I first met Ian + Stephen over 5 years ago, when our activist paths crossed. Back then they shared their story with me – that in 2003, with the absence of marriage equality in Ohio, they ran off to Canada to get eloped on July 4. Their friends and family longed to celebrate with them, and they hoped to plan something in the states after marriage equality became a reality.
Fast-forward to 2018, with their 15 year anniversary and marriage equality a reality across the US, Ian and Stephen decided to plan a 15 year old vow renewal! They planned a destination celebration on July 4, their 15 year anniversary to the day. About 40 of their closest friends and family made the trip to Nemacolin Resort in the mountains of southwest Pennsylvania to celebrate with them!
The two day affair began the evening before, with a ceremony rehearsal and a garden party to follow. A huge storm rained out their outdoor party plans, but gave way to a gorgeous double rainbow that made for some awesome portraits! Guests enjoyed heavy apps, drinks and a Jeni’s ice cream sundae bar while overlooking the property and one of the most vibrant rainbows I’ve ever seen.
The next day – the big day – began with mingling and lounging by the infinity pool in the early afternoon. Later in the afternoon, the events began with the couple getting ready together, and then joining their family for portraits. Stephen and Ian, arriving on golf carts, renewed their vows in a ceremony in front of a heart sculpture, and against the mountains in the distance.
Then we explored the property for portraits – went dancing in the mountains, and for a ride in a Rolls Royce! The property at Nemacolin is absolutely gorgeous and I could have photographed there all day!
The celebration continued with dinner, toasts, cake cutting, and holiday fireworks and sparklers! It was an honor to capture Stephen and Ian’s 15 year vow renewal, thank you so much for having me!