I am so honored that you stopped by today! For me, life is one big adventure and the more trips I take around the sun the more I find the beauty in each part of the journey. Whether you are blissfully engaged, happily married, preparing to bring forth new life, or find yourself rekindling the spark, we want to hear from you. It is our mission to serve and support couples no matter what stage of life you are in.
Beyond the Vows began just a little over two years ago, but has made a huge impact in just the four events we have held since then. What started out as a calling felt by myself and Hannah of Sparrow and Lace Photography to invest in couples beyond the wedding day, grew into providing an experience where they can come take a break from the busyness of life in a safe and relaxed space. A place where they can focus on themselves and their marriage no matter what season they may find themselves in.
With each Beyond the Vows event, we have learned so much about love, life, and the ebbs and flows of what it is to be married. We have been able to touch couples who were struggling with their relationship and were giving it one more try to make it work. We have celebrated with a couple married for 35 years and entering an exciting new phase of life. We’ve been able to encourage newly married couples as they navigate the early years. We have provided priceless keepsakes for a couple that was preparing to say goodbye to one another as cancer was taking over his body. We have shed tears for a couple as they tried over and over again to conceive and were lead to the journey of adoption. And now we pray for them as they continue to wait for God to place a child in their path.
Yes, you can guarantee there will be delicious food. Yes, you can guarantee you will be leaving with our new Beyond the Vows Monthly Marriage Challenge book. And yes, there will definitely be a photo session involved. But the most important detail we provide is the overall therapeutic experience, love, and support. We are genuinely interested and invested in each couple that walks through that door. We want to know how you met. When did you first know you were in love. How can we pray for you. How can we celebrate with you. Ultimately, what can we do to serve you and your marriage in the best way possible.
The other week we hosted several couples for Beyond the Vows at the relaxing River Nook Airbnb in Lancaster, Pennsylvania. Located right along a peaceful stream, the home was cozy, warm, and inviting sprinkled with a few unique pieces (check out the hanging bed!). The property itself was beautiful with large trees, fire pit, beach area, and tree swings.
We welcomed each couple and took some time to either get to know them better or catch up with them over food and drinks. Then we transitioned into the session part of the day. With each session we try to get you connecting on a deeper level. We start out light and simple. Perhaps in an embrace or holding hands synchronizing your breathing. And with each push of the camera button we talk you through carefully curated healing and inspiring prompts and direction. By the end of your session it is our hope that you feel that much closer to your spouse. But ultimately your experience isn’t over yet.
This year’s Beyond the Vows event was so heartwarming. Couples stayed long after their sessions and joined us all in conversation around the charcuterie board. Or hung out in the living room where they pulled questions from a bowl that ignited unique conversation. Or they ventured down to the water and simply took in the peacefulness that it provided. Others continued their date day as they headed off to dinner or made their way home for a date night in. It is always our hope and prayer that as each couple leaves, we have reignited their passion and inspired their spark.
In the coming weeks I will be sharing exactly what Beyond the Vows means to me. If you want to learn more or become part of the movement, check out www.beyondthevows.org and follow along with us on Instagram!
This past Sunday was an experience I will never forget. When Hannah and I first dreamed up Beyond the Vows we imagined a day of fun sessions where couples could take a break from the busyness of day to day life and focus on one another. As we completed our first two events our hearts soared with ideas and this spring we were blessed to be joined by several wonderful people who gladly joined the movement and gave of their time, talents, and support. And the result of months of planning was better than we could have ever imagined.
The lovely ladies at The Farm at Eagles Ridge were gracious hosts and we could not have asked for more perfect weather. We literally were all bouncing in our seats with excitement as we pulled in the driveway and immediately set out to begin working on creating the vision we had for our couples to experience as they joined us that day. Betsy and Paige are the kindest souls who opened their farm house and allowed us to use it as if it were our own. It was so reassuring to know that they supported this movement we feel so strongly about. I even had the chance to meet the entire family behind this beautiful farm as they were kindly putting “The Notebook Boat” in the pond for us to use!
As the couples arrived they were welcomed by our dream team and led off to a quiet space where they could begin to reflect privately on their feelings for their spouse by writing a love note to be later read during the session. And while one spouse wrote, the other got to indulge in yummy treats and cool drinks while sitting in the dining nook overlooking the immaculately landscaped property. Once the love letters were complete, we ventured outside through the blooming magnolia trees, budding weeping willows, and down by the pond. As we roamed the property taking photographs of each couple, we provided an experience to get them to connect on a deeper level. Some moments included fun prompts and exercises while others got them thinking back to that moment they first fell in love.
These sessions aren’t just about capturing beautiful photographs. They are therapeutic. They bring out those early butterflies that made you giggle when your first caught each other’s eyes in a crowded room. They take you back through time to memories you may have forgotten about that you once cherished so deeply. They may even stir strong emotions that will cause a lump in your throat and tears in your eyes. These sessions are created with you and your spouse in mind to rekindle, revive, remember, and renew.
And as each session came to a close the couples stayed to spend more time with one another whether that was sharing a drink on the back patio or going for a walk. Others also journeyed to downtown Lancaster to some of the fantastic restaurants and shops. All in all, it was a day in which each couple left feeling more deeply connected to their spouse and that left our hearts full. And as we hugged goodbye with each sweet couple we sent them with a little thank you gift that included The Navigator’s Council; a fantastic marriage workbook that myself and Hannah can attest to its greatness as we both use it with our husbands. It is our hope that each couple’s experience reignites their passion and drive to continue to invest in their marriages far beyond our event.
As a wedding photographer I get the honor of witnessing the beginning of so many beautiful unions and the journey of marriage that they set out on. But with that I kept finding myself wanting more. More time with these wonderful souls who were inviting me into their lives. More opportunities to cheer them on throughout their adventures and to be able to offer a shoulder to cry on when they needed it. I was making such wonderful relationships with these people, but after the wedding day it was hard to keep in touch.
When Hannah and I got together to plan our next beauty event she said to me that she, too, had something weighing on her heart. She just couldn’t pin point it, but she knew she wanted more from the relationships she was making, as well. That day we brainstormed over coffee and Beyond the Vows was born. If we wanted more, than why not create something that allowed us to do that? We held our first event in the spring of 2017 at the gorgeous Historic Shady Lane and due to its success we immediately started planning one for the fall at the stunning Linwood Estate. We were welcoming couples whose weddings we had photographed. We were welcoming couples we had never met before. We were welcoming newlyweds and those who had been celebrating 30+ years together. We were welcoming couples attending to honor one another and those looking to foster a new path in their journey. And it was amazing.
It truly is hard to put into words what Beyond the Vows means to me. I love all things love and getting to invest in someone’s marriage beyond the wedding day is the ultimate reward.
A huge thank you to Hannah for believing in me, collaborating with me, and for pushing me. I wouldn’t want to do this with anyone else! And to our amazing dream team of beautifully talented ladies, Lilly, Brooke, and Bri, for your organization, your creative ideas, and your giving hearts. Thank you to the amazing venues for hosting an event that was so new, but they had faith in us and cheering us on in the process. Lastly, thank you to all of the remarkable couples who have joined us over the last year. From the bottom of my heart, it has truly been an honor to be a part of your marriage journey and to help you invest in one another. Thank you for going beyond the vows with us.
We want you to remember WHY you chose to vow your life to another, through good + bad, through mountains, through valleys. Through the difficulties that life throws your way, and through all of the joys that it brings. Through beautiful children, through life-altering loss, through birthdays, through fights, through seasons of uncertainty, through fits of laughter, through tender forehead kisses.
We invite you to come experience a photography session that will allow you to spend quiet time with your spouse, and remember why it was you said those wedding vows in the first place. We want you to remember holding hands, nervously speaking those words in front of your closest family and friends, as you pledged your lives to each other. We want you to feel those same butterflies in your stomach, the same tingles down your spine as you hear the words “husband and wife.”
These sessions aren’t about us. They aren’t about fancy hair + makeup.
They are about you. They are about your marriage.
We invite you to come as you are, no matter what season of life you’re in, and celebrate your marriage.
REKINDLE. REVIVE. REMEMBER. RENEW.
Event Collaboration | Sparrow & Lace
Venue | Linwood Estate