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SETH + VANESSA // scenic adventure vow renewal at Elephant Rocks State Park

Ok, let me catch you up to speed on why this day was the greatest. Earlier in the year, Vanessa and I found our way into each other’s lives through Instagram. (Neither of us remember exactly how, or who initiated so don’t ask ūüėā) However it happened, we instantly connected on that day like two long-time friends reuniting after years apart, and we’ve been cheering on each other’s creative endeavors ever since! In that time, I’ve also gotten to know her husband Seth and am well invested in their lives.

Seth and Vanessa know how to nurture a relationship better than anyone else I know. They’re truly inspiring in their ability to save space for each other, especially with two little ones running around. Vanessa will the first to admit that parenting isn’t easy, and it takes a lot of work to ensure quality time with your partner around the demands of children’s schedules, but they seem to navigate it like pros. Their social media is a steady balance of play dates and couples-only date nights. They event-ize date nights and try to treat every precious parents-night-out with the excitement of newlyweds.

Fast forward several months after walking into each other’s lives, and Seth and Vanessa seize an opportunity to renew their vows. One of their trademark date nights, but with even more intention. I met them to capture this special night away at one of my favorite Midwest nature gems: Elephant Rocks State Park. This unexpected of scenic wonder is one of my favorite spots for couples and elopements because it’s naturally intimate. Once you park, you take a gentle path up through the woods, and in about 15-20 minutes you emerge to find yourself in a place that feels all it’s own. You’re suddenly above the tree tops (so you feel so high) and yet simultaneously dwarfed by massive boulders (that make you feel so small) making this space indescribably unique. The juxtaposition is striking, in a magical way, but the best part is that with the light hike and elevation, you usually find the place quiet and all to yourself.

The night I ventured out with Seth and Vanessa, it proved to be magical indeed. The September air was warm, and the trees that did peak out from behind the larger-than-life rocks were still green in their foliage. Seth and Vanessa dressed the part, picked up a simple bouquet from Trader Joe’s (always a good choice for flowers!) and got ready together with their final accessories.

We picked a spot that was kissed by the setting sun where Seth and Vanessa stood and exchanged a few new vows for each other they had pre-written in their shared journal. It was a sweet gesture to renew promises between themselves with a few years of marriage and lessons learned to reflect on. After their vows we took a few moments to capture some romantic posed pictures together before starting the journey back home anew.