You have my heart and soul and I’m so happy to share the rest of our lives together.
A lifetime to love and hold you is my only wish, my love for you is forever.Shawnie and Dan
When Shawnie and Dan first contacted me to plan their elopement Vow Renewal ceremony it was immediately clear that theirs would be an incredibly special day. Scotland had been a place Shawnie had longed to visit for most of her life, for “the beauty, the tradition and the romance.” It took overcoming her fear of flying for her to brave the long journey from California with Dan by her side. In Shawnie’s words, “it was worth it to visit the most beautiful country in the world.”
Dan and Shawnie’s Vow Renewal was a celebration of 15 years of marriage, 20 years together, and many joyful years of family life. Their ceremony, in a quiet room at the historic Shieldhill Castle, was gentle, loving and relaxed. It was such a pleasure to hold space for these two high school sweethearts who have been through so much together and who clearly have a great time whatever they do.
Dan and Shawnie first met when Shawnie was in Sophomore year and Dan was just out of high school. It was at a memorable high school dance that they fell in love, and they have been together ever since. Now they live in their beautiful home together in Fortuna by the river and the redwoods with their four children and two sweet dogs. Over the years, they’ve supported each other through life’s challenges and made the most of their time together, treasuring the small everyday moments with their singing, trumpet-playing, roller-skating, hilarious, thoughtful children and the happy chaos of their home. In their words, “We wouldn’t ever change a thing.”
We opened the ceremony with an Oathing Stone ritual with Dan and Shawnie both placing their hands on the stone as they reflected on all that had brought them to be where they are today. In ancient Celtic belief, vows made by stone and water are said to be more binding. They placed their Oathing Stone close to them as is tradition – next to their handmade “We still do!” sign.
We reflected on memorable moments of their time together – the fun, the hard, the beautiful and the brilliant. I made up scrolls for Shawnie and Dan to share heartfelt words with each other that they had kept secret until the day. They gifted each other a ring.
Shawnie and Dan affirmed their love with a traditional Handfasting, the plaited ribbons symbolising their love and connection and their family.
Do you affirm your commitment to your constant friend, your partner in life and your one true love?
Do you promise to love them without reservation,
Honour and respect them,
Protect them from harm,
Comfort them in times of distress,
And to grow with them in mind and spirit
For all your many years to come?
It was my honour to affirm their commitment and to declare them again as life partners.
There are so many reasons to consider renewing vows. Perhaps it’s an anniversary, a chance to honour the completion of your family, a moment to celebrate overcoming hardship, or an opportunity to declare your love in the presence of family and friends. Whatever the reason, a Vow Renewal ceremony is a beautiful opportunity to pause, to reflect on your journey as a couple so far, to acknowledge all that you have achieved together, and to renew your Marriage vows and set your intentions for the coming years.
Witnessing Dan and Shawnie slow dance after the ceremony – just the two of them dancing together overlooking the beautiful South Lanarkshire countryside – made me appreciate again how important it is that we savour these moments, that we remember to pause, to reflect, to give thanks for all that we have and all that we are. Dan and Shawnie’s Vow Renewal ceremony was gorgeous and I am so happy for this wonderful couple and their lively, entertaining, joyful family.
Congratulations to you both, Dan and Shawnie! Thank you for trusting me with your ceremony and for sharing these lovely details of your day. It was a pleasure and an honour being your celebrant and I look forward to welcoming you to Scotland again in the future.
It was super to meet Jonathan and Claire from Love Weddings and Film. Thank you for these stunning photos.