Renewing Our Vows

Tony and I have been wanting to renew our wedding vows for a while. Partly because we’re just kind of romantics that way. Partly because we’ve been married for quite a while now, and been through a lot, and accomplished amazing things together. And partly because we were really uber Mormon when we got married, and now we’re, well, not.

When I found out last year that it’s a Dutch tradition to celebrate anniversary #12.5 (half of 25), I thought that would be perfect. We had it all planned out: we’d send the kids to the US to visit their grandparents, and meanwhile Tony and I would hike the West Highland Way in Scotland, and do a romantic vow renewal in some picturesque corner of the Scottish Highlands. The fact that in Victorian novels Scotland is the place you run away to when you want to elope made it all the more romantic. 

Unfortunately, the cost of plane tickets to the US was prohibitive, on top of the fact that we’d just bought a house and weren’t exactly flush with cash. So we settled for spending a long weekend in Vienna and bringing home a puppy. Which was definitely romantic enough to keep us happy for awhile. 

But we still wanted to do the vow renewal somewhere beautiful and have a second honeymoon, as it were. And this year the stars aligned. For one thing, Grammy and Pampa are coming to visit at the beginning of the summer. Then they will be flying the kids home with them for an adventure filled month in California. Axa and Raj are ultra excited for this, and I am excited for them. It will be wonderful for them to get some extended grandparent time with both sets of grandparents, who all conveniently live in the same California town. I’m also fascinated to see how they experience a short repatriation. They think of themselves as “mostly American”. It will be fun for them to go live like Americans for a month. 

For the return journey, they will be flying as unaccompanied minors. This type of stuff requires a whole new level of travel planning skills. Sort of like traveling with pets, I guess, in which I’ve also gotten an initiation over the past year. If your kids are flying alone, first you have to check if the airline you’re considering even allows unaccompanied minors. This appears to be rather random, and not correlated to how nice the airline is, or how many other services they offer. For example, British Airways recently discontinued its unaccompanied minor service. Ages allowed, fees, and rules vary drastically amongst the different airlines that do allow children to fly alone. So what one ends up doing is memorising the rules for a dozen different airlines while simultaneously attempting to find decently priced flights that meet the criteria for each specific airline company in question. It’s a nightmare, and ticket prices end up being several times more expensive than the ones you could find if you were flying as an adult. Which is why last year the plans got scrapped. 

This year, however, pretty much everyone I know who is going back to the US will be flying WOW airlines, which recently started marketing aggressively low fares on transatlantic flights. The only catch? You have to connect in Iceland. And if you’re connecting in Iceland, why not stay a night or two to visit Iceland? This is obviously also a marketing ploy on behalf of the Icelandic tourism board. I can’t decide if it’s more or less clever than Sweden’s idea to list the entire country on AirBnB. 

This all works directly in favour of our plans for a romantic vow renewal. Because like many airlines, WOW will only allow minors to travel on direct flights unaccompanied. Since their transatlantic flights connect in Iceland, that means either Tony or I needs to fly to Iceland to pick them up. So why not both of us? And why not spend a week there by ourselves before collecting the kids? And why not do our long-anticipated vow renewal in one of the most photogenic places on earth?

If you are wondering why you weren’t invited to said vow renewal, don’t worry. It’s going to be just the two of us, and the wild beauty of Iceland. And our photographer, I guess. Actually, I think we’ll do the photos separately, and really just be alone when we do our vow renewal. We are each writing our vows in secret. 

We’re going to get matching wedding bands. Something along these lines:

I did think about wearing my original wedding dress. But we don’t want it to look like an actual wedding. And that dress is more reflective of my tastes and sensibilities at age 23 than now. 

I’ve decided I want to do something different. Dramatically different. Like a strapless red dress, maybe. But with my original flower crown and veil, for continuity. Yesterday I decided to pop over to the by-the-kilo vintage clothes warehouse around the corner that I’d been meaning to visit for awhile. And lo and behold, I found this dress. For five euros!!!

Now I just have to decide whether to hem it up a bit or just buy really high heels. 

Watch out, Iceland. Here we come!

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