Emily Henderson Header Image Emily Henderson

10 Years Later

A Surprise Vow Renewal

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Brian, the kids, and I booked our exotic Sacramento suburban vacation a month ago – because we NEEDED a week where someone we love (Bob and Suz – Brian’s parents) could help us watch the kids so we could, well, sleep, watch TV, shop, pin, and of course reconnect by having a couple nights away together. In case you are pre-kids or post-young babies, it’s strange how much you want to be near your kids on vacation but not on full-time duty. Taking them on a trip is so much work, but leaving them feels so sad (mostly because we both work). So this was going to be PERFECT. We got up here on Saturday afternoon and Bob said he bought something new that he wanted to show Charlie. He led us to the barn where he opened the door.  I expected that he had borrowed the neighbors white pony to show Charlie. There was no pony.

Behind that door were 12 of our closest LA friends that weren’t at our wedding, whom Brian flew in for the night. I was so shocked, for hours, actually. It was a surprise vow renewal party for me/us and OH MY GOD IT WAS SO FUN AND MAGICAL AND AMAZING AND WEIRD AND LOVE-INDUCING. If you think that you fall in love with your spouse on your wedding day, then picture how much different/better it is 10 years later when you are still happy and you get to relive it, but without any of the stress!!

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Without bragging too much about my husband let’s just say that he showed up, played hard and won this 10-year anniversary game. We typically don’t celebrate too much – something we always lament the day after our anniversary wishing one of us had thought harder and planned better. But this time around we both said we wanted to really celebrate our 10 year, especially with our friends that missed the first half of our relationship (including the wedding). I thought we were planning a party in LA. I was wrong – he was RIGHT. (Thank you all who commented so thoughtfully on this post last week about our relationship). Already that party was causing me stress because I really hate the pressure of making sure a party is pin-worthy so we typically just throw bbq’s because those are casual by nature = no stress. So this was so perfect, you have no idea. All our friends, food, drink, beautiful/original location but Brian did. it. all.

I squeezed myself into my wedding dress, (ha) which Brian had shipped up beforehand, and yes the bottom ripped off a couple years ago. I did my own hair and makeup, just like the first time. I wore sensible shoes, just like the first time.

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Brian wore the same wide tie (hilariously, like the first time) and while there were only 12 people, I walked down the tiny aisle holding Birdie as she was being clingy and I was happy to have the pleasure of her company.

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Charlie wore a three piece suit as the ring bearer.  I about DIED of cuteness overload.  He kept saying “Mama, I have a burfrise for you!!” (burfrise = surprise). Brian got me a beautiful new wedding band (of which I had never had since our first ring was an antique that broke around year 8). It’s a simple, beautiful rose-gold band with tiny encrusted raw diamonds. I’m not a jewelry person, but this ring is so perfect.

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But the best part was that Brian edited and played our wedding video. The footage was mediocre, understandably as the guy who did it was from Craigslist and cost $250, but Brian, now a video producer, made it AMAZING. As much as repeating our vows to each other was incredible, and it was, I was a bit nervous probably because I was still in shock at the whole surprise. But watching our 27 year old selves do the OG version was insane. We had a very casual, inexpensive, personal, small wedding which we thought was so beautiful and perfect at the time, but looking back it was even better than I remembered. The weirdest/best part was being confronted with how I’ve changed and yet stayed the same. I was still goofy, comfortable, bubbly, and happy, but there was such an innocence and brightness about me, both of us actually, that made us really miss those people. When you have two kids and run two businesses, with employees and mortgages there really isn’t as many bright-eyed-aw-shucks moments every day. It made me want to be that person a little bit more, try a bit harder to act less exhausted, more light and generally nicer to the man that I was and still am so enamored with. I know that you can’t stop from growing up and it’s not like I watch my junior high cheerleading videos and wish I could act that awkward again because I “felt so free.” When you are 27, you are an adult, but a really, really good version of an adult that I for one, would like to emulate a bit more.

The best part? I cried so hard as we watched us whispering to each other during our first dance (which was this song, by the way). We didn’t think we were recorded because we forgot Brian had a mic on. What we said to each other, how we danced, was so intimate, sweet, and full of love. That’s the stuff you don’t remember the next day, let alone the night of, so watching it 10 years later is magical.

Having your kids at your wedding renewal makes your heart feel like warm melting chocolate. And knowing that we have a week more of spending time together made me feel like I was on one of those drugs you hear about on twitter.

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The day after all our friends that were still in town came over and we played in the yard and had Bloody Marys. Bob and Suz hosted at their beautiful home that we are all obsessed about.

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Brian and Charlie “accidentally” dressed in the same shirt and Birdie and I were in buffalo checks. Yes, I would hate us if I saw us, too. We are disgusting.

Thanks to all our newer friends (sorry for the ones missing in the pics) that came to join. I wish it could have been a three day affair with all of our best friends and family from the OG and the renewal .. but that would have been stressful and this certainly wasn’t. Not one bead of sweat was formed.

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Now we are just relaxing at the house. Feeding the neighbors horses, going on walks, watching This is Us, and chilling the heck out with family.

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Brian and I head off to Napa tomorrow to stay at the Auberge, just he and I. We’ll be there for 50 hours (two nights and 2 days, but who’s counting?) and our only plan is getting massages, reading, eating, drinking wine, and hanging out. Thanks to Bob and Suz for taking care of the kids – we feel insanely lucky. There is nothing like a guilt-free mid-week get away, so thank you.

And that’s it. Happy 10th Annivesary to us. No more 10 year wedding or relationship talk for a while I promise. I just couldn’t not share this as it felt like a nice full circle after this post. 

Wait – one more thing. Thank you so much, my love. That night made my life. 

*Meanwhile come back tomorrow for the living room mood board and even better on thursday a big “ask the audience” re the new house that I can absolutely not make a decision. 

 

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  1. Yup, I cried ready this post. How sweet! I am so glad the two of you had such a special ten year anniversary. Congratulations!

  2. What a guy! This is absolutely lovely, and made me excited to start planning a ten-year anniversary party for my own wedding. You reminded me that one of my only regrets is not taking a wedding video. I thought it was just too much money to spend, but now I wish that I could hear the words we spoke and watch the people singing around the campfire (yes, I had one of those weddings, and it was fantastic, so haters to the left). Have a wonderful week.

  3. This is so sweet! What a fun, thoughtful gift. (And your boobs look fantastic!)

    1. I second all of these sentiments!

  4. I cried too. Happy anniversary! What an awesome, low-key party with a huge surprise!

  5. Well I’m bawling at work, just so very sweet! Thank you for sharing.

  6. This is beautiful and amazing. Congratulations to you and your family!

  7. Eeeeeeeeee! What a lovely surprise. Seriously props to Brian for pulling this off 🙂 Congrats and enjoy your mini-vacation in Napa 🙂

  8. Pure magic. Every single part.

  9. Oh my gosh, how beautiful and special! You have one special husband there, that’s for sure. Love reading your family and wedding and love stories. That’s what puts your blog at the top of my list. The personal touch warms the heart. Have a wonderful rest of your time on your second honeymoon!

  10. Tissue post! So sweet!

  11. This made me so happy! I’m 28 and just got engaged, and I so hope that I can make something like this happen in 10 years. Massive congratulations! 🙂

  12. Ugh… now my mascara is running…
    🙂

  13. Crying. I’m getting married a week from Friday (WHAT) and I hope it is even half as magical as your OG wedding and vow renewal sound!

    1. What does OG stand for? I’m guessing the “o” is for original, but the “g” is leaving me stumped. Thanks in advance!

      1. Haha I’m wondering the same thing!

      2. You must have missed 90’s rap. OG stands for original.

        1. Haha! I think I missed 90’s rap too, but I knew OG meant original because of “Teen Mom OG”. EMBARRASSING.

      3. Actually, it means Original Gangster. You definitely can’t leave out the gangster part 🙂

  14. Congratulations! So lovely. I am very glad that your husband mustered as he did. And I agree, a vacation with the kids AND loving caregivers is the best.

    We just got back from Auberge. I just wanted to say, if you haven’t been, we found the most quiet down by the spa, in the hot “springs.” tub. You can order lunch there from room service, if you like, although that’s a pricey option;), the privacy was amazing. Also, if you eat beef, the “prime” at the bar is amazing. Enjoy.

  15. Ah – sorry, I then clicked through to see you are at Solage, not du Soleil. Enjoy that! xox.

  16. What an incredibly sweet surprise, love you guys!

    http://www.shopthecoconutroom.com

  17. Brian just made a lot of husbands look bad. 😉 good job!! And, brian, please train and teach Charlie and everysingleone of his friends to be as thoughtful. This is the stuff dreams are made of.

  18. And I’m crying at work . . . This is incredible and so, so thoughtful. Brian wins the best husband award. I, too, just celebrated my 10 year anniversary and did it in a similar manner – family vacation with the two kids and in-laws with two days/nights on our own. It’s the best (but especially the “on our own” part). I hope you have a wonderful time in Napa!

  19. What a fantastic choice for your first dance! (My husband and I danced to the same song).

  20. That is one of the sweetest, most beautiful stories. Thank you for sharing.

  21. You can fit in your wedding dress after 10 years…I consider that a total win! Looks like a good time was had by all, and have fun in Napa.

  22. Emily, thanks so much for sharing. You are so inspiring. Many hugs, and congrats.

  23. Oh man. I’m crying into my coffee right now. This is just all the feels!! Congrats on 10 years and congrats on marrying such a great guy who is still obviously head over heels for you! I think I’m going to go give my hubby a giant smooch now and be extremely thankful that I also married a keeper. With a new house, a 4 year old and 1 year old it’s easy to forget in the day-to-day that your spouse isn’t just the “other parent”! This is the stuff that makes life so damn good. 🙂

  24. So beautiful! And what a wonderful gift – go Brian!! Happy 10th Anniversary you love birds! 🙂

  25. Beautiful. Absolutely beautiful.

  26. Regretting wearing mascara today. Just beautiful Emily, I don’t even know you, but I’m so happy for you.

  27. So, so romantic, thoughtful and loving. What a beautiful day! Enjoy your time in Napa.

  28. Wow this is so sweet! I am so happy and a little jealous that Brian did all of this for you. I am planning my own wedding right now and my fiancé is completely hands off (good and bad). I keep wondering if I would have been happier keeping it small and simple like this. But the trigger has already been pulled on the venue and save the dates have been sent, so no going back now! Maybe for our 10 year anniversary. 🙂

    I know it didn’t exactly fit the nature of the post, but since you mentioned it, could you please post a picture of your ring? It sounds like exactly what I’ve been thinking about getting.

  29. This post was so sweet!! I thought the anniversary post was so amazing, and now this!! What a lovely surprise. Congrats to you and your family!!

  30. HOLY COW Brian for the win!! You guys are killing me with the amazing love happening and we all appreciate you sharing it here. I love that he re-did the wedding video and also recreated lots of little special details. Hope you guys have the best rest of your vacation!

  31. How loving and lovely! Happy Anniversary!

  32. How amazing! I teared up at the pictures- you have an amazing husband!

  33. Wow! That made me cry. So lovely. Nice job, Brian!

  34. Tears at work! Thank you so much for sharing this post! Knowing you through your blog… I’m just SO happy for you. You’re so real with ‘us.’

  35. This is everything every woman has ever dreamed of, keep him! and congrats!

  36. Somebody above said it best: pure magic.

    Congratulations!

  37. Lump in my throat the whole time! So sweet 🙂

  38. Ok, that’s it. Does Brian have any single brothers? His mama did something very, very right.

    Congratulations and thank you for sharing this special day and relationship. It’s inspiring and wonderful with a side-benefit of eyeball cleansing.

  39. Now I’m a big soggy melting mess from this story. The cuteness overload of Charlie with your ring. You have the best in-laws ever.

  40. so many heart eyes…! Congrats (10 yrs late) on picking one heck of an awesome guy.

  41. I’m so happy for you. That is wonderful Emily

  42. This was so sweet to read. It makes me extremely happy my husband and I decided to do a small, informal wedding this past August. Your family is beautiful and I love that you could still fit in your wedding dress! So precious!

    Erin
    http://www.topknotsandsweatpants.com

  43. How wonderful!! Have the most wonderful time alone with your husband!!

  44. Thank you for sharing this! I loved this post and I’m so happy for the two of you. Enjoy your 50 hours to the fullest! Xoxo

  45. What a lovely surprise. And clearly he knows you well! Congratulations on 10 years and cheers to a whole lot more.

  46. Emily, posting from the UK. I really enjoy your blog and it’s relevant even though the product is mostly inaccessible. Always learning.

    However: your family / relationship posts recently have been wonderful and what sets all your personal stories apart is that you exude gratitude and that’s a quality that is so absent from many people’s lives. And it gives you what you have and enjoy. Thank you for such romantic and thought-provoking posting.

    My partner and I have been through some challenging times and it’s wonderful to have it proved again : love conquers all ❤️

  47. Tears of JOY for you and Brian! Love this and love his effort.

  48. Ah! You made me cry at work. So sweet and so much love. Happy Anniversary!

  49. I’m going to need Brian to call my husband and help hi, do this for our upcoming 12th anniversary! This is the sweetest thing ever!

  50. So perfect and wonderful!

  51. I totally loved this post. I cried like a baby and laughed as well. Happy Anniversary! Congratulation and best wishes for another 50 more.

  52. So sweet… I cried, too! So happy for you!

  53. This might be the sweetest thing I’ve ever heard of in my entire life. The fact that your husband planned this is just amazing! I love hearing about your marriage and could just hope to have a sliver of something similar to it in my own life. What a great story!

  54. Crying.. This is the sweetest thing ever!!!

  55. COULD THIS BE ANY CUTER?!!!!!!!!!!

  56. Emily! Congratulations! What a beautiful thing to read about. I am so happy for you and Brian and your adorable munchkins! You four deserve all of the love you have made for each other and built around you. And go Brian! What a feat to pull that off as a surprise!

  57. THIS is so beautiful! Sounds like the perfect 10th anniversay. Enjoy!

  58. This is AMAZING! So happy for you and Brian 🙂 I know you two must be so incredibly busy but you still live your life to the fullest and it’s beautiful !

  59. You are lovely. Brian is lovely. Your babies are lovely. I love this post. We are also coming up to our 10-year wedding anniversary this year. I can’t see a vow renewal coming up (I am not sure if they have been invented yet in Australia), but this is certainly inspiration to put a bit of thought into it! Wishing you many more years of happiness together. x

  60. So incredibly sweet and thoughtful! He did good for sure. Thank you for sharing these relationship posts once in a while, it’s nice to hear the complexities that you inevitably go through over time with a person. I can definitely relate!

  61. Interesting share and great help too.

  62. What a gift! Congratulations again to you two and MASSIVE props to Brian for hitting it out of the park. Yay!

  63. I’m not crying, YOU’RE crying! This is just too sweet! Congratulations!

  64. What a sweet surprise! Enjoy your vacation!

  65. I just balled my eyes out. this has to be the best anniversary present ever. what a special memory! and you know, 10 years down the line you’ll think how bright eyed you looked on this day 🙂

  66. You guys all look so beautiful! Congrats and what an amazing partner you have.

  67. Love! ???

  68. I teared up through my smiles on this one. What a wonderful thing to do!

  69. Just lovely!

  70. Congratulations!!!

    We are 13 years married with an almost 3 year old and a 6 month old. Everything you said in this post was exactly right. I’m so happy you got time with family & friends and time with Brian. Happy happy anniversary!

  71. Looking gorgeous in bride dress. More informative stuff and i really amazed to be here. Thanks

  72. Me too! Love it. Thank you for the beauty and inspiration you share in all its many forms.

  73. What a special, fun, memorable day! My husband surprised me with a vow renewal on our tenth anniversary and, honestly, I loved it more than our original wedding. Such an intimate way to celebrate that you’ll never forget. Congratulations!!

    http://aninnerdisposition.blogspot.com/2014/10/our-renewal.html

  74. Congratulations!! This is so sweet!

  75. Wow, this is so beautiful! And I love how much thought Brian put into it to make it stressful free for you but so memorable. Thanks for sharing your love story 😉

  76. That is just wonderful! The only downside is how much every other husband is going to resent him for showing them up!

  77. what an amazing post thanks for sharing this.

  78. Very Nice Post Emily. Thank

  79. Very Nice Post Emily. Your Post Always Awesome …

  80. Very Nice Post Emily …***…***…***…***

  81. how beautiful and special! You have one special husband there, that’s for sure. Love reading your family and wedding and love stories. That’s what puts your blog at the top of my list. The personal touch warms the heart. Have a wonderful rest of your time on your second honeymoon!

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