My husband and I made a deal. Besides promising our lives to each other on our wedding day, we promised a second celebration. We decided to have a traditional wedding followed by an elopement-style vow renewal on our five-year anniversary. Our marriage recently hit the five-year mark and we celebrated in Italy! Here’s a glimpse of our Italy elopement adventure in the gorgeous Dolomites.
When we were planning our traditional wedding back in 2015, my husband Patrick and I discussed a destination elopement. Getting away just the two of us or with a small group of people were both options on the table.
Since we were right out of college, and the first in our friend group to get married, we wanted to just throw a big party that could include everyone. But, we promised to do an Italy elopement on our five-year anniversary as our vow renewal adventure.
If I could go back in time and redo my wedding I still wouldn’t change a thing. But, if we were planning our wedding today, the two of us would definitely choose an Italy elopement adventure with a small group of people!
Our sunrise adventure began at 2 AM with getting my hair and makeup done by Sunshine Brides. The Dolomites have a wide range of areas to explore and we chose to catch the sunrise beside the Dolomites where we could take a boat ride across a lake.
Patrick and I planned our Italy elopement there so we could spend 2-3 days in small towns throughout the region experiencing the culture with its different German and Swiss influences. Our plans got a little sidetracked when after our sunrise vow renewal, we had to move the sunset session up because of an incoming rainstorm.
The storm was avoided, but you can see the dark clouds rolling in throughout our shots! Enjoying a surprisingly large sandwich and charcuterie board on top of the mountain became the perfect end to our day!
Our photographer, Henry Tieu, did such an incredible job capturing our Italy elopement day. I enjoyed being on the other side of the lens, since it was so great working with him. I met Henry at a photography workshop and already knew that we had a similar approach to photographing the day. It’s always nerve wracking to shoot another photographer, but he made us not feel like robots, relaxing us and creating a memorable experience!
I couldn’t avoid shooting entirely, and experimented with my film camera from the mountaintop having Patrick and I take photos of one another. It was the first time in forever that I had used it!
Some of the details that we carried over from our wedding day included reading our original vows, wearing my sparkling rose gold Keds shoes, and Patrick putting on his wedding day tie.
Patrick wanted to be completely surprised by my wedding vow renewal dress. Since there was no place to change clothes, I wore a hotel robe walking over to our wedding vow renewal ceremony spot. We also both added to our vows, expanding on the past five years by sharing how we’ve grown together, overcome challenges, and really become like home to each other.
Just like a wedding day isn’t just about capturing photos, it’s about making a commitment that lasts a lifetime. In the same way, we wanted to celebrate this beautiful milestone with an epic marriage vow renewal adventure.
Patrick and I decided to do a vow renewal in the Italian Dolomites because we wanted an adventure. More than that, we wanted to enjoy setting aside time just for us. A trip somewhere that celebrated how much we’ve grown together over the years.
Compared to our wedding day, this adventurous experience was way less stressful. There was freedom in the timeline and the ability to go with how we were feeling instead of our decisions affecting others. It felt so different not having to ask anyone’s opinion about anything and just do what we wanted to do.
Envisioning our Italian vow renewal came from a desire for adventure at a place we both were strongly tied to but had never visited together. This trip was spent soaking it in and taking some time for ourselves. Time to pause and be intentional together in the midst of our very busy lives. This entire experience left me excited for all of our future adventures and lazy days together.
Our vow renewal ended up being everything I had dreamed of despite our wild ride getting there. Read the full story of our vow renewal travels!