The Stars of This Virginia Couple's Romantic, Old-World Vow Renewal Were Their Children
Evan and Dustin first met at Georgia Southern University in 2008—at the time, they were two graduate students who immediately hit it off at a football tailgate, surrounded by a bunch of their professor friends from school ("Disclaimer: He was not my professor!" Evan confirms). Three years later, they were married on a rainy October day at a classic country club.
Here's the thing: As a cake baker in the wedding industry, Evan, of Sweets by E, has seen so many incredible nuptials since her own walk down the aisle—and began to feel inspired to have what she calls an "I Do Take Two" to mark the couple's tenth relationship anniversary. "We're celebrating a decade of love and two amazing kiddos. Getting married is easy, but staying married can be hard—so I think it's worth celebrating!" she explains.
Their vow renewal couldn't have been more different than their first ceremony. "We got married before Pinterest was really a thing—or even Instagram for that matter," explains Evan of her limited access to inspiration as a bride in 2011. This time around, Evan and Dustin drew creativity from some of her all-time favorite clients' ceremonies to plan their own tiny, Old-World-inspired service in a glass atrium in Bealeton, Virginia, with just their two children and big-day team in attendance. "We knew we wanted to do something totally different from our actual wedding and let our vendors run with it," she remembers. "That's one of the best things about being in this industry—you get to know so many talented people, that you just let them do what they do best!"
The couple's invites mimicked the vintage style of their vow renewal. They worked with calligrapher Molly Gilbane to achieve the soft, Old-World look. "Her calligraphy reminds me of a time when people wrote with quill pens," says Evan.
A Nod to the Past
The couple knew they wanted to pay homage to their wedding, and they did so by having their photographer incorporate several of their original big-day photos into their portraits.
Dogwood flowers were featured throughout their entire fête—and for good reason. "They are the state flower of Virginia, so it was highly symbolic of the life we have built together," explains Evan.
Dressed in Gold
Since Evan had already worn the quintessential white wedding dress ("It was a traditional white number with a sweetheart neckline and slight ball gown feel," she recalls of the ensemble), she decided to switch it up this time around. She slipped into a gold long-sleeved gown from Pretty Little Thing. This choice, however, wasn't entirely of her own choosing. "Believe it or not, this is something else that I let Kir Tuben, our photographer, and Sarah Peterson, our planner, weigh in on," she explains. "I knew I wanted something entirely different from my wedding dress—and also envisioned gold. I didn't want to feel like a bride, per se, but definitely special."
White wasn't totally absent during the vow renewal, though. Evan asked her guests to wear cream, instead. "I thought it would be nice because I wasn't in white myself!" she says.
Evan has a penchant for anything Old-World, so she chose to accessorize with various family heirlooms. The couple also decided against upgrading her engagement ring or their respective wedding bands: "I am also somewhat of a romantic and love original vintage touches—so we exchanged the same rings we used on our wedding day."
Tied with a Bow
On her feet, Evan wore ribbon-tied heels with jeweled accents from Bella Belle.
Fit for a Queen
To polish off her ensemble, Evan donned a regal gold crown—placed underneath a BHLDN veil—for her vow renewal portraits. "The headpiece was just a fun experiment! Crowns have become très chic on the wedding scene lately, so I wanted to give it a try," she says of the fashion choice. Evan later removed the veil for her walk down the aisle. "I only wanted it for a few snaps—I wanted to avoid feeling too 'bridal.'"
A Tux with History
Dustin owned the tux that he wore during the service ("He could not have been more excited to have a reason to wear it!" says Evan). As for his best accessory? His socks, which had their kids' faces on them.
A Mini Princess
The couple's daughter, Sloane, served as their flower girl; she wore what she calls a beautiful "spinning dress" ("One that fluffs up as you spin," Evan explains) and a flower crown courtesy of The Rosy Posy.
Their one-year-old son, Owen, wore a miniature tux for the ceremony—just like his Dad. Evan sourced both children's looks on Amazon.
A Family Affair
Evan walked down the aisle with her daughter by her side; Etta James played quietly on a tiny speaker during the processional and short, non-religious service, which was officiated by Sarah. "There were no readings, but we read written vows to one another," recalls Evan. "Owen was fussing most of the time, so Dustin actually had to pick him up halfway through! It was perfect for us."
Reestablishing their vows in front of their children was a defining part of the day, explains Evan. "Sloane and Owen were only a germ of an idea when we got married, so having the two most important people in our lives celebrate our love is something unimaginably cool. I think it's also great for them to see their parents enjoying life together."
A Romantic Lunch for Two
Post-ceremony, the duo's vendors offered to watch Sloane and Owen so that Evan and Dustin could enjoy a private lunch together.
Hold the Sweets
To take the stress off of Evan, the duo chose not to bake a cake or anything sweet for the renewal. Instead, they noshed on light bites, like fresh grapes and berries.
Pop the Bubbly
They did, however, celebrate with some bubbly—an entire tower's worth of Champagne, in fact!
A Family First Dance
The couple didn't plan any official dances, but did bust some moves with their kids. "They like Disney music so we put on some kiddo tunes and jammed out," says Evan. "It was exactly how I thought that part of the day would go."
As for the couple's best marriage advice for newlyweds just starting out? "Marriage is tough. It sounds so cliché, but it really does take a lot of work and good communication to make a marriage work. It's not always going to be an easy road, but that's part of the fun!" says Evan. "But if you're not having fun, you're doing it wrong," Dustin adds.
Photography, Kir Tuben
Venue, Morais Winery
Event planning, Sincerely Pete Events
Florals, The Rosy Posy
Beauty, Carla Pressley
Calligraphy & Stationery, Alchemy Calligraphy
Tabletop goods, Anthropologie
Bride's gown, Pretty Little Thing
Children's attire, Amazon
Film Lab, Photovision