Vow Renewal Ceremony at Hartwick Pines State Park in Grayling, Michigan - Shonda Michelson Photography: Michigan Event Photography
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Vow Renewal Ceremony at Hartwick Pines State Park in Grayling, Michigan

“No matter how hard the past, you can always begin again.” -Buddah

Couple walking through Old Growth Trail Hartwick Pines

Hartwick Pines State Park

While spending their summer here in Michigan (Frankfort), Daniel and Molly chose to have their ceremony at The Chapel of Hartwick Pines in Grayling.  One of Northern Michigan’s most beautiful state parks that they love to visit as a family.  Hartwick Pines is most known for the 49-acre forest of old-growth pines and logging museum and is the perfect location for an intimate vow renewal ceremony.  

After 15 years of marriage, Daniel and Molly declared their love to one another by renewing their vows.  This recommitment ceremony was very special, if not more, than their first wedding. Daniel and Molly had some big stumbling blocks in their marriage and were separated for nearly a year.  After a lot of intense work on themselves as individuals and on their marriage, they began to rebuild their relationship and fell in love with each other all over again.  Daniel and Molly live in Austin, TX.   One evening, they were visiting the Zilker Tree, a beautiful 155 foot lighted Christmas tree made of lights draped from a tower.  It’s Molly’s favorite thing about Austin.  While she was dizzy and laughing from spinning under the beautifully lit tree, Daniel got down on one knee and proposed again in front of their kids and other visitors of the tree.

Daniel and Molly wanted to repeat their vows in front of their three beautiful children and give them the security of their rebuilt family unit.  They originally planned to have a big ceremony with family and friends, but the COVID pandemic canceled their plan for a big event.  Rather than waiting another year to remarry, they chose to have an elopement style vow renewal with only their kids present as guests.  

The Chapel In The Pines

October in Northern Michigan can be pretty chilly, and this was one of those typical days.  Despite the October chill, the sun was shining brightly and it was the perfect day to be remarried.  The Chapel’s darkness emulates the intimacy of the ceremony.  There was only the natural light beaming through the giant cross-shaped window and the adjacent double doors open to the natural beauty that is Hartwick Pines.    

“Give them grace, when they hurt each other, to recognize and acknowledge their fault, and to seek each other’s forgiveness and yours. Make their life together a sign of Christ’s love to this sinful and broken world, that unity may overcome estrangement, forgiveness heal guilt, and joy conquer despair.”  

Family

After the ceremony, we hiked around Hartwick Pines.  While exploring Old Growth Trail, I asked Miles, William, and Peggy to take a few minutes and write a little letter to their parents expressing their feelings about their family being together again.  The joy the kids felt seeing their Mom and Dad recommit to each other was evident.  They were all smiles and full of happiness.  Daniel and Molly seeing the excitement of the three little’s who mean the most to them in the world overfilled their hearts with emotion.  

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