon Lodge, which is located on the lake side of the Door County peninsula (on North Bay, near Baileys Harbor), offered everything we were looking for in a venue. Nestled among towering trees and enveloped by tranquil waters, the property is warm, hospitable, and inviting. Our vow renewal ceremony, as we had envisioned when we first visited Gordon Lodge, took place just feet from the water, under the arbor, with a soon-to-be-setting sun watching our every move. With the people we love the most in this world on hand to witness the reaffirmation of our vows, we felt like we were in paradise.
For the procession, the song Feels Like Home played in the background as our children led the march. First Malia and Nathan, then Cecy and Isaac. Mia, our precious niece, was next with our wedding rings in hand. Joe and I brought up the rear. With everyone looking on, including my parents and sister who came all the way from Monterrey, MX, we felt such a sense of peace and happiness! (thank you God for making all of these happen!) If I had to choose a best moment, I would pick when Joe said his vows (he was incredibly choked up, so much that he asked if he could take a lap!).
After an emotional and joyful re-exchanging of our vows, our group headed to the Boathouse for the reception. A brief cocktail hour was followed by an intimate dinner on the screened porch. It couldn’t have been any more wonderful and the service – from the day we booked at the Gordon Lodge to the moment we wrapped up the evening – was outstanding.
We also were incredibly fortunate to work with several exceptional vendors. They all made our vow renewal extra special. See our vendor team at the end of this post.
From an event planning/coordinating standpoint, we faced the challenge of planning from a distance (we arranged most of the details from Virginia, including selecting our vendors, and did not want to carry a lot of day’s items/decor to the Midwest). We actually managed to fit most of the primary items in one carry-on bag (place cards, gifts for the moms, the cake topper, boutonnieres, and my brooch bouquet). We made a packing list – a must-do for every wedding! – so we didn’t forget anything back home.
There were several other touches that helped to make the day memorable and special. For one, Joe surprised me with a series of signs (modeled after crosswords!) that he designed for the ceremony and reception. We also had such fun incorporating Tiffany blue (the color theme of the day) into every aspect of the event.
What can I say? I am so blessed!
Cheers to true love and Happy Planning!
FLOUR GIRL PATISSIER[/one_half]
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Beautiful color scheme. Fun, whimsical elements. Love your dress. Thanks for sharing.
Thank you, Jean! We had so much planning our own event.