If You Could Do It All Over Again, What Would You Do Differently? – The Vowel Renewal Special.
How many times have you asked yourself this question? How would you answer if you were asked this about your wedding day? Would you still have seated your bestie next to his worst-ie, maybe you would have scrapped the scandalous speeches, ran away to a tropical paradise and eloped, or poured more money into the bar and less on the DJ? Because as it turns out, what was the best day of your life could have been just a little bit better…
What is a Vowel Renewal?
Wedding-do overs, most popularly known as ‘vowel renewals’ have soared in popularity over the last 5-10 years. Celebrity power couples like Beyoncé & Jay-Z, Kim & Kanye and Sharon & Ozzie have all paved the way to dreamy re-nups and have proven that not all vowel renewals come in the same sizes regardless of budget. From Cardiff to California, after 35 strong years or 5 rocky ones, vowel renewals are most commonly celebrated to reaffirm the commitment you made to each other the first time you said ‘I do!’.
Why Do Couples have Vowel Renewals?
Vowel Renewals popularly happen to mark milestone anniversaries and unlike a traditional wedding, there is no list of rules or expectations with a vowel renewal. Some couples find that they’re finally able to have the wedding of their dreams their finances wouldn’t allow for the first time around, some vowel renewals have happened as a final goodbye in a hospice or by a bedside and others are an attempt at an apology for an indiscretion (ahem… we’re talking about you, Ozzie).
Today we talk to Dubai based expat, Charlotte Alexander, most popularly known for her blog @farfromfat126 where she shares her journey on losing 130lbs, who recently had her own vowel renewal in Las Vegas with her husband of ten years, Mark.
What can you tell us about your first wedding day with Mark, what had you wished that you’d done differently (if at all)?
Our first wedding was also set in Las Vegas and was surrounded by our family and friends, but looking back I feel like I wasted so much time worrying about every detail to the point where I couldn’t enjoy our big day as I should have. I was also 61kgs heavier than I am now – I’ve never looked at my wedding photos and felt beautiful, even on the day I was so self-conscious and it took away a lot of the enjoyment. Size and weight is just a number, but I wasn’t happy in my skin.
Was the new body and happier Charlotte the main reason for your vowel renewal – who initiated the idea?
Actually no, we had already planned our summer holiday in the States when we realized that we would be there for our 10th wedding anniversary. My husband knows that Id always wanted wedding photos to look back on and feel great about and so, he took it upon himself to re-propose.
Wow! A man that listens, takes notice and makes decisions – we see why he’s a keeper ;) Tell us more! We want all the details.
We had a Thursday ‘date night’ planned at a restaurant called Teatros, which was the first restaurant he ever took me to when we met 10 years prior in Dubai. We then continued on to the first bar we went to, and then the first hotel we’d stayed in. But what followed I’d had no idea about, I didn’t even have an overnight bag! When we got in the room, he asked me to marry him all over again and pulled a ring from under the pillow. A lot happens in 10 years of marriage, good and bad and I couldn’t think of a more beautiful way to celebrate that we are stronger together.
How long did the whole thing take to organise, and did you use a wedding planner?
No wedding planner this time around and we had it all sorted within just 3 days!
So, what did you manage in just 3 days of wedding planning?
Although the location and general idea of the vowel renewal shared a lot of similarities to our first wedding, I had made a conscious effort to change everything else and I wasn’t going to make the same mistake as last time by spending all of my time stressing, I wanted to enjoy every moment. As I’d only been given a week or so to plan, I decided to have fun with it and let him book the venue – We renewed our vowels at ‘Elvis at the Little White Chapel’, anyone was welcome, but with the new travel restrictions it ended up as an intimate celebration with 10 of us in total. All I had to do was turn up and look pretty!
Well you certainly nailed your task, you looked gorgeous and we really fell in love with your bridal attire. Who designed your outfits and what inspired your choices?
I spent the entire week that I had been given to plan, just fretting over the dress. I had thought about hiring a dress in Las Vegas, but I was worried I’d turn up to find nothing. I put a few posts out on the Social Media communities I’m a part and a lovely lady, who owned a bridal shop, responded saying that she had the perfect dress for me! I had nothing to lose so I went to Hom Bridal and it was love at first sight. It was as if the dress had been made for me – It was simple but a little glitzy and it fitted like a glove. I instantly felt overwhelmed with emotion, people talk about “the dress moment” and now I finally knew what they’d meant… My dress found me.
Had you set a budget for the vowel renewal and if so, did you manage to stick to it?
We didn’t set ourselves a budget to be very honest, as we knew it wasn’t going to break the bank as this time round was all about keeping it simple. The only area I went a little extravagant on was the photographer! I’ve no regrets though, as I finally have the wedding photos I can’t stop looking at.
What were the best parts about organising your vowel renewal?
I didn’t have the money worries I’d had the first time round; it wasn’t about impressing or pleasing everyone else, it was about us and the skin I finally felt good in.
What were the worst parts about organising your vowel renewal?
Well, aside from having close to no real time to prepare, I also had the unfortunate luck of spending the two weeks prior in self-isolation, unwell with COVID. I was so worried that I wouldn’t be well enough to travel, or that the rules would suddenly change (as they now do) and perhaps it would be cancelled. It was also upsetting that my parents and sister were unable to travel from the UK, as it was in lockdown. However, that was what was meant to be and everything else just fell into place, almost as if by a miracle.
What were your friends and family’s reaction when you first told them about the vowel renewal?
I initially thought we’d be laughed at to be honest, but everybody was so supportive and understood why we wanted to do it. My kids were ecstatic they could be part of it – My 6yr old son gave me away and my daughter was my bridesmaid.
So then, the big question – Why a vowel renewal and not a 2nd honeymoon or trip of a lifetime etc.?
We were already on the trip of a lifetime and what better way to add to that than to remarry the love of my life all over again with my children. That’s what dreams are made of and a memory none of us will ever forget.
That’s really beautiful! And finally… Any top tips for couples in the UAE planning their vowel renewal?
Do you! It’s your time to be selfish. It’s not about others needs, budgets or opinions, it’s all about what you want.
Would you consider a vowel renewal and if so, what would it look like – In your back yard like Kim & Kanye, or in Vegas like Charlotte & The Osbournes; with a brand-new dress, or back in the original white number you waked down the aisle in years before? What Charlotte and Mark have proven, is that you don’t need a lot of money, a lot of guests or a lot of time to make a vowel renewal special – in fact, all you need is each other and a lot of love.