We all have a bucket list right? You have one, don’t you? If not, at least one place in the world you want to see in your lifetime, whether you’re an avid traveler or not. As a travel writer, I have a very long bucket list and am trying my best to see as much of it as I can.
Paris has been on that list since the beginning. When an opportunity was presented to go to Paris, even though it was at a time where we didn’t think we could afford to go, we said yes! This also brought up my thoughts of renewing my wedding vows. Married 30 years, our wedding day was struck with tragedy. It’s been a dream all of these years to renew my vows, have wedding pictures I love to look at and have that special day. First, I thought, 10 year anniversary, perfect time to renew vows with family and friends all around. My sister-in-law announced her wedding date-4 days after my anniversary. That wasn’t going to work.
20th anniversary, we were in Rome, sitting on the top of the Gladiator Hotel with a view of the Colosseum right across from us having dinner. Yes, Italy would have been a great place to renew our vows but just three weeks before the trip, I lost my mom to Cancer. It wasn’t the right time. So, last year when we celebrated our 30th and I had nothing planned I pretty much gave up on renewing our vows but when the opportunity to go to Paris arose, the urge to renew my vows came back with a vengeance. “But we will be with strangers and no family,” my husband said. We were traveling with an old friend of mine and her husband and Tom had never met them and they were inviting a few other couples so we would all be sharing this beautiful Parisian 3-story flat.
“No, we will renew our vows with just my friend and her husband, simple,” I promised. The thing that closed the deal was that he didn’t have to write vows. So, it was set, we were going to Paris and we would renew our vows. I had 2 weeks to prepare for the trip, get work done for the time we would be gone and to find a dress, the dress I wanted to wear to renew my vows.
Amazingly, I found it and carried it to Paris with me. Part of the trip didn’t go as planned, but what does? The last 4 days were wonderful. We made new friends, we celebrated my husbands birthday, visited the famous Paris flea market, saw the Eiffel Tower sparkling from our bedroom window, perused museums looking at Renoir’s and Monet’s, all the while the weather was bitterly cold. Highs never got out of the mid thirties and every night the lows were low 20’s.
We had decided to renew our vows at the flat as it was beautiful and had great places for photos. With an interruption that threatened to cancel our vows, one of our new friends encouraged us to go with her to the Eiffel Tower and renew our vows there. We had taken all of the photos in the flat. No, that was insane. It was the coldest day yet, the high was in the 20’s!
She gently pushed us and off we went with layer upon layer of clothing on including fleece-lined tights, boots, coat, hat, gloves and scarf with that beautiful dress, shoes, a beautiful blue vintage headpiece with a veil and Tom’s suit jacket, bow-tie and hat. Yes, she convinced us to stand in line after line of security, buying tickets, waiting for elevators. We finally made it to the first floor where we thought there was a bar. A bar to them was less than a snack bar. I thought it wouldn’t happen. There was a gift store across from the snack bar with beautiful light coming in and a perfect little corner.
Off we went to the bathroom to change our clothes. Do you know how small the water closets are? I have no idea how I got all those layers of clothes off, put that dress and heels on and shoved all my clothes into my backpack but I did it.
When I walked out, there was excitement in the air, everyone stopped to look at me and began to smile and follow me. My husband had the same experience as he emerged in his suit jacket and 1920’s style hat and bow-tie. Our friend had the corner set up perfectly, she even had 2 glasses of champagne waiting for us for after our vows.
As people, strangers from around the world, gathered around us, my husband began reading the Wedding Poem that was read on our wedding day. I had written vows that I wanted to say to him. When we finished, the crowd clapped and cheered. We felt so much love from these total strangers! The very thing my husband feared, renewing our vows in front of strangers, well it was magical!
I thought about a separate video of our vows-it’s taken on an i-phone and our friend twisted and turned to stay focused on us as there were little ones that wanted to get pictures with us, just an i-phone for all of it. I decided to put our entire trip in one video so I hope you will watch it and I hope you will find a way to do at least one thing on your bucket list and when you think it isn’t possible to move forward, do it anyway!