Can you and I be honest with each other? I feel like you probably know me well enough that I can be straight with you. So here goes:

My head was not screwed on straight when we planned our wedding. My priorities were out of whack: I was more focused on throwing a wedding party than I was on marrying Matt.

I blame part of it on my competitive nature; during my senior year of college, I lived in a house with five other CRU girls, and of the six of us, FOUR were planning weddings. I had the smallest budget by far, but I was bound and determined to “throw” a wedding that was just as beautiful as my friends’ weddings. I know how stupid that sounds, now, but at the time, I thought it was totally reasonable.

We were married in the church where Matt grew up with our friends and family surrounding and celebrating us, but as I look back on our wedding photographs, I feel ashamed. Not because we had a small budget (that my parents generously provided), and not because our heavy-hours-d’oeuvres-and-dancing reception took place in the church banquet hall.

No, I feel shame because I know my attention was on the wrong things. Instead of my marriage, I was focused on the wedding. To some, that may sound like one and the same, but they’re two very different things.

Over the past few years, I’ve often expressed the sentiment that I wish we’d just eloped- I wish we’d gone to Manhattan or into DC with our immediate families and a few of our best friends, been married at the courthouse, and then gone out to a fancy dinner in a swanky restaurant with those who love and know us best. Oh, and we’d have hired Justin & Mary, for sure. And that would have been it. No invitations, no cake, no bridesmaid dresses to quarrel over, just me & him, a simple white dress, and nothing complicated. I wish we could go back and do it RIGHT.

Because it’s impossible to go back in time, we decided on a vow renewal. A sort of “re-do,” to re-commit to him as my husband without the distraction of all the pomp and circumstance. To really focus on the thing that matters most in the end- marriage, not a wedding.

The Mayflower DC wedding | Washington DC elopement style vow renewal | Justin & Mary

So I found a little white dress from BHLDN, with the lace sleeves I so desperately wanted five years ago but couldn’t find because Kate Middleton had yet to make them a thing, Holly Chapple made me the most beautiful blush and ivory bouquet, and Matt got a new sharp suit. And we brought in our dream photographers, Justin & Mary, and met our parents and my brother at the DC War Memorial. And it was perfect.

These photographs are the proof that it happened, and the evidence of one of my favorite days to date. Enjoy, dear friends!

The incredible vendors who made it happen-
Photography: Justin & Mary
Bouquet: Holly Chapple
Hair & Make-up: Alison Harper & Co.
Venue: The Mayflower, Autograph Collection
Dress: BHLDN
Shoes: Kate Spade
Suit: JCrew

Kate Spade Charm Heels | Washington DC elopement style vow renewal | Justin & MaryBHLDN Waterfall Dress | Washington DC elopement style vow renewal | Justin & MaryWashington DC elopement style vow renewal | Justin & MaryHolly Chapple bouquet | Washington DC elopement style vow renewal | Justin & MaryWashington DC elopement style vow renewal | Justin & MaryWashington DC elopement style vow renewal | Justin & MaryBHLDN Waterfall Dress | Washington DC elopement style vow renewal | Justin & MaryWashington DC elopement style vow renewal | Justin & MaryWashington DC elopement style vow renewal | Justin & MaryWashington DC elopement style vow renewal | Justin & MaryThe Mayflower DC wedding | Washington DC elopement style vow renewal | Justin & MaryWashington DC elopement style vow renewal | Justin & MaryWashington DC elopement style vow renewal | Justin & MaryWashington DC elopement style vow renewal | Justin & MaryWashington DC elopement style vow renewal | Justin & MaryWashington DC elopement style vow renewal | Justin & MaryWashington DC elopement style vow renewal | Justin & MaryWashington DC elopement style vow renewal | Justin & MaryWashington DC elopement style vow renewal | Justin & MaryWashington DC elopement style vow renewal | Justin & MaryWashington DC elopement style vow renewal | Justin & Mary

This might have been my favorite part- dancing to our first dance song right after renewing our vows.

Washington DC elopement style vow renewal | Justin & MaryWashington DC elopement style vow renewal | Justin & MaryWashington DC elopement style vow renewal | Justin & MaryWashington DC elopement style vow renewal | Justin & MaryWashington DC elopement style vow renewal | Justin & MaryWashington DC elopement style vow renewal | Justin & MaryWashington DC elopement style vow renewal | Justin & MaryWashington DC elopement style vow renewal | Justin & MaryWashington DC elopement style vow renewal | Justin & MaryWashington DC elopement style vow renewal | Justin & MaryWashington DC elopement style vow renewal | Justin & MaryWashington DC elopement style vow renewal | Justin & MaryWashington DC elopement style vow renewal | Justin & MaryWashington DC elopement style vow renewal | Justin & MaryThe Mayflower DC wedding | Washington DC elopement style vow renewal | Justin & Mary

 

Our Elopement-style DC Vow Renewal!

February 18, 2016

  1. Urška Majer

    February 18th, 2016 at 7:00 am

    Abby, these are amazing! You two are such a great couple and i love your dress! And Justin & Mary did an amazing job capturing your love 🙂

  2. Kara

    February 18th, 2016 at 8:21 am

    I love this, Abby! In the midst of wedding planning and getting caught up in emailing 500 vendors it was so nice to read this, think about my upcoming MARRIAGE (not wedding).
    PS: I cannot wait to meet with you next week!!
    PPS: That dress is to die for!

  3. Alexis

    February 18th, 2016 at 8:25 am

    These are just adorbs! Honestly made me step back and rethink my own wedding plans! Focus on the marriage, not the wedding. <3

  4. Megan

    February 18th, 2016 at 8:49 am

    You guys are so perfect! I seriously could not love this any more. You make me love love so much <3 Congrats on the vow renewal!

  5. Jean

    February 18th, 2016 at 8:49 am

    These are gorgeous photos! What a wonderful way to celebrate your anniversary and renew your wedding vows. You two are such a special couple. Love you both!

  6. Lindsey

    February 18th, 2016 at 8:50 am

    These images are divine, they remind me so much of your work, bright and crisp. You are so right about weddings/marriages and the very large difference between the two! A beautiful wedding does not a marriage make. 😉

  7. Kristen Duffy

    February 18th, 2016 at 9:06 am

    Abby, these are beautiful. And thank you for sharing your honest reflections at the beginning of this, it made me appreciate the photos even more 🙂

  8. Vanessa

    February 18th, 2016 at 9:38 am

    This. Is. Stunning. I love that I can feel your happiness through the photos. Justin and Mary did a fabulous job. And that dress, gah! Congrats to you and Matt!!!

  9. Wendy D'Angelo

    February 18th, 2016 at 9:47 am

    My heart is sooo excited by these and I’m choked up at the same time. Abby you know the intimacy and wonderful closeness of an elopement and choosing to do one, even later… perfect! 5-year “re-do” is a great idea. You already know what you have and want to hold on to more than ever. Congratulations on 5 tough and joyous years. THESE ARE STUNNING!!!!

  10. Tara

    February 18th, 2016 at 9:58 am

    This. The words and the photos… so beautiful.

  11. Ashley Ziegler

    February 18th, 2016 at 10:10 am

    This is beautiful and you two look amazing!!! That is so wonderful 🙂

  12. Abbeigh

    February 18th, 2016 at 10:50 am

    You & Matt’s marriage is so beautifully depicted through these photos! Justin & Mary did a tremendous job!! Love, love, love!!!

  13. Meredith

    February 18th, 2016 at 12:19 pm

    AND you made me cry! This is exactly how I felt about our wedding. We are planning our 10 year vow renewal soon and THIS is PERFECTION!

  14. Karen aka Mom

    February 18th, 2016 at 1:46 pm

    My face did not make it to this because I wanted to be stylish and wear my Downton Abbey hat, but that only means your friends can’t see that I was grinning ear to ear and feeling so very proud of you and Matt that day. The vows were such that I was crying out of joy, during that little ceremony. Your father, as your celebrant, and Matt’s father, as the blesser with the prayer of blessing over you both, were God’s benediction to a moment in time I never want to forget. I agree with all of your other commenters on all of the details. I love you and day after day it becomes more of a joy to be your mother and Matt’s MIL.

  15. Rebekah

    February 18th, 2016 at 7:45 pm

    Love everything about this!!

  16. Richelle

    February 18th, 2016 at 8:06 pm

    Beautifully put and so true.

  17. Bethanne

    February 19th, 2016 at 7:45 am

    Just beautiful! Absolutely adore these and you two! <3

  18. Jordyn

    February 19th, 2016 at 10:30 am

    Perfect timing! Loved reading this! I am about 100 days out from my wedding and this may have been the best wake-up call yes! Yes it’s about the celebration, but it’s about the celebration of you and your best friend!
    UGH! Great timing Abby thank you! 🙂

    PS: you looked absolutely amazing!

    xoxo
    Jordyn

  19. Kathryn

    February 19th, 2016 at 10:55 am

    This. Is perfect.

  20. Katelyn James

    February 20th, 2016 at 7:58 pm

    J&M killed it!!! I love everything about this! From beginning to end! I’m so happy for you and this exciting new season AND for all that God is doing through the two of you and your business!! YAYYYYY!!!!

  21. Rici

    February 23rd, 2016 at 3:37 pm

    Dearest Abby, your words made perfect sense! I am so glad you love your marriage & you want to honour it ! <3 this is a dream to be sure!!!
    (even if it is kinda sad that such competition is among Cru (or any other) girls…)
    You are so very Beautiful dear! Love your dress, and eye-lashes Oh gosh! And you hair!!!
    Gorgeous!

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