October: Breast Cancer Awareness Month & A Dream Vow Renewal

Britta and Chris Vow Renewal

From pink sports gear on the NFL field to the pink ribbon displayed around town, it’s hard to miss the fact that October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month. And for Celebrations of Love, this month includes a very special Dream Vow Renewal for a lucky couple of mine.

On a cold day in January, after sharing a coffee and explaining my dream for them, we marked down October 17, 2015 as the big day for Britta and Chris’s Dream Vow Renewal.

This couple has been through so much. Over 15 years ago, during their engagement, Britta found out that she had breast cancer. This news is definitely not what a newly engaged couple wants to face during their wedding planning process. Even in the midst of scheduling meetings with venues and vendors around chemo treatments, Britta and Chris grew stronger and closer through their engagement and the chemotherapy. They were married on October 2000.

Britta is a fighter and made it through her battle with flying colors and with Chris supporting her every step of the way. Then, about five years ago, I moved in across the sidewalk from Britta and Chris and learned of their story—of how their engagement was hit with cancer and how they forged through the difficult time together, no matter what was thrown their way. My heart started to melt and it made me think about how I could create something really special for them with the help of my friends in the Kansas City wedding industry.

When I heard that their 15-year anniversary was coming up, I hopped into gear, dreaming up ideas to share with them on how to make this day extraordinary for them. Unfortunately, I got a call in the middle of my planning that Britta was going through chemo again and taking the option of a double mastectomy. Not only that, but the couple was going through a hard time with insurance companies and job loss.

I felt a mixture of sadness and confusion. But after a lot of prayers, I met Britta for coffee and shared my new plan: I wanted to gather my wedding friends together and have them donate what they could to make Britta and Chris’s 15-year anniversary celebration so, so amazing. About that same time, Britta found out that she was in remission and my heart began to jump for joy. We started putting all of the plans into full force!!!

Through all of these ups and downs, Britta and Chris are a true example of how it takes three to be a marriage—you, your spouse and God. There is no doubt that God is truly present and living through them to show other people what His love looks like.

I’m thrilled to share a few pictures from the planning journey and acknowledge all of the incredible wedding friends who donated their time, energy and love to Britta and Chris. A huge, heartfelt THANK YOU to each of you!

Britta and Chris's Vow Renewal

Jason Domingues Photography – Couple's “Engagement” Session

Jolie Artistry – Britta's Couple “Engagement” Session Make-up

Little Yellow Leaf – Full Tailored Collection Invitations Suite

Jacob's Well – Ceremony Venue

Wilderness Clubhouse – Reception Venue

Icing on the Cake – Wedding Cake

Elite Sounds Entertainment – GOBO Light

Top Shelf – Two bartenders

Poppy and Clover – Reception Floral arrangements and Britta’s bridal bouquet/Chris's boutonniere/Bridal party Personals

Spencer Studios Photography – October 17th Vow Renewal Photography

One Block South Catering – Reception Food/Appetizers

Friend of Britta and Chris's – DJ/Emceeing

Amy Castro with Overland Park Ballroom – Couple Dance Lessons


Wedding décor turned First Home décor

Wedding Planning Tips

A lot of people out there will say, “Your wedding is only one day of your life!” and that’s true—your wedding day is only one 24-hour period of time. But you CAN bring items from your wedding day into your new home so that your memories become a part of the space you two share AFTER the big day!

Here are some examples of how I incorporated a few of our wedding items into our home:

1. A standard shadow box can show off several items, creating a pretty presentation or “snapshot” of the overall wedding. To start, it’s a great space to display your invitation and save the date. You can also add some dried flowers from your bouquet or your groom’s boutonniere, your and your husband’s place cards from the reception dinner, fabric from your bridesmaids’ dresses, personalized napkins, the cake topper, and the rehearsal dinner invitation.

The frame of the shadow box I used measures 16 x 20 inches. You can usually find them on sale at Hobby Lobby and Michael’s (or use a coupon!). And while you’re picking up the shadow box frame, be sure to grab a package of pearl-tipped pins because the box typically only includes four.

2. You can incorporate your guest book into the décor of your guest bedroom or even your family room. Our guest book is not actually a book; it’s more of a piece of art that’s hung on a wall. But even if you used a physical book, place it in a space that’s visible to visitors and friends so it becomes a conversation piece. They’ll be able to reminisce on the words they shared in it, or if they are new friends, they’ll enjoy reading through the names and well wishes from your wedding guests.

3. During your wedding cocktail hour or the reception itself, guests may like to take a look at some of your family wedding photos. After all, a number of your guests could have also attended your parents’ weddings! This type of photo display takes people down memory lane and sparks the retelling of fun stories.

If you do decide to share pictures of your families’ weddings on your own big day, purchase frames that you and your fiancé would also like for your home and have the pictures inserted into those frames. Then, all you have to do when you’re unwrapping items after the reception is pop those beautiful framed photos onto a wall or dresser.

4. This is definitely the nerdy “I LOVE WEDDINGS” part of me… but let’s talk about table numbers. These paper pieces typically get tossed after the big day, but that doesn’t have to be the case! When you’re working on your table numbers, make sure to have all of the numbers that make up your wedding date.

For example, if your wedding date is September 5, 2015, then you’d want to have the numbers 9, 5, 20 and 15. Of course, if you only need 10 tables at the reception, you don’t have to place the 15 and 20 on tables; just be sure to hold onto them for after the wedding. That way, you can put them together with the 5 and 9 from the reception and display the date of your wedding in a unique way in your home.

These are just a few ideas to get you thinking! Definitely print and frame some photos of you and your husband, and display your wedding album in an area where you and your guests can flip through it often. Although it’s only one day, your wedding is full of so many moments that truly last a lifetime!


Christine M. Darden