Offbeat partners: Jessi & Kevin
Date and location: Lone Duck Campground, Cascade, CO — 09/07/2023
Our camping wedding vow renewal at a glance:
Kevin and I have known each other for 18 years—half his life and almost half mine. We met in my living room when my younger brother brought him over to hang out once upon a long, long time ago.
After 8 years of off and on dating, we made our union official in 2013 in what ended up being a disaster of a camping wedding. Nothing seemed to go right. We went too far away from the city. We had no resources, like electricity, and very, very little money to do anything with. My head piece that I had put tons of time and effort into creating was squashed on the trip to the site. Our decorations were haphazard and worst of all, the ceremony started almost 2 hours late after I cried many unhappy tears. We had missed the light for the photographs, and therefore my student-photographer wasn't able to capture hardly any photos.
So we resolved to do it again someday. That day was September 7, 2023: our 10 year anniversary.
This time we were more prepared. We'd saved a tax return as the majority of our budget, and my visions of the event were a lot less lofty. We picked another campground venue, this time close to our home city and fully stocked with electricity and water. We still wanted to have a camping wedding, as camping was one of the things that brought us together, but we did so a lot more wisely this time.
In the end, we picked the Lone Duck Campground and rented out about a third of its campsites to invite around 30 of our closest friends and family to celebrate with us.
Tell us about the camping wedding vow renewal ceremony:
Our ceremony was completely made up from scratch by myself and my husband. We wanted to incorporate some of the things we had done in our first ceremony, as not everything was completely awful, and we wanted to do some things that really represented who we are as a couple: adventurous, fire-loving, Celtic heritage, and non-religious. We had loved the fire ceremony we had 10 years ago, so that was one thing we kept. We had to work together to get a fire lit, and we did it! We also used our original Oathing Stone to make our vows near, thereby cementing our promises in stone.
Another ritual we included in our ceremony was a time capsule, where we had every guest bring something that represented themselves, and then we shared those items with the group during the ceremony before closing up the box.
We also incorporated a blessing and a wine offering to the universe and our departed loved ones.
As we did not get new rings, we didn't feel the need to exchange any rings, but we did re commit to one another with a Handfasting. This is where we spoke our vows to one another, while our wedding party draped our cords and ribbons over our hands, and then our oldest son tied them up into an infinity knot.
And, of course, we wrote our own vows. Kevin's were very beautiful and honest:
“I now stand here after 18 years of ups and downs. After 10 years of marriage
and building our family together still totally and madly in love with you.I stand
here looking toward the future with open eyes and an excited heart to see what
adventures life throws at us. To see how we find new and creative ways to solve any
problems we have. I stand here today with a promise that no matter what comes our
way that I will be standing right beside you. Working hard to make sure that
everything will be just fine. I promise to always be here with loving arms wide open
whenever you may need.
I Kevin B, love you Jessica S, with all my heart and being. I am truly and completely yours. In this life and every other. My heart is my compass and you are my true north. I can not wait to have new adventures with you in this world and will be with you till the end of it. You are my best friend, my confidant
and my co-conspirator. I love you with everything I have and am forever and
And mine were littered with song lyrics:
“I feel like I ‘don' t know what I did to earn a love like this but baby I must be doing something right.' I must be putting some pretty good vibes into the world to deserve to be with a human like you.
We have spent 10 years married and enjoyed so many memories together. ‘And
after all this time, I’m still into you.' Here I am to recommit my life to yours. I ‘dedicate my life to you, you know that I would die for you. But our love would last forever.' This is the type of love that will continue long after we are gone, in our children and in their babies and in all the people we inspire with our devotion to one another.”
I also tried to make promises in my vows that reflected our relationship as a polyamorous couple. I promised to love him “hard, and without possession”. I promised him I would “always recognize your autonomy, and support you in all your ventures,” as I realize some of those will not be with me. And then I thanked him for being in my life, which is something I say to him and my children all the time, because I am grateful that he chooses me everyday.
Tell us about the camping wedding vow renewal reception:
The reception was lovely! We had a head table set up for my husband, myself, and our two boys, and then several other tables arranged in a rainbow around us. Everything was decorated so beautifully in greens to match our forest vibe, and the forest itself offered a gorgeous backdrop.
Since it was a camping event, we didn't want to try to cook up anything fancy for dinner, so we went with sandwiches in many varieties. We offered roast beef, chicken, turkey, and ham; Swiss, cheddar, and muenster; and ciabatta, brioche, and croissants. There were a variety of veggies including pickles and olives and cucumbers. We even had a homemade loaded baked potato salad. It was delicious.
The cake was a two tier white and chocolate cake with chocolate frosting from Sam's Club that Kevin and I decorated with edible flowers and toadstools. Everyone loved it and I thought it came out really beautiful. The two-heart cake topper was something my MOH helped me make several weeks before the event.
The vibe was really fey (fae/fairy/faerie). We listened to a playlist of love songs Kevin and I compiled ahead of time, and there were fairy lights all over as the sun began to fade, and of course there was fire. In the evening, our guests gathered by the campfire and made s'mores before heading off to their camps. Those of us who stayed up late played NSFW games in the kitchen tent and laughed into the wee hours.
What was the most important lesson you learned from your wedding?
The biggest lesson I learned this time was to dedicate a clean up crew. I had so much help with set up, and I appreciated it SO VERY MUCH, but I didn't think too much about clean up directly after the reception. I had a tear down crew for the next day, but I ended up being the one to help clean up the food and such. Because of this, I didn't get to hang out around the fire and do S'mores as much as I would have liked.
Vendors behind this camping wedding vow renewal:
- Dress: One Store India
- Head piece: Tetras Treasures
- Kevin's suit: Spaze Up Goods
- Dress shirts: Big Top Shirt Shop
- Cake mushrooms: Hebert Sugar Crafts