Today’s vow renewal admittedly left me teary eyed. I read it probably 3 times and then I immediately sent an email to the planner, Summer from My Simply Perfect Events and told her how excited I was to feature it. You see, Summer is quite familiar with today’s couple. They’re actually her parents! 25 years ago they were married in her moms living room in front of 21 of their closest friends. But, this wedding almost didn’t happen, Elaine and Richard were content with being boyfriend and girlfriend for life if it meant they could just be together. Read on to find out why.
Our children were involved in a religious dance group (Baha’i Youth Workshop) for years and that is how we became acquainted. Dating Richard was the furthest thing from my mind until after bumping into him at a Baha’i celebration. My three young daughters 9, 11, and 13 years old were talking about how much they loved Richard and how kind he had been to them. At that moment, I decided that anyone my kids loved and anyone that had been so kind to my girls was someone I wanted to get to know. I was a single parent for 6 years with my mother living with us to help care for the girls. After our very first date, I knew he was THE ONE. 8 months after our chance encounter, we were outside at holy day celebration when he surprised me by proposing. He said the setting was a spiritual place and he wanted us to remember it forever. I swear I will never forget his loving kindness and creativity.
The most memorable thing about their wedding day?
In the Baha’i Faith it is necessary to have consent from both sets of parents to maintain unity in
the extended family. A week earlier, Richard and I flew to San Jose, CA from San Diego to get
consent from his parents. All seemed to be going well and they happily welcomed me into their
family but just a few days later his mother called Richard to say she could not give consent and
did not want us to marry because she was worried about what people would think about her
having a black daughter-in-law. Devastated, but devoted, we had to cancel our wedding. Although we were deeply in love, it was never a question that we had to remain an example to our children. Richard had a house about an hour from his job that he only stayed at on the weekends. He was renting a room from his best friend who lived around the corner from where he worked so he didn’t feel that it made sense to have this house with just his son living in it. He called me one day and said,“ I want you to move into my house and I’ll continue renting a room.” This was all before our consent was taken away. After we had it taken away, he said that he would continue renting a room without question. We decided that we would stay boyfriend and girlfriend forever. We cancelled the wedding, not the relationship. Three days later, Richard’s brother called to say he was getting ready to take their mom to the hospital because she could not eat, sleep, or stop crying and was becoming very ill. He told me we should just get married anyway and 5 years later down the road she will be used to the idea. I explained to him that Richard and I were steadfast in our Faith and through consultation and prayer we will work together to resolve her issues regarding interracial marriages. That evening, on a Thursday night, she called to say she would give consent because God would not be pleased with her. I think her real conflict was that she really liked me. Since we didn’t want to chance consent being taken away again, we decided to get married the very next day. Our wedding day was a bit chaotic since we both had a very long workday ahead of us. Neither of us could get the day off. I remember calling my daughters to tell them to clean the house because we were “having a wedding that night”. Summer screamed, Season went right into cleaning mode, and my other daughter, Shannon, was at her friend ’s house so I picked them up right after obtaining our marriage license and dropped them off to help. I’ll never forget, I had to go back to work and I got a call from a neighbor telling me that the kids were outside trimming the hedges in the front yard. I guess they were really excited! I stopped by the grocery store on the way home from work and bought a sheet cake. Honestly, we were so happy to be getting married that the location did not phase us. Luckily, my mom bought my dress for me days earlier and it was sitting in my closet so I was able to wear it. We did not sweat the details. If it wasn’t for my brother bringing an old camera at the last minute, we would not have had any pictures in focus or not. We were married at approximately
9:30pm with 21 family members and friends in attendance.
Why they did a styled shoot:
It wasn’t until this last spring that we realized our 25th wedding anniversary was approaching. It’s amazing how 25 years can creep up on you! Our youngest child, Summer, has been a wedding planner for approximately 9 years and she was very insistent that we mark this special occasion with a long awaited celebration, one like I had never imagined. After seeing the fabulous weddings she has created throughout the years, we knew we were in good hands. The planning started last spring and on the evening before Thanksgiving we will once again have approximately 21 family and friends present to witness our vow renewal. The most wonderful part about this celebration is that our 4 grandchildren will all be a part of our ceremony. We wanted to do this shoot in order to capture this moment in time with beautiful pictures, something I never allowed myself to dream of. The beautiful thing about a photo shoot is when it is time for the ceremony, the focus is on the spiritual union of the two of us, not on posing for pictures. We will be in our living room in front of our fireplace in Concord, N.C. with many of the same family members present just 25 years previous and of course new family members and friends. This photo shoot was taken in Griffin, Ga. The photos on the railroad tracks are in the same location where a scene from the popular tv series “The Walking Dead” was filmed. The location was picked because Summer is very aware of my desire for different, artistic, and unusual settings. In that way, she and I are very much alike.
Their favorite things to do as a couple:
There is really nothing specific that I can say is our favorite thing to do. We can make a special
event out of anything. This may sound silly but after 25 years we just love being together and
around each other. Richard never leaves the house without kissing me goodbye and I call him to
check to see how his day is going. We can make a special event out of hosting a dinner party
with 30 of our closest friends or while I am on the computer, he may be watching sports. It’s just
comforting knowing that he is around.
How they keep the spark in their marriage:
The spark in our marriage comes from pure love. Putting the other one first and working together
to achieve our common goals.
Advice for newlyweds:
My advice for newlyweds would be to make this union the number
one priority no matter what happens. No matter how many children you may have or challen
ges you may come up against, remember you chose each other to take this journey through
life together. Out of approximately 7 billion people on this earth, don’t forget how blessed you are to have found one another.
Chic Brown Bride is a wedding & lifestyle blog for women of color. Providing your daily dose of pretty as well as musings on weddings, life, style & travel. I'd love to hear from you! Say Hello: [email protected]Read More…