A wedding vow renewal ceremony is an opportunity for married couples to demonstrate that the vows they took, often many years previously, hold true to the present day. Sometimes it’s a way of marking a significant anniversary, perhaps to celebrate the wedding they never had or to acknowledge coming through one of life’s challenges together.
Andrew and Annie Leaver, devoted husband and wife from Scotland, celebrated their Wedding Renewal Day on 25th October 2014 at Low Wood Bay, exactly 25 years after their wedding date and as part of their Silver Wedding Anniversary celebrations. Andrew has had a long career in hospitality, so it was important they found somewhere that ticked some very exacting standards.
Tell us about your wedding day in 1989?
We were married in Morpeth, Northumberland, and we planned and organised it all ourselves. It was a fairly traditional wedding church service with full nuptial mass and a champagne raw silk ‘1980’s style dress, 5 bridesmaids all in raw silk lemon ballerina length 80’s dresses and one 4 year old wee boy in grey tails as our page boy.
Andrew had a best man and a best woman and even she was in grey tails!
We had a lovely vintage wedding car which, unbeknown to us was double booked!
Our wedding breakfast was very traditional with 4 courses, duff speeches and of course our future stretching before us as a great unknown adventure.
How did your Renewal Day differ?
In every way! We deliberately went out of our way to make it different, not that we didn’t love our wedding day, but we just wanted an intimate celebration with our very close family and friends.
We did have a church service at the Catholic Church in Ambleside and that was very important to us. But of course we drove to the church together and walked down the aisle arm in arm. It was great to have our original bridesmaid in attendance again, but one big difference was our daughter, Bethany, was also one of our bridesmaids along with our niece Surri. Sarah was 9 the first time round, 34 this time with 2 children of her own though this was an ‘adult only’ celebration so she and husband Neil took the opportunity to have a ‘second honeymoon’ themselves!
This time around we were able to have history boards of some of the special moments from our life together, Bethany’s baby and growing up years and lots of other nostalgic moments.
At our first wedding we shared Holy Communion and this time round Father Dorgan led bidding prayers and communion.
Speeches this time round, Andrew had everyone in ‘stitches’: ‘the Two Andy’s’, ‘Mr and Mrs’ and the presentation of our life together was outstanding.
How did you feel this time around?
Surprisingly, we were both very nervous and certainly more emotional. When you have lived together for 25 years, with all of its joys and challenges and come through stronger and are still ‘best friends’, it is extremely emotional to renew vows that will take you through the next chapters of life.
Annie had just completed a long recuperation from a serious back operation which made the day even more poignant. Despite still being in a bit of pain, she was determined to wear the heels that went with her dress – which speaks volumes about the determination which got her through her operation and post-op rehabilitation.
Choosing a the right venue?
Our honeymoon, 25 years ago, was spent in Windermere so we do have fond memories of the Lake District and we’ve visited frequently over the years. Low Wood Bay is a great central location for people coming from north and south and of course the view over the lake is second to none. We visited a number of other hotels in the area but we just felt the ambience suited our eclectic mix of guests perfectly.
You could say we are hotel ‘snobs’ especially as Andrew works at a renowned Leading Hotel of the World so we have been fortunate to stay in some beautiful exclusive properties over the years. Quality and personalised service is paramount so our expectations are ‘high’ probably higher than most. We were therefore delighted to present the Low Wood Bay team members with a small gift of our appreciation because they made our day so special and they loved our speeches!
The wedding team at Low Wood Bay wish Andrew and Annie every best wish for the next 25 years and look forward to seeing them again on one of their regular holidays in the Lake District.