An Inspiring 50th Wedding Anniversary Vow Renewal With Relaxed Vibes on Waikiki Beach, Hawaii

Shuk-Chong and Frederick (Fred) Thomas celebrated a milestone anniversary in November 2022 and decided to mark such a beautiful occasion with a seasid

Shuk-Chong and Frederick (Fred) Thomas celebrated a milestone anniversary in November 2022 and decided to mark such a beautiful occasion with a seaside vow renewal. “After 50 years together, and with COVID on the decline, it seemed like the right time to look back and to look forward. The renewal also served as a reason to make it a bigger event and a family gathering, not just a vacation trip,” Shuk-Chong explains. Originally, the couple married on the day after Thanksgiving in 1972, promising to work together to allow their marriage flourish amid “racial, cultural and personality” differences. In fact, the Supreme Court had only just struck down state laws preventing interracial marriages a few years prior. With travel and communication being difficult and expensive at the time, their first wedding was quite small. Half a century later, with their love and promises going strong, they planned a celebration on Waikiki Beach, Hawaii, for all of their family to enjoy.

“Hawaii, with its unique location and multicultural atmosphere, seemed the perfect place to celebrate the 50 years of marriage between a native of Hong Kong and a native of Indiana,” tells Shuk-Chong. “Our only previous vacation in Hawaii had been decades earlier. It was something of a delayed honeymoon, and we wanted to relive some of that experience.” So, the bride and groom planned an event that differed from their wedding entirely—warmer weather, a more relaxed atmosphere and even more guests than their micro-wedding in Vermont those years ago.

With help from their sons and daughters-in-law, the beach event came together swimmingly. Shuk-Chong wore a traditional pink Tang Suit, gifted to her by her mother prior to their 1972 wedding. Fred donned a light, collared shirt and khaki pants—both ensembles were perfect for their beach ceremony. The bride carried a fanned bouquet of blush dendrobium orchids amidst white blooms and touches of greenery, which coordinated with her suit. “Instead of a ring bearer, our 11-year-old grandson, Oliver, carried our leis for a special touch. As a symbol of love and commitment, we exchanged vows and leis while reminiscing about the challenges and victories of a relationship spanning cultures and countries.”

The pair wrote personal vows but didn’t quite stick to the script. However, they graciously shared these sweet missives with The Knot. Amongst other things, Shuk-Chong’s vows read, in part: “I am grateful for your hard work and, at times, sacrifices as my life-long partner to overcome so many challenges through these years. We worked hand-in-hand together as a team to raise two productive families. Now, in front of our families here at Waikiki Beach, I pledge to you that I will persist in my love for you so we can keep enjoying our simple old days ahead.”

Fred’s vows echoed his wife’s sentiments and added some of his own reminiscing: “50 years ago, I pledged to you my love and commitment, not knowing what the future might bring. It seemed impossible that someone as strong, smart, brave and beautiful as you could really say “yes.” I am proud and grateful that we overcame challenges and succeeded in creating a family, a home, and a life together and that we continue to share the joy of watching our two sons and their families thrive in ways we could never have imagined. Now, at the beginning of our 51st year as husband and wife and in the presence of our family and friends, I renew my vows to you, pledging to love, honor and support you and to continue celebrating with you for the rest of our lives.”

Lastly, husband and wife imparted expert advice to any couple—younger or older—planning their weddings, in addition to some sound guidance on maintaining a happy marriage. “When it comes to wedding planning, we encourage couples to co-create their own culture. Incorporate your traditions instead of following the trends. You can do so in many aspects of your wedding, from fashion to menu choices. Don’t be afraid to create a new and fun tradition. Also, trust the professionals and embrace unexpected situations. Finally, don’t overwhelm yourselves with every detail and decision on the wedding day. Our marriage advice for couples: practice gratitude daily in your marriage, in good times and bad times.”

Bride in Traditional Pink Tang Suit and Groom in Casual Attire With Leis at Vow Renewal
A beautiful, textural bouquet with light blush orchids and greenery fronds for a beachy, casual wedding in Hawaii.
A Bride at Her Beach Vow Renewal and 50th Anniversary in Pink Suit, Bouquet
Casual Groom on the Beach With a Lei at His 50th Wedding Anniversary Vow Renewal
Bride in Traditional Pink Tang Suit and Orchid Bouquet at Hawaiian Vow Renewal
Bride and Groom at Casual Hawaii Vow Renewal Ceremony With Officiant
Black-and-White Photo, Couple Holding Hands on 50th Wedding Anniversary During Vow Renewal
A small, white, single-tier cake decorated with striking pink orchids with fondant and a gold cake topper with "50" for the couple's 50th wedding anniversary and vow renewal in Hawaii.