After a courthouse elopement seven years ago, Edith and Whitney decided to renew their vows at Big Sur, California, surrounded by a handful of loved ones.
Tell us a little about your love story. What has the last seven years together looked like?
E: Whitney and I are both from different parts of Florida. However, we didn’t meet until we were both living in Los Angeles. We weren’t looking to get into a relationship either, but we were inseparable after our first date. I knew that no matter what happened, I needed to have Whitney in my life. She had such a magnetic energy and a killer smile that stopped me in my tracks.
I am a single mother, and at the time, my daughter, Gaby, and I were living in Redondo Beach, and Whitney was living and working in West Hollywood. The distance and LA traffic made dating pretty challenging for us logistically, but we made it work. We moved in with each other not long after dating…no surprise there, and we started to raise Gaby together.
We went through pretty tough times financially and dealt with family drama, but our commitment and love for each other only got stronger through it all. Finally we found that thing that everyone is always searching for, and nothing would take it apart.
I proposed to Whitney in 2012, not long after we began dating, because I knew from the moment we started dating that she was the one. There was no doubt in my mind. She said yes, and we waited to plan a wedding that we hoped included our family and friends. Unfortunately, both our parents felt differently about us getting married.
Both my and Whitney’s parents are religious and felt that marriage should be between a man and a woman. When we asked if they would come to our wedding, both sets of parents told us that they would not be able to attend because they didn’t believe in it. It was heartbreaking for us because we were so happy and so in love and so committed to each other. All we wanted was for our families to witness how much respect and love we had for each other and celebrate that, but there was no convincing them.
So we eloped. We got married on a Wednesday afternoon at the LA County courthouse with our daughter and a couple of friends as witnesses. As happy as we were to be married to each other, there was always a part of us that felt sad that our families weren’t there to celebrate with us. Nonetheless, we continued to love each other and grow with each other, and to this day, our love is enormous and as exciting as it was when we first started dating. I am so proud of us for never letting anything or anyone break this beautiful family that we have created.
What have been some of your favorite moments and some that have been more challenging?
Some of our favorite moments have been the simplest of times that we spend with each other. Dancing in the kitchen together is one of our favorite things to do. And staycations in Palm Springs, just the two of us. Or staying up all night at Whitney’s apartment in Hollywood when we first started dating, talking about life and love.
Give us a few details about your original wedding.
Our original wedding took place on a Wednesday afternoon back in 2013 at the LA County Courthouse. No frills. I wore a black cocktail dress and red heels, and Whitney wore a black blazer, jeans, and boots. We exchanged vows and then went to lunch at Cafe Gratitude in Los Angeles. We didn’t even get to exchange vows because it was not allowed during a civil ceremony, so we opted to read our own vows at home while we ate cake that our friends bought for us at the local grocery store.
It was sweet, but not all that we had imagined marrying the love of our life would look like. It was special and intimate, and we loved it. But we definitely envisioned something more and planned to have a big wedding for our tenth wedding anniversary.
Why did you choose to have a vow renewal?
When COVID hit the world, we realized just how precious life is and that we should seize every moment we could and enjoy it. We were coming up on our seven years of being married and decided that we wanted to recommit ourselves to each other NOW instead of waiting for our tenth wedding anniversary. So we decided on a vow renewal in Big Sur, and this time we weren’t concerned that our parents could not be there. We needed this now more than ever because we wanted every moment that we had with each other to count.
Tell us all the details of the day.
We decided to take a trip to Big Sur, California, and do our vow renewal there because it is an absolutely breathtaking place. It felt like you can see every single star at night. That is what inspired my jewelry. The hand-painted stones with our names and zodiac constellations on them, and the twinkle lights on the table. We simply used the stunning redwoods as the backdrop and had pampas grass flanking both of us for our ceremony sight. Big Sur has pampas grass growing all along the coast, so we wanted to include that as part of our décor.
We woke up and made a fantastic breakfast and enjoyed walking around the campground. Later we got ready together and prepared to renew our vows. We walked hand in hand towards our sweet little “alter” that was decorated with disco balls, candles, and pampas grass. Our best friend, Sarah, officiated our renewal so beautifully. We expressed how special it is to be so in love with each other still after so many years. Wanting to continue to commit our lives to be there for each other in every way like we had been for the past seven years. We held hands and exchanged copper wedding rings to commemorate seven years of marriage together. Then we danced to “To Hell and Back” by Marin Morris together under the tall redwood trees.
Our photographer took us for a walk around the forest of trees and then later took more pictures of us at the famous and stunning Pfeiffer Beach. After sunset pictures, we came back to the most amazing Lebanese dinner. That was prepared by our best friend Sarah and our good friends Chanel and Victoria. We ended the evening sharing laughs around the campfire, feeling completely full of love and joy. We finally had our perfect wedding/celebration that we weren’t able to have when we got married seven years earlier.
What does the future hold for you both?
We have committed to saying yes to adventure and not being afraid of new experiences. We moved to San Diego so that Whitney can continue to grow in her career. I have been growing my wedding photography business in this new city. But the sky is the limit, and we see ourselves moving and experiencing different cities in the future. Maybe even adding another pup to the family.
Photography by Evynn LeValley