When a wedding vendor decides to renew their vows, you know it will be a dreamy affair. Especially if the vendor is the owner of the bridal shop Moonlight Lace. Last year, on their fifth wedding anniversary, that’s exactly what Natalie Mills and her husband Adam decided to do. And trust us, you don’t want to miss the full gallery by Taylor Kern Photography!
Natalie admits that she is all for couples doing a vow renewal at any point in their marriage. Still, their intentions run deeper than just getting some new photos and wearing a fun dress. “In September 2019, the month before the opening of Moonlight Lace, my husband confessed his longtime struggle with alcohol and checked himself into a rehab facility. And like many weddings, our wedding on July 27, 2016, was definitely one of the most beautiful and fun days in my life, but alcohol was a big part of it. So now two years sober for my husband, we wanted to re-commit to each other, just the two of us.” However, the couple took a different approach this time around. At their original wedding, they repeated generic vows, whereas this time, they both wanted to write their own. So, after five years of marriage, they renewed their vows, having written them themselves, in a place that had become very special to them.
It had always been a dream for Natalie and Adam to purchase land and begin building memories with their little family. So, when the couple bought ten acres at Red Rock, Nevada, last year, it just made sense to have the vow renewal there. The two of them hiked up accompanied by a photographer and videographer and exchanged vows with the bright red rocks behind them. Upon returning to their ranch, they were joined by their son and three dogs for the dreamiest of picnics on the deck of their tiny home. To top it off, they concluded their special day with sunset pictures around their property.
As a bridal salon owner surrounded by plenty of gorgeous gowns, one would think it would be challenging to pick the perfect dress. However, Natalie claims that it was an easy choice. “I had known the moment I saw it in New York City in 2015 that if I was ever to do a vow renewal, I wanted that dress to be the dress. Fast forward four years, I still adored the A La Robe slip dress, so I knew it was a sign to go with it.” Her husband and son’s outfits also worked out perfectly. The couple tried to keep it simple and comfy for her son, while Adam had laid out a suit he had only worn once next to his pants and shirt. And it was almost no competition. “The suit just didn’t feel him at all. It didn’t feel like something you would wear at a ranch or hiking up rocks. The rust-colored pants, linen shirt, and bolo felt much more like Adam.”
To the couple, the most meaningful part of the day was exchanging the new vows they had written. “It was raw and emotional and felt incredibly special to do it just the two of us. Memorable would probably be getting back to the ranch and joined by our three-year-old son, who was just so excited to have a picnic with us.”
As with any wedding, the day also came with a few challenges. Many northern Nevada and California brides struggled with wedding arrangements during the wildfires, and Natalie was no exception. The Beckworth fire had forced the couple to evacuate their ranch a few weeks prior, and the Dixie, just north of them, had just gotten going. So, the entire week leading up to the vow renewal, the valley was all smokey, and you couldn’t even see the red rocks. In addition, Natalie’s asthma had kicked up again, and she was nervous for everyone to be outside. But by some miracle, on that day, while they woke up to the haze of some smoke, it had cleared for a few short hours in the afternoon, and they could see blue skies.
So, would they change anything if they had to plan this all over again? Natalie explains that July 27 would have fallen on a weekend in a perfect world, making it easier for herself and her husband workwise. But as luck would have it, it landed on a Tuesday. “On the flip side, we may not have gotten some of our vendors if it had been on the weekend, so I guess it all worked out like that for a reason.”
Her advice to fellow brides would be to know the team of vendors that you are hiring. “If you can, hire a planner who understands your vision and personality. Especially in the case of an elopement, micro wedding, or vow renewal, your vendors become a part of your day – and in the best way! Having a team behind you that is not only talented but also people you want to be around can make the day extra special.”
Happy anniversary, Natalie and Adam, and congrats on a beautiful vow renewal ceremony!
Photography Taylor Kern Photography / Video Emma Paul Photography / Calligraphy & Styling Candace Morales / Florals Helianthus Floral Design / Hair Courtney Elcano / Makeup ME Beauty Hair & Makeup / Boutique Picnic Reverie Picnics & Events / Chacuterie The Board Truckee / Wedding Dress Moonlight Lace / Ring + Necklace Honey&Goldies Fine Jewelry