Cliffside Surprise Vow Renewal

Well, folks. Grab your tissues.

Kelly approached me a few months ago with a photographer’s dream of an idea. His ten year anniversary with wife, Kayla, was approaching, and he wanted to somehow surprise her with a secret renewal of vows. I was on board before he could even finish his first sentence and let me tell ya, these wheels were a’turning. We hatched a secret plan as the big day approached and all of the details fell into place by showtime.

Just in case she had had any suspicions of our plan, we made several unnecessary stops to drive in the point that they were just doing a styled shoot for purely selfish reasons on my behalf (I told her I wanted her to model for a stylized bridal session in a gorgeous white, flowy dress on a cliff for my ‘portfolio’).  The last stop was an ocean-side cliff where we spent enough time to get breathtaking shots while allowing our secret guests and Kayla and Kelly’s two young sons to set up a “ceremony site” on the beach below the cliff.  After shooting for quite sometime, we descended the cliff and Kayla’s realization set in when we finally made it to the sand.

As a wedding photographer, I get to witness many beautiful moments. None, however, had me prepared for this one. Kelly walked his wife down the aisle, got down on his knee (once more), and asked her if she’d marry him for another ten years. I think it’s safe to say she responded (as did we all) with a giant, resounding YES.

—> P.S. Make sure you scroll all the way to the bottom to hear Kelly’s story. 


The moment she realized our secret plan.The moment she realized our secret plan.

The moment she realized our secret plan.

In Kelly’s words…

“It all started ten years ago at our wedding, when I learned the importance of a good photographer who knows how to use the equipment they carry. Our wedding day was wonderful, like it should be; friends and family gathering, laughing, making and sharing memories. Although the memories will last a lifetime in our minds, the photos however, lacked incredibly.

The lady who took them meant well and had great intentions. What she lacked was good equipment and a good eye behind the lens. It has always been a point of contention for my wife, who loved to talk about the wedding day, but the conversations would inevitably turn to the photography and the product of it. The photos lacked precision, timing, proper lighting, and over all quality.

Enter Vanessa Lynne Photography, ten years after our wedding, and none too late. We had seen the quality of Vanessa’s work first hand, and knew that she could deliver a product anyone would be proud to showcase. I had a plan to do a surprise renewal of vows for our ten year anniversary, and I knew Vanessa HAD to be the one to capture our (2nd) special day in a way that only she could accomplish. We put our heads together and devised a plan to surprise my wife in a way she would never expect. I had the vision, but Vanessa being the professional that she is, gave life to my vision in a way that I never could have. We decided that Vanessa was to “find someone who was adventurous and wanted to do an outdoor beach/wedding themed shoot, on the beautiful coast of California.” Of course my wife was more than happy to oblige and went for it immediately. 

The plan coalesced from there and became a master piece. I, as the “indulging husband” played along dutifully, drove them to the beach, dressed as I was told, stood where I was directed and held the shoes, camera bags and two ladies as we all stumbled our way through the breath taking views that only the California coast line can offer. The day was simply amazing, with the views being out of the world, the “bride” was equally stunning as the emerald green vegetation covered hillside and azure skyline perfectly contrasted and complimented her ivory skin and the creamy chiffon beach gown she was wearing. The afternoon could not have been more perfect as the sun followed it natural tendencies and slowly made its descent towards the skyline, illuminating and accentuating masterfully.
After an hour or more of Vanessa shouting over the wind and directing us with such natural talent, skill, and ease, we slowly made our way back down the cliffside towards the beach, where our friends and two sons were gathered below, waiting with an aisle of lace, candles and rose petals for us to walk down once more, so that we could be together once again in front of close friends and exchange our “I love you’s,” all in front of a camera, with an eye behind it who knows her equipment, knows her goals and what is best, and who is truly chasing her passion.

Thank you, Vanessa.”

July 11, 2017


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