11 Years After Their Wedding, This Couple Renewed Their Vows with an Intimate Ceremony in California

Bride and groom on outdoor catwalk
Jenny Quicksall

Susan met Tony nearly 20 years ago when he was a customer at her mother's flower shop, where she worked. "In early 2004, he would make his usual purchases, but started buying an additional single rose and leave it behind for me," Susan remembers. He'd stop by from time to time and bring her lunch, and after a few months, the two began dating. Four years later, Susan found herself delivering flowers to a bridal shop and ended up trying on wedding dresses. A week later, she and Tony were choosing their wedding rings.

They had a traditional Vietnamese engagement ceremony on January 26, 2008, followed by a wedding for 160 guests on August 8, 2008. It didn't, however, go according to plan—at all. "The entire wedding was a nightmare!" Susan reflects. "During our reception, there was an electrical outage and we didn't have sound for almost three hours. Our first dance was to the sound of my cousin singing."

Over a decade of marriage—and several children—later, the couple decided that it was time to have the celebration they'd always wanted. So, Susan and Tony decided to renew their vows in California, surrounded by 70 of their nearest and dearest on September 19, 2019. With the help of planning and design team A Good Affair, they invited their loved ones to Monarch Beach Resort in Dana Point for an all-white ceremony and moody reception, complete with a color scheme of black, mauve, gold, and blush. And while the the power thankfully held fast, 20 years later, sparks still flew between Susan and Tony, as they reaffirmed their commitment in front of those who love them most.

01 of 17

Moody Invites

black and blush wedding invites with floral illustration
Jenny Quicksall

Susan and Tony hired Luxe Marie Stationery to create a floral illustration for them to use throughout their wedding paper goods. (They even used it as a photo booth backdrop come the reception.) The custom suite incorporated their color palette, composed primarily of black and blush.

02 of 17

All About the Train

Bride in Enzoani gown with tulle mermaid skirt , horsehair hem, and lace top
Jenny Quicksall

The bride went shopping for her vow renewal ensemble by herself so that she wouldn't be influenced by other opinions. She wasn't able to wear a wedding dress with a long train—something she had always wanted—during her traditional Vietnamese celebration years ago, so that was her main priority this time around. She chose a gown with a tulle mermaid skirt, horsehair hem, and lace bodice by Enzoani. "When I saw myself in this dress, I knew it was the one that I wanted to get married in—again," she says.

03 of 17

Nostalgic Accessories

bride's crystal-embellished Christian Louboutin pumps
Jenny Quicksall

Susan wore the same jewelry she wore on her wedding day, including a diamond bracelet Tony gave her early on in their relationship. She also wore crystal-embellished Christian Louboutin pumps and a veil, which was a gift from a friend.

04 of 17

White Blooms

Bouquet in loose oval shape with ranunculus, roses, gardenia, phalaenopsis orchids, white O'Hara roses, lisianthus, and spray rose
Jenny Quicksall

She held an all-white bouquet, arranged in a loose oval shape, that incorporated ranunculus, roses, gardenia, phalaenopsis orchids, white O'Hara roses, lisianthus, and spray roses. The stems were wrapped in a silk ribbon, but were still exposed.

05 of 17

Classic Tux

groom wearing classic black tuxedo and black bowtie from Friar Tux
Jenny Quicksall

Tony wore a classic tuxedo from Friar Tux with a black bow tie.

06 of 17

Under the Arches

outdoor wedding ceremony with white catwalk lined with white roses
Jenny Quicksall

Since Susan and Tony didn't have the ceremony they wanted the first time around, they decided to go all out during their vow renewal. "We wanted to do things right this time, since the first time was such a disaster," the bride says. They had a 40-foot-long white catwalk installed, and lined with white roses. At the altar, three gold arches stood at varying heights, framing the venue's grounds and views of the ocean in the distance.

07 of 17

The Details

parasols for outdoor wedding
Jenny Quicksall

To keep guests shaded from the sun, Susan and Tony provided parasols at the entrance of the ceremony space.

08 of 17

Meet Me Halfway

Bride and groom during processional
Jenny Quicksall

As the family (including the duo's kids!) and groom made their way down the aisle, a DJ played a cello and piano cover of "Can't Help Falling in Love." When Susan entered the ceremony, a violin cover of Nanda Candra's "You Are The Reason" sounded throughout the space; Tony met her halfway down the aisle.

Susan asked her team at The Flower Boutique to provide the florals for the event. Oversized all-white arrangements were placed in white urns and set atop translucent displays at varying heights on either side of the aisle entrance.

09 of 17

Emotional Vows

bride and groom during ceremony
Jenny Quicksall

The couple wrote personal vows to exchange at the altar. "I did not think I would have gotten as emotional as I did from reading my vows," Susan says. "I included how I felt about our journey together over the last 11 years."

10 of 17


wedding reception outdoor cocktail bar
Jenny Quicksall

Susan and Tony wanted to make sure to attend the cocktail hour and mingle with their guests, so they took portraits with their photographer before their service. During the interlude, they offered an open bar with passed appetizers including crab cakes, lamb lollipops, tomato basil bruschetta, and salmon tartare cones. Tony actually built the bar himself!

11 of 17

Personal Portraits

escort cards with hand drawn portraits
Jenny Quicksall

The couple commissioned Chasing Linen to create portraits of each guest, which then doubled as their escort card and favor. The cards—which also displayed attendees' seating assignments—were nestled onto white flower frogs and placed on a hollow acrylic table filled with greenery garlands.

12 of 17

Welcome to the Reception

wedding reception with black velvet linens, ivory fabric, and chandeliers
Jenny Quicksall

Susan envisioned a dark and moody color palette for the reception to contrast the all-white ceremony. Long tables were topped with black velvet linens, the ceilings were draped in ivory fabric, and 11 chandeliers were hung overhead to signify the duration of the couple's marriage. The head table was adorned with a white flower garland; glass votives in varying heights held floating tea candles and were placed on the floor in front of their station.

13 of 17

Mauve Settings

place settings with mauve velvet napkins, gold-rimmed glass chargers, gold and black flatware, and personalized menu
Jenny Quicksall

Each place setting included a mauve velvet napkin, a gold-rimmed glass charger, gold-and-black flatware, and a personalized menu.

14 of 17

The Centerpieces

wedding centerpieces of white, blush, and black florals
Jenny Quicksall

Centerpieces, which incorporated white, blush, and black florals, were placed on each table. Susan and Tony went with marble vases to tie the décor into the settings (butter plates were also marble). Each table number was printed in a black bold font on clear acrylic.

15 of 17

The Photo Backdrops

photo backdrop of silver and gold balloons for wedding reception
Jenny Quicksall

Susan and Tony set up two separate photo backdrops for the reception. The first incorporated the floral design seen on the invitations, while the other was created with silver-and-gold balloons in a myriad of sizes.

On the interior dance floor, Susan and Tony took a spin to Shane Ward's "Until You." They paid homage to their original first dance song—Shania Twain's "Still the One"—by turning the title into a neon sign, which was created using Tony's handwriting as a "font." The couple's DJ, DJZ Productions, then played popular top 40 songs and electronic dance music, which kept guests out of their seats all night.

16 of 17

Statement Cake

black wedding cake with hints of gold and blush, and rose quartz embellishment
Jenny Quicksall

The bride wanted a primarily black cake, so she and Tony chose a tiered design from Intricakes that allowed them to incorporate black with hints of gold and blush. The berries-and-cream flavored confection featured a rose quartz embellishment; each tier was a different size.

To couples planning their vow renewals, Susan suggests viewing your original wedding as a learning experience. "If there was anything you did not have on your wedding day, make sure you have it for the vow renewal. For me, it was the grand ceremony and dress," she says. "We were able to have so much more fun keeping the renewal small with the people closest to us!"

17 of 17


Bride and groom during ceremony
Jenny Quicksall

Photography, Jenny Quicksall
Venue and Catering, Monarch Beach Resort - Club 19
Wedding Planning and Event Design, A Good Affair
Videography, PhotoFilms
Flowers, The Flower Boutique
Invitations and Paper Products, Luxe Marie
Escort Cards and Favors, Chasing Linen
Bride's Gown, Enzoani
Bride's Accessories, NQ Jewellers; Christian Louboutin
Hair and Makeup, Glam by Kimmy V
Groom's Attire, Friar Tux
Music, DJZ Productions
Cake, Intricakes
Rentals, Bright Event Rentals
Lighting, DJZ Productions; Signature Party Rentals; BBJ Linen; TMMPro; Balloonzilla
Photo Booth, Party Boothtique
Boba Bar, Ding Tea

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