06 Sep 25th Wedding Anniversary Vow Renewal on Notre Dame High Altar
photo by Gonçalo Silva from Flytographer
The plan was to renew our vows in Paris. The particulars I left up to Father Tucker, the priest who married us 25 years ago. Father Tucker prearranged his “permission slip” from the Bishop which basically attests to the fact that he is a priest in good standing and should be afforded the opportunity to say mass in any church in France during the time frame he was traveling with us. Never did we imagine that he would be renewing our vows on the Notre Dame high altar where Napoleon I was crowned Emperor of France!
Notre Dame was packed with tourists. The line out the door was like nothing I had seen before. Welcome to tourist season, I thought! Father Tucker, dressed in his collar, was able to skip the lengthy queue and bring us in with him. He checked in with his credentials and was escorted to the sacristy to change into his vestments for mass. Nancy and Terry Sheffield, our long time friends were with us as witnesses, and waited with us to see which side chapel the church would assign us for mass and the vow renewal.
It was jaw dropping when Father Tucker and the rest of us were escorted to an ancient gate surrounding the high altar. We were in awe when the men who take care of the ceremonies at Notre Dame used their skeleton key to unlock the area. They began to arrange an intimate setting for our ceremony right under the Pietà by Nicolas Coustou, which is were Napoleon I was crowned Emperor of France. It was a surreal moment when we realized that we were actually going to be using this chapel for our service.
As I noted before, Notre Dame was quite crowded and people were naturally curious what we were doing up on the high altar, but after our mass began we never noticed anyone but each other. It was an incredibly special and moving ceremony which had us misty eyed at points.
When it was over, we crossed over to Île Saint-Louis for a quick drink before our mini reception – gastronomy dinner at the Saint James. You bet we will remember this anniversary forever. Thank God I had the forethought to hire Flytographer to capture the day’s events to prove that it wasn’t a dream. We really did renew our vows at Notre Dame!
By the way, Flytographer was so easy to book online and our photographer was super friendly. He was a fly on the wall for one of the most special day’s of our lives and we were thrilled that we have these wonderful photos to share with family and friends. Thank you to Gonçalo Silva from Flytographer for capturing the spirit of the day. We will cherish these memories forever!