On a family trip to Yosemite recently, I thought my parents were celebrating their 15th wedding anniversary with a vow renewal. What I didn’t know was that all of us -- me and my husband, my stepsisters and their husbands and even some of my parents’ closest friends – were all renewing their wedding vows during Yosemite Valley Chapel’s annual vow renewal ceremony that takes place in May each year.
My parents had gone all out for the occasion. They put each of us up, with our families, at the Yosemite Lodge and hosted a brunch at the Awahnee Hotel. We toured the park, taking family photos with a photographer. It was idyllic. However, there was some secrecy surrounding the details of the church service on Sunday. My father was keen to talk about strolls to Yosemite Falls and swimming in the pool at the Yosemite Lodge (as it turned out, it was closed until Memorial Day). But when it came to what was happening during their vow renewal ceremony, mum was the word. In fact, it was not even mentioned. And not a single one of us noticed that, in the program, it noted that this church service was dedicated to the renewal of wedding vows (we were all too busy watching our children) – at least not until the pastor said, “Now, we’d like all the couples to take off their rings.” And then it hit me – we were all there for the same reason – to say “I do” again.