A Vintage-Bohemian Backyard Vow Renewal at a Private Residence in Wardsville, Missouri

With the help of his children and grandchildren, Michael Mertens planned a 50-year vow renewal ceremony for his wife, Rose, whom he started dating in high school. "We knew my grandmother wouldn't be keen on the idea (she doesn't like being the center of attention or having her picture taken), so we decided to make it a surprise vow renewal," his granddaughter says. "Which I may add, is a little hard buying a dress and planning a wedding without the bride's input or size!" The entire thing came together in two months, and it was planned while Michael recovered from recent back and knee surgeries. Rose wore an old-fashioned, cream-colored lace gown with flowing bell sleeves and a train, and she carried a bouquet with roses and tulips. "Michael wanted to make sure tulips were included because it’s my favorite flower," Rose says.  Michael wore black dress pants and a soft yellow shirt with a patterned tie. The vow renewal took place in the couple's front yard. "We used antique couches and chairs for seating, and beautiful area rugs for our aisle," Rose says. "A stunning flower covered the arbor for the backdrop. It was all almost too beautiful to really describe." Everyone ate a dinner prepared by chefs on the couple's covered patio. Vintage-inspired place settings made the seated meal feel homey, and Rose's bouquet served as an elegant centerpiece. After dinner, guests sat around a bonfire with lounge furniture before dancing together. "Mike wanted the whole family to dance and have fun because he knew I would love that," Rose says. 
Our favorite #MakeTradition moment: Rose wore some of her mother's wedding jewelry during her vow renewal ceremony. "We pinned my mother's wedding day brooch on the bouquet," she says.