Alongside Their Daughters, This Couple Marked 10 Years of Marriage with a Modern, Natural Vow Renewal
After 10 years of marriage, several of which were dedicated to raising their twin daughters, Sarah and Gloria knew they had so much to celebrate. "When we asked our children how we should mark the occasion, they told us we should have a special party with just the four of us," notes the duo. "We took that idea and turned it into a vow renewal that honored who we are as a family and showcased our individualities by including both of our cultures and heritages through the design."
They worked with Eileen from E Events Co. to pull together a thematic micro event that highlighted both traditional anniversary markers—including tin and aluminum motifs as a nod to the traditional 10-year-anniversary gift—and their own vision. Circles and semicircles, symbolizing their infinite, forever love, defined most of their décor choices, from Gloria's boutonnière and the grounded half-moon ceremony arch to the lounge and reception lighting. They kept their color palette and textile and floral landscape neutral, opting for earth tones with metallic touches throughout; dried flowers, woven accents, and natural woods, like rattan, spoke to both the southern California locale and their shared Southeast Asian cultures.
The event for four came together at The Montage Healdsburg ("We loved that their hospitality towards our family was above and beyond," says the duo) on April 28, 2021. "We feel that all love should be recognized, new or old," they say, noting that they wholeheartedly recommend marking major relationship milestones in big or small ways. "A healthy love is always worthy of being celebrated."
"Our menus, place cards, and our vow renewal holders were all semicircular," explains the duo, noting that their stationery, designed by Bourne Paper Co., was the ultimate way to introduce this theme. "We wanted to embrace the idea that circles are infinite," they say, and nod to their enduring bond and marriage.
Suit and Bout
Gloria donned a J. Crew suit for the occasion. "She wanted something practical that she could wear over and again," says Sarah. "It's important to go with what fits well and feels good, too."
Sarah got a little help from the duo's twin daughters while getting ready.
"My shoes and clutch by Cult Gaia were picked specifically for the natural bamboo and rattan look that worked nicely with the natural aesthetic I was aiming for," Sarah explains. "It also tied in so perfectly with our Southeast Asian cultures."
Finding the Dress
She had eight wedding dresses in mind when she stopped in to shop at her local bridal boutique, Lovely Bride SF. "I tried them all on," she says. "The gown I fell in love with was the first, but I didn't want to commit to something so immediately. But none of the other gowns made me feel as beautiful and as free when I walked in them. I came back to the first one, and I knew it had to be the one." She ultimately selected this number from Lovers Society for its beautiful puffed sleeves. "It reminded me so much of a 'Filipiniana,' which is the traditional wedding dress of the Philippines. I was drawn to the vines that ran down the garment; it reminded me of the scenery you would find in my late grandmother's tropical farm. I also loved that it was simple and timeless."
Sarah's only request? To have at least one protea in her arrangement (it's one of her favorite flowers), since the variety appeared in her wedding bouquet 10 years ago. And though she wanted to incorporate the Philippines' national flower, the Sampaguita, it wasn't available in California at the time; instead, their florist went with tuberose, which looks and smells similar. Organic fillers rounded out the trailing clutch.
The twins wore dresses by Chloe that they picked out on their own; the ensembles didn't match, but spoke to each other, and were "simple, yet flowing," notes the duo. They wanted their kids to be comfortable and free to play throughout the whole day.
A grounded half-circle arch, filled with dogwood, roses, and natural grasses, hugged the family during the ceremony. "The flowers arranged in a semicircle would be one half of the circle, and our family would complete it," notes the couple.
Renewing Their Vows
The pair skipped an officiant, noting that they wanted to keep this celebration private, with family only. During the service, one of their daughters held a special prop: "We wanted to honor Sarah's late grandmother by incorporating her craft of weaving palm leaves," says Gloria. "We specifically asked our florist to add florals to a 'pamaypay,' or fan in Tagalog. We wanted our kids to have something fun and unique to hold during our ceremony."
"Our renewed vows evolved from our wedding promises," says the couple. "Although similar, they contained elements highlighting our individuality and why that is so important in being able to support one another in our journey together as a couple and family."
Re-Sealing the Deal
"It was rewarding to have our kids there, because our twins are a true testament of our love," explains the pair. "Our path to parenthood wasn't a traditional one, so to have them witness our love for each other all over again made our vow renewal even more special."
The semicircle lounge chair and circular tables within it enhanced the idea "that our love for one another is infinite like a circle," says the duo of the rattan-centric vignette.
In the center of the semi-circle, three wooden nesting tables held unique florals and objects, living room-style.
"We huddled in and laughed with our children while enjoying our cocktails in hand," says the couple of their brief cocktail hour on the lounge.
An Array of Sips
The couple sipped on a few cocktails and mocktails during the interlude; they included the "One Decade Down," comprised of whiskey, sweet vermouth, Campari, muddled lemongrass, and tiki bitters; the "Golden Glow," a citrus flower-infused vodka, lime, cardamom, rose, pomegranate, and fresh squeezed kumquat drink; and the "Cherry Blossom," with limeade and muddled cherry.
Party of Four
A small circular table with service for four was set up underneath a pergola on the property. Rounded chairs brought intimacy and texture to the space.
Dried florals spilled out of a natural vessel on the center of the station.
Jute and Aluminum
Rattan and aluminum lanterns, all circular in shape, were suspended above the table.
Organic place settings, which involved a ceramic charger, natural woven napkins, smokey glassware, and silver cutlery, featured a special nod to Gloria's background: "Gloria is Malaysian, so we wanted to add chopsticks to our table setting since they are the main eating utensil in her culture," notes Sarah.
Sharing a Meal
"We wanted to go with an Asian-inspired meal, so our venue created a custom menu," notes the couple. Dinner began with "Hamachi Crudo," a charred avocado, kumquat kosho, sambai, tokyo turnip, and coriander dish; next, local black cod, with miso glazed eggplant, charred onion, treviso, ponzu, scallion, and sesame, was brought out; then came "Wagyu Beef Bavette," served with baby bok choy, sweet thai chilis, and charred lemongrass; and finally, for dessert, "Coconut Pearls" made the rounds, complete with tapioca pearls, tropical fruit salsas, black sesame, and mango sorbet.
At the end of the meal, the duo and their children also cut into a petite white two-tier confection, topped with abstract fondant and dried floral bursts, by Tart + Tin Cakes and Confections.
"Towards the end of the day, we walked as a family through one of the venue's vineyards," reflects the couple. "The children had such a great time running up and down the rows, and it was such a fun and playful way to close out such a memorable day together."
Photography, Carlie Statsky
Venue and Catering, The Montage Healdsburg
Planning and Event Design, E Events Co.
Flowers, Tumbleweed Floral Design
Day-of Paper Products, Bourne Paper Co.
Sarah's Attire, Lovers Society via Lovely Bride
Sarah's Accessories, Cult Gaia (shoes and clutch)
Gloria's Attire, J. Crew
Gloria's Accessories, Madewell (shoes), Rolex (watch)
Kids' Attire, Chloe
Alterations, The Wedding Detailor
Hair and Makeup, Kelly Jones Makeup & Hair
Engagement Rings and Wedding Bands, Fourtane
Cake, Tart + Tin Cakes and Confections
Rentals, The Copper Rose (specialty and lounge rentals); Theoni Collection (tabletop and linen rentals); Borrowed Blu (chopsticks)
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