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  • Once Upon A Vow

Our Parents' Surprise 40th Wedding Anniversary Vow Renewal

Photography: Tanya Isaeva Photography • Officiants: Once Upon A Vow

Event Planner: Together Event Planning • Florals: Rosewood Floral Co.

Venue: Studio 225 BK • Catering: Surfish Bistro • Earrings: Alyson Nicole

Custom Suit: Black Lapel • Violinist: Elya Syani

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These are our cute AF parents! And on April 28th 2018, we celebrated their 40th wedding anniversary with a surprise wedding vow renewal.

This was something we wanted to do for our parents for quite some time and for many reasons. First, we feel incredibly lucky to have been born with two supportive, loving parents who we actually like. We know that's a rarity. Second, our parents' marriage has always been a sort of love inspiration for us growing up and well into our adult lives. Not because their marriage was perfect, because it wasn't. But because we learned that growth, forgiveness, patience, and acceptance among other shared values are necessary to moving through hard times.

Our parents fought and made-up in front of us, showed their annoyance and their cute cuddly sides so we learned early on that in marriage there will be arguments, challenges, missteps, and low points. However, that doesn't negate or diminish the good stuff, like the strengthened partnership, the little wins, the luck, and the sweet, fun moments in between. We learned the importance of appreciation, of not taking your partner for granted, of learning and growing from every experience.

So when their 40th wedding anniversary was coming up, we knew we had to do something to honor their marriage of four decades. We had to throw a shindig! But we didn't want them to fret over any detail or worry about anything so we decided not to tell them. We made it a surprise!

HOW? Well, we lied lots! We told our parents that one of our photographer friends would take family photos of the four of us all dolled up, because we NEVER got professional photos taken of ourselves. LIKE EVER, so we convinced them that it would be a fun way to commemorate the day. (Plus, because they're modest people and didn't want us to gush over them, we told them this would be a great opportunity to get head shots for our website.) They were sold! Afterwards, we told them, we would go to brunch nearby at some fancy non-existent spot so we wouldn't feel out of place.

The fancy spot was a photographer studio called Studio 225BK in Sunset Park, which is a loft-type space we rented out because of this cool deck overlooking residential Brooklyn. Perfect for the ceremony, we thought. Our larger family of cousins and the best event planner ever, Justine of Together Events decorated the space and pulled everything together while we had our photos taken by the funny and talented Tanya Isaeva, who our parents were ready to adopt.

Our closest family and friends quietly waited on the deck while we walked our parents into the space. It was clearly decked out for a party and no one was sitting down indoors so they were confused by this "restaurant" and had an inkling that something going on.

We told them right before we walked them down the aisle that they were getting married again and we would officiate it. We walked down with one parent each and held onto them as they went through a myriad of emotions. Our parents were surprised! SUCCESS! They cried which, of course, set us off into tears ourselves. But we got through it, tears and all.

We wrote a short and sweet bilingual vow renewal, each of us alternating between us in Spanish and English, the way we typically speak to each other anyhow.

Bilingual Excerpt of Our Parents' Vow Renewal Love Story:

Karla: 40 años! Fueron niños cuando se conocieron y cuando se enamoraron.

Dani: Not everyone was supportive of your marriage. Probably because you were so young and different. But luckily you were also stubborn and in love.

Karla: Sin mucho apoyo familiar, hicieron una vida juntos sabiendo que podrían contar con ustedes mismos y ya que yo estaba en camino (put finger to my lips), tenian una razón más para empujar y hacer sus sueños una realidad.

Dani: It wasn’t easy from the start. Papi era un jodido with a terrible temper and Mami era una loquita with incredible patience.

Karla: But in your differences, you both were BRAVE and you had FAITH in each other’s strengths. You lifted each other up and because you chose to be each other’s number one cheerleaders, you lifted us and an entire generation of jodidos.

Dani: And loquitas! You were daring dreamers that took action; mami leading and papi unable to wait - following in her footsteps. Both working hard and not taking this opportunity for granted.

Karla: Y solos tomaron la decisión de quedarse y en si marcaron el comienzo de una nueva vida - crearon un nuevo futuro que incluyen ahora los sueños de generaciones por venir en este país.

Dani: Your dreams were always about family; not just the 4 of us either.

Karla: Pero nosotros, tus hijas, el pedacito.

Dani: Y su piojito.

Karla: Estamos aquí agradecidas por todo lo que nos dan.

Dani: Estamos aqui desarrollando nuestros sueños

Karla: Y aprendiendo como levantarnos de nuevo después de una caida dolorosa

Dani: Estamos aqui juntas

Karla: Siempre juntas

Dani: Con ustedes en nuestros corazones

Karla: Y en nuestras venas

Dani: Tratando de siempre empujar hacia adelante

Karla: Y reconociendo siempre que sin ustedes, no seríamos las mismas

Dani: So, thank you Mami y Papi for being our inspiration. . .

Karla: and setting the bar high!

BOTH: We love you!

Needless to say, there was not one dry eye in the house, including ours! It was such a gift to see our parents celebrated for the love they share. Not just the love they share between each other but the love they've shared with us all, our extended family and communities in the states and in Peru.

We count ourselves incredibly lucky to be their daughters and are so grateful to have had the opportunity to create this moment for the best parents in the world! Ours.

If you're planning a surprise vow renewal for your folks, please share with us! We'd love to experience the love-filled magic with you.


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